an afternoon stroll around yangshuo & green lotus peak

Friday, October 3: After I return from my raft trip, I head straight into town to eat some lunch, since I never had breakfast this morning.  I find a Chinese restaurant and sit outside to have fried dumplings and sautéed bok choy.

Across from my restaurant is a pretty little coffee shop that serves fruit juices and coffee and desserts.  I go here one afternoon for a mango juice.  I love the flowery borders and pathway to the creekside patio.

Walking down the street from the restaurant, I see an interesting menu board.  I’m so tempted to try the “spicy intestine” and the “fragrance of dog!”

"Spicy intestine" and the "fragrance of dog"

“Spicy intestine” and the “fragrance of dog”

The street is a cute one and though the streets in Yangshuo are meant to be pedestrian-only, all kinds of vehicles somehow barrel their way through.

I continue my wanders around the town, eventually making my way to Green Lotus Peak.  I have to pay 40 yuan (~$6.50) to go into the park.  I’m told that I can’t do any climbing to the top of the peak today because the pathways are too slippery.  This is disappointing because of course I always like to climb to the highest vantage points.

Entering Green Lotus Peak

Entering Green Lotus Peak

view of karst landscape from Green Lotus Peak

view of karst landscape from Green Lotus Peak

Old Forest of Steles

Old Forest of Steles & The Chinese Character

weathered pagoda at Green Lotus Peak

weathered pagoda at Green Lotus Peak

Karsts from the pagoda

Karst landscape from the pagoda

looking down the pagoda roof

looking down the pagoda roof

From the pagoda at Green Lotus Peak, I can see across the Li River to the karst landscape.  I can see many people are camping across the river.  Maybe all the hotels in town are full.  Or else they just want to be one with nature.

more of the karsts from the pagoda

more of the karsts from the pagoda

Jianshan Tower was formerly Jianshan Temple, built around AD 713, the beginning of the Tang Dynasty.  Three monks in the temple struck a bell every morning and evening and the sound spread far across the land.  This is the story of “Monks and Bell of Jianshan Temple.”  In 1916, the temple was destroyed and “no monk was there anymore.”

Jianshan Tower, formerly Jianshan temple

Jianshan Tower, formerly Jianshan temple

pretty painted woodwork

pretty painted woodwork

Jianzhen (688-763) was a famous Buddhist in the Tang Dynasty.  He was invited to visit Japan by Japanese scholars.  He tried 5 times to take a boat to Japan, but failed.  On the 5th attempt, he met a storm and his boat was driven to Xijiang, the entrance to the East Sea.  On the way back, he arrived at Guilin.  After that he took a boat from Guilin to Yangshuo and came to Jianshan Temple.  He exchanged knowledge about Buddhism with monks there, and sang praises for Yangshuo’s beautiful land.  In 753, he finally made it to Japan on his 6th attempt.  He built an altar in the East big temple in Nainang and publicized Buddhism, thus contributing to Sino-Japanese Cultural Exchange.

Jianzhen the famous Buddhist

Jianzhen the famous Buddhist

angles & corners

angles & corners

Looking south

Looking south

pagoda and karst background

pagoda and karst background

another view to the south

another view to the south

karst landscape from Green Lotus Peak

karst landscape from Green Lotus Peak

Looking north from Green Lotus Peak

Looking north from Green Lotus Peak

On a cliff overlooking the north side of Green Lotus Peak is a special calligraphy word.  This word was written in 1834, during the Qing dynasty, by Yangshuo mayor Mr. Wang Yuanren, whose nickname is Jingshan.  This is a poem in ONE WORD, according to a sign.  The poem says “How beautiful the landscape here!  We should study and work hard when we are young.”  The stone carver failed to read Mr. Wang’s nickname, Jingshan, properly, so he carved it upside down.  This stele has been preserved since 1981.

A poem in ONE WORD!

A poem in ONE WORD!

