Guilin. June 15-18.
Our trip from Xi’an to Guilin went smoothly , and we were met at the airport by our next guide, TongLi. After lunch, TongLi took us to Reed Flute Cave. Many of the karsts have caves inside since the erosion not only shapes the hills into high peaks, but erodes the limestone on the inside of the hills. Reed Flute Cave is enormous and quite spectacular. The stalagmites and stalactites grow about 1 cm per 10 years and unfortunately have been damaged by all the visitors to the cave.
Many of the sites we visited were a result of the erosion process on the limestone. Elephant Trunk Hill and other sites along the River Li have been shaped by geological forces. The beautiful and weird shapes create a fairy land appearance.
Not the Elephant Hill, but cool!
Elephant Hill – in the background!
After dinner at a local restaurant (McFound), TongLi picked us up in time for a boat ride on the four lakes of Guilin. The boat ride is like being on the boat rides in San Antonio on the Riverwalk, but 100 times bigger and a 100 times more beautiful! There were beautifully lit landscapes to enjoy, stage performances, traditional Chinese orchestra music, and the boat slowly went by a local fisherman fishing with his trained cormorants. The birds have a rope tied around their necks so they can’t swallow the fish they catch. The farmer takes the fish from the bird and puts it his basket. The birds rest a bit then dive again to catch another fish, returning to the farmer’s log raft boat. After a night of fishing the farmer allows birds to fish for themselves.
The next day in Guilin we took a four hour trip down the River Li. This is the best way to enjoy the spectacular landscape. Through the rain we took hundreds of pictures of the hills, the villages, the farmers, the river oxen, the birds. It was incredibly beautiful.
Li River Cruise (a 35-year old dream for Finnie!):
New Friends: Nell Wyatt and Alison Smith
Yangshuo: After the boat docked at Yangshou, we walked up West Street, the location of many street vendors. Our driver picked us up and drove us to XingPing, a small ancient farming village along the River Li – again many great pictures. After returning to Yangshou, we rented a bicycle for two and pedaled our way outside of town to Moon Rock, stopping at a bridge over a tributary of the River Li. Many peddlers were there, one selling fresh flower halos. As Finnie was taking my picture with the halo, a woman was taking a picture of his belly! Soon she became our friend and we had some pictures taken with her on the bridge. We practiced some oral Chinese with TongLi as we rode on our bicycles.
The next day we got to the airport for our return trip to Weihai, but as I mentioned, the airline system was broken due to the heavy rains all over China. With Molly’s persistence, we and our luggage arrived home successfully the next day.
To be continued in Entry 23e.