a short weekend in yangshuo (& another li river boat cruise) ~ the third time’s a charm :-)

Friday, May 29: This weekend, only one of two times that I have traveled with a friend in China, I go to Yangshuo with my friend, Erica.  She has lived in China for seven years, but only started working at SCIC in Nanning at the same time I did, in September, 2014. Though she’s traveled all over China, and around southeast Asia, she has never been to Yangshuo.  This is my third time:  the first time I stayed four days during the National Holiday in early October, and the second, I stayed three days with Mike in January.

This weekend, we only have about 1 1/2 days, as it’s not an extended holiday weekend and we have to spend about 6 hours traveling at each end.  Erica decided long ago she was done traveling on China’s public holidays; I only just came to that conclusion after my last trip to Shanghai.

Erica and I leave directly from our classes at noon and spend the next 6 hours in transit, by bus, by train and by bus again.  The time goes by quickly though as Erica and I chat nonstop about anything and everything, and we share a lot of laughs.

Finally, at the Yangshuo bus station (well, not really a “station” but a dusty parking lot where we get deposited), we search for a vehicle to take us to our hotel, the Cosy Garden.  We try several drivers in vehicles of every make who want to charge us what we think are exorbitant sums, and finally, this gentle man takes us in his bumpy vehicle, where we sit on a plank of wood placed across the truck bed.  It’s a very bumpy and noisy ride through town and down a long pavilion over a cobblestone walkway to our hotel, which is quite a distance outside of town; in the end I think we got him at a great price!

Erica sits on the wooden bench in our transport to Cosy Garden

Erica sits on the wooden bench in our transport to Cosy Garden

As Erica is normally much thriftier than I am, I asked her to choose the place, and this is what she found.

Cosy Garden

Cosy Garden

The Cosy Garden allows free use of their bicycles after 4:00, and since it’s about 6:00 by the time we arrive, we hop on the bicycles and ride into Yangshuo for dinner at the Rock-n-Grill, and then we take a walk around the streets of the town.

Mangoes in Yangshuo

Mangoes in Yangshuo

Gentle vibes

Gentle vibes

It’s a little more difficult riding our bicycles back to the Cosy Garden as the long pavilion is quite dark and the road after we leave the pavilion is even darker.  We can hardly see a thing in the black night!  I don’t know how, but we somehow make it safely back to our hotel without riding off into the Li River.

Saturday, May 30: To optimize our condensed time in Yangshuo, we’ve arranged to go on the Li River boat ride first thing in the morning.  At the hotel, we can have breakfast, but we have to cook it ourselves; this turns out to be quite challenging as it’s always difficult to cook in someone else’s kitchen.

After breakfast, we ride our bicycles into town where we catch the bus to Xingping.  Our boat ride begins here.  Below is Erica with the boats and the Li River and karst landscape of Xingping behind her.

The boat dock at Xingping on the Li River

The boat dock at Xingping on the Li River

Erica at the Li River in Xingping

Erica at the Li River in Xingping

Of course Xingping is known as the most scenic area along the Li River, and because of that, it is on the 20 yuan bill.  Erica holds up the bill in the front of the bamboo raft.

Erica holds the 20 yuan bill at Xingping

Erica holds the 20 yuan bill at Xingping

And then we’re off.  We’re sharing the boat with two young Chinese men; Erica and I go directly for the front seats as this is her first and last time to do the Li River cruise.  She’s planning to leave China for good at the same time I am.  I do feel a little guilty for grabbing the front seats, but I also figure the Chinese tourists can easily come back.

Heading up the Li River

Heading up the Li River

The scenery is breathtaking as always; each time it brings tears to my eyes, it’s so stunning.  I can see Erica is quite moved by the experience too.

Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise

The Li River

The Li River

upriver on the Li

upriver on the Li

Ever since we arrived in Yangshuo, it has been threatening rain, but we’re lucky it doesn’t rain a drop while we’re on the cruise.

grassy patches in the Li River

grassy patches in the Li River

islands of grass

islands of grass

boats on the Li River

boats on the Li River

Moving up the Li River

Moving up the Li River

karst landscape along the Li River

karst landscape along the Li River

karst landscape along the Li River

karst landscape along the Li River

boat jam

boat jam

karst landscape along the Li River

karst landscape along the Li River

overwhelmed by beauty

overwhelmed by beauty

Li River scenery

Li River scenery

Li River karst scenery

Li River karst scenery

karst scenery along the Li River

karst scenery along the Li River

The Li River

The Li River

Li River cruise

Li River cruise

looming karst scenery along the Li River

looming karst scenery along the Li River

up close & personal

up close & personal

We can see the Li River boats that come from Guilin go zooming past toward Xingping.

still heading upriver

still heading upriver

The Li River

The Li River

We stop at little pebble beach, where our boat driver gets out and eats something with some friends.  Meanwhile, we’re left to wander and take pictures while we wait.  Here’s Erica with our two boat mates.

Erica and our two Chinese boat mates

Erica and our two Chinese boat mates

And Erica at the beach.

Erica at the pebble beach

Erica at the pebble beach

As always, I like to take a few pictures of Chinese girls posing in ridiculous poses.  I just missed this woman with her hands in the air.

posing for pictures

posing for pictures

Chinese girls doing a silly pose

Chinese girls doing a silly pose

We could go on a pony ride if we so desired, but we don’t. 🙂

two bedraggled fellas

two bedraggled fellas

Finally, our driver finishes eating, and we’re back in boat, heading back to Xingping.  The light isn’t so great in this direction.

back on the river after our break

back on the river after our break

heading back to Xingping

heading back to Xingping

Below, you can see (and hear) a video of our trip down the Li River in our motorized bamboo rafts.

cruising down the Li River

cruising down the Li River

View at Xingping

View at Xingping

The Li River at Xingping

The Li River at Xingping

Xingping

Xingping

Soon, we’re back on shore and Erica and I each pose with the 20 yuan bill.  This is a chubby time for me; after being in China, it turns out I picked up 7 pounds, which I don’t realize until I return home!

Erica at Xingping with the 20 yuan bill

Erica at Xingping with the 20 yuan bill

a chubby me at Xingping with the 20 yuan bill

a chubby me at Xingping with the 20 yuan bill

Finally, we head back up the path to meet our driver and head back to town.

fruit vendor in Xingping

fruit vendor in Xingping

When we get back to town, we’ll have some lunch and go on a bike ride in the afternoon.

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Categories: Asia, China, CNY 20 Banknote View, Cosy Garden, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Li River, Rock-n-Grill, Sino-Canadian International College (SCIC), Travel, West Street, Xi Jie, Xingping, Yangshuo | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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32 thoughts on “a short weekend in yangshuo (& another li river boat cruise) ~ the third time’s a charm :-)

  1. Another great adventure! I loved seeing the blue skies and those green hills (didn’t seem big enough to be mountains), but that water looked pretty dirty. Erica was a good sport about the pictures! I’m surprised you only gained 7 pounds – it’s hard to not gain weight when you aren’t at home. I think overall, you did pretty good!

    Nancy

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    • Thanks, Nancy! It was my last adventure in the land of karsts! It was so wonderful to have a friend to accompany me as I didn’t meet many people who liked to travel while I was in China. I’ve been working like crazy to shed those 7 lbs since I returned home, exercising every day and counting calories on http://www.myfitnesspal.com. I’ve had some success; I’m almost back to where I was was when I left home (although that’s still heavier than I’d like to be!). I’m still working on it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s great to see this stunning landscape again, but with better weather this time!

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  3. Glorious scenery Cathy, I would love to go there.

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    • It truly is one of those places that takes your breath away, Pauline. You can get a similar experience, and a quieter one, in Halong Bay, Vietnam, aboard a junk! I hope you’ll make it there one day. 🙂

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      • I think I will have to follow you in cyberspace to those far flung places Cathy. My spirit is still wanting to go , but my body is starting to slow down now.

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      • Yes, I know the feeling, Pauline. I have been exhausted since I return home from my year in China; it was more of a hardship than I realized. It’s so nice to be back to the easy life, at least for a while (until the wanderlust kicks back in again!).

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      • and it will!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a good blog, Kat. And yes, it’s difficult to cook in somebody else’s kitchen. We feel much relaxeder in our own kitchens. How is it to be back home, Kat? Getting itchy feet yet ?