Looking north up the Li River from Green Lotus Peak

Looking north up the Li River from Green Lotus Peak

view across the Li River

view across the Li River

northerly view

northerly view

fans created by an artist at Green Lotus Peak

fans created by an artist at Green Lotus Peak

When I arrive at the north end of Green Lotus Peak, the gate is locked, but someone comes quickly to open the gate.  Now I’m in an unfamiliar area of town.  I keep making my way north and I see the boat docks and a lot of commercial activity with people piling on boats for a ride.  I make my way through this bustling area and try to find my way back to the part of town I recognize.

boats and karst landscape across the Li River

boats and karst landscape across the Li River

Boats at Yangshuo

Boats at Yangshuo

Boats at the ready, Yangshuo

Boats at the ready, Yangshuo

Boat rides from Yangshuo

Boat rides from Yangshuo

Commerce Chinese style

Commerce Chinese style

Boats in Yangshuo

Boats in Yangshuo

I finally make my way down a busy street, following the signs for West Street.  Little by little, I start to recognize some things and, very thirsty by this time, I dip into Mango for a mango juice.  It’s very cutely decorated, and the cardboard cup covers are tacked up to make an interesting 3-D wallpaper.

I make my way through the throngs of people down West Street and eventually back to my hotel on Bin Jiang Road.  There I have a beer on the porch and watch the people walking by.

Tsingtao on the porch of the Yangshuo River View Hotel

Tsingtao on the porch of the Yangshuo River View Hotel

I relax for a bit in my hotel and at 7:00, I go out to meet Audrey at Demo Bar .  She and her friends Sarah and Peter are already drinking some wine, so I join them for a glass.  I tell German Peter about feeling sick from the food, and he, who has worked in restaurants all over China, tells me many people have stomach troubles here because of the oil.  He tells me most restaurants recycle their oil and in the recycling process it’s chemically treated.  He says several restaurants in Yangshuo use only olive oil, and he knows to eat at those restaurants.  I wondered why I get sick so often, even if I’m eating just vegetables.  He says it’s not the meat; the meat is all well cooked, it’s the oil.  I guess there is no way to avoid it then, because everything here is cooked in oil.

After a bit, Audrey, Sarah and I head to Rock-n-Grill.  It’s a lovely setting beside a creek and away from the crowds on West Street.  Tropical plants surround us and the music and the vibe are laid back.  We drink more wine and share a Thai meal which is delicious, including pork wrapped in lettuce leaves.  Both Audrey and Sarah have traveled extensively, so it’s fun to share stories.  I feel like we’re kindred spirits, even though I’m 30 years older than Audrey and 23 years older than Sarah.  We have a grand time talking and talking.  Eventually, Audrey and I meander back to the hotel on the back streets; she knows the town intimately.  It turns out her apartment is right around the corner from my hotel.  It’s peaceful and pleasant when we get away from the crowds on West Street.

Tomorrow morning, Audrey’s going to take me on a bike ride in the countryside outside of Yangshuo.  We don’t set a time, saying that we’ll see how we feel in the morning.  It’s quite a late night, and I’m exhausted.  I’m happy to be back in my hotel for a good night’s sleep. 🙂

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Categories: Asia, China, Demo Tiki Bar, Expat life, Green Lotus Peak, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Rock-n-Grill, Travel, West Street, Yangshuo, Yangshuo River View Hotel | Tags: , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “an afternoon stroll around yangshuo & green lotus peak

  1. I can’t get over how breathtakingly beautiful it’s out there! Love the one character poem – wish some people would stick to that formula, lol. Used oil that’s chemically treated? Are they insane? Isn’t throughly used oil dangerous enough as it is? Some people *pft*

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    • Yes, Marco, if it’s true that the oil is recycled then it’s really disgusting and there’s no way to avoid the stomach problems. Everything is cooked in oil here. I love Chinese food, at least anything without meat in it, so I guess I have to mainly stick to cooking at home with olive oil, veggies and rice.

      I thought that one character poem was cute, especially since the poem seemed to veer off in two different directions!

      It is really beautiful around Guilin, but where I live in Nanning is nothing special, just a big crowded city. I loved my escape but won’t be able to go too far afield again until February. Maybe, I’m hoping I can make some weekend escapes though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah okay so you’re exploring the lovely area. My sister-n-law and her family lived in Shanghai for a bit and from the photos/Skype sessions we could see that it’s horrible. Glass and chrome – her then-baby daughter was constantly sick from the pollution in the air…and for some or other strange reason all the Chinese ladies wanted to have their pic taken with “the westerners.” do you get that as well – – if so you must feel like a superstar!

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      • Oh yes, Marco, I can’t tell you how many times Chinese people want to take their pictures with me. I do feel like a superstar sometimes! Don’t worry, it won’t last. As soon as I return to the USA, I’ll be invisible again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s really strange – do they see you as a novelty. By the by, is the internet really as restricted as they say it is?

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      • Yes, there are few foreigners in Nanning. Maybe in Beijing or Shanghai there are lots more and people don’t stare so much. Yes, internet is restricted in many ways, but only certain websites. You can get around them with a VPN. Most Chinese people don’t care about accessing the Western websites though, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t let the western world hear you – they think the non-interest in sacrilege 😀

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  2. Gorgeous photos, Cathy. Love the one looking down the pagoda roof. Very unusual. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Sylvia. This wasn’t my favorite thing though. Wait till you see my post about my bicycle ride in the countryside. That was truly one of the highlights of my trip. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The colours everywhere are so bright and cheerful – flowers, table cloths, people’s clothes – everything. I am trying to think what ‘fragrance of dog’ would be like – probably ok if it was a freshly bathed dog rather than one which had just been rolling around in something unspeakable! 😉

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    • Elaine, you’re right, it is really colorful in Yangshuo and here in Nanning as well. I would hope the “fragrance of dog” would be freshly bathed dog, but we don’t really know, do we? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We all want to order ‘fragrance of dog’, please. Because of all the oily food served up in China, we often resorted to Big Macs and KFCs and believe me, I have to be desperate to do that.

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    • Serving up some “fragrance of dog” at your request, Dai. I hope you’ll share some with me. 🙂 Yes, I wish there was a way around everything being cooked in oil. I can understand resorting to McDonald’s and KFC, and I know your feeling about having to be desperate to do that. I’ve resorted to cooking in a lot, but I still love to go out, so I do it and pay the consequences with an upset stomach more often than not. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The karst landscape is totally surreal, Cathy! I’d have to keep pinching myself to be sure I was there if I were you. The photos are magical! Love the pagoda shots and that fantastic backdrop. Hope your tummy settles soon. Sounds like salads only to me 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Jo. You’re right, it is surreal, but amazing. I could pinch you instead of you pinching yourself if you’d like. You should come visit while I’m here, Jo! My stomach is off and on, sadly, and salads are almost nonexistent here. They cook EVERYTHING, and I mean even lettuce! I’m cooking in a lot, although I do have some trusted places to eat. 🙂

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  6. Looks so beautiful and tranquill, love it!

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    • Yes, it was beautiful, that’s for sure, Ioanna. Tranquil, not so much. It was the National Holiday and I think half the population of China was in Yangshuo! 🙂

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  7. I love the colors and the landscape, although those mountains still look foreboding to me. I think it’s the sharpness of their appearance, the way they jut so suddenly from the ground. As to the people wanting pictures with the Americans, we ran into that when we visited the Forbidden City in Beijing. We attributed it to the lightness of our hair and our height.

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    • You know the old saying: All Chinese look alike, or other similar things. My students actually confirmed to me that to them all white people look alike! I thought it was funny. We’re definitely an anomaly here in China, we with the white skin, light hair and body size. 🙂

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  8. The landscape is incredible, I can see why you wanted to visit here, but the number of people puts me off. As for spicy intestines – I think NOT! I suspect you are a superstar because of your white hair! And tell me, why is it that Chinese (and Japanese) people always show the two finger sign in every photograph?

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    • Jude, apparently Yangshuo is the most crowded during the National Holiday. Audrey lives there year round and she said most of the time, it’s quiet and empty. I picked the wrong time to go for sure, but I had no choice. It was either go then or wait till February when I have my next break. Now that I’ve been there, I think I could pop up for a long weekend. I learned a little bit about getting around, so I think I could enjoy a short trip there at a less crowded time.

      Chinese, Japanese AND Koreans all make that kind of peace sign when they have photos taken. I think it’s just like a hello or a happy sign. 🙂

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