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    • Thanks so much, Dai. I love your word “relaxeder”!! You should create your own Dai-ism Dictionary! It feels great to be home, but it looks like I have a bunch of home projects ahead of me. We need to re-do our kitchen and our deck and laundry room; it will be a big project. Mike was supposed to work on it last year when I was in China, but he was too stressed with work to do it. It looks like it will be on me. I know by the time it’s finished, I’ll really have itchy feet! I would sure love to return to Europe & the Mediterranean: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey. Who knows where I’ll end up next!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Kat. It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m feeling terribly lazy. I have lots to do but I’m making no effort. I need a push. Glad you like Portugal. I love the place so far. Europe is such a civilised part of the world I think. I love being a European.

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      • You are very lucky indeed. I love Europe and wish I had an EU passport!!

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  5. I think I’d would be emotional in that stunning landscape Cathy, it must have been great to share with a friend. Those djembe’s look exactly like Ghanaian ones 🙂

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    • I got emotional every time I went there, Gilly. I really did love that landscape, as I had seen it in The Painted Veil and in traditional Chinese paintings, and to see it in real life was something I’d always dreamed of. It was really great to share the experience with Erica. I’m glad you told me the name: djembes. I didn’t know that, so you’ve taught me something new! 🙂

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  6. Cannot believe your friend had not been there in all that time!! Wow! And you with your limited resources managed to return 3 times! Wonderful!! So sad though to always see those sad little undernourished horses, their bones sticking out. Always their owners seem to some cocky loser who could care less about their welfare just keeping them alive (barely) for photo ops. Oh mankind, what you do to these poor beasts of burden.

    Also sad you found a travel companion so late in the year.

    Looking forward to a steady stream of updates for China so we can read about Myanmar!!!!

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    • I was surprised that Erica hadn’t been to Yangshuo myself, but she was trying to save money and had several online teaching jobs on weekends, so she rarely traveled this year. I think she’d also been in China so long that she’d seen much of what she wanted to see. Even though I found her as a travel companion late in the year, I don’t think it would have made much difference to have found her earlier, as she wasn’t as interested in traveling as I was.

      I’ve written one post about Myanmar; I don’t know if you saw it. I’ve had a lot of computer problems this week; hopefully they’re now resolved. 🙂

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      • Erica was a good find for you at the time you needed to meet her. For whatever reason, you were apparently meant to spend most of your free time with yourself alone. Certainly a worthy travel companion in my book!!!

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      • It was nice to know Erica, but she really did keep to herself most of the time I was in China. We did have a fun time on that trip together, but overall, I do enjoy traveling alone. I was glad to have her on this trip though! 🙂

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      • It is a time of self-reflection as well as employment and adventure, isn’t it? To see how you will respond and react to a place where you have no reference points. Working for the UN made it possible for me to take off all the time on very expensive, soul-searching trips all over the place, and I miss the freedom to do that because money is freedom. Period. I hate not having any but I am also so grateful for the job I have where I am able to keep myself amused when I have nothing to do, such a today. Not one single task has been laid out for me beyond answering the phone, so I have time to read your posts and comments and responses and write accordingly. It is amazing how much time I have on my hands now that I am not worried about Warwick and writng hime very day! I do miss him as a colleague who shared a very intense experience in Oman, though.
        But thank God I still have a few people from everywhere I have been to know and share many of my monumental personal and professional experiences even if they are only in my life thanks to facebook! I am so glad you had the luxury weekend in that beautiful harbour town thanks to that one contact you made. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a single moment of your life’s journey. I am very glad I am a bigger part of your journey, as I am such a fan and by the way, your “reading public” is far more considerable than you may think!! 😀 We adore you and treasure the shared conversations and observations you provide us. xx

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      • Money is definitely freedom, I agree. Having money would enable me to do a lot of things I’d like to do, without having to teach English to go abroad! I’m sorry your job now is not very challenging, but at least you do have a job; that’s a big deal. I’m sure you will continue to feel a hole in your life that your relationship with Warwick did fill. Have you communicated with him recently?

        It was really great that I met Mari in Xian and she invited me to Beihai. That was a special weekend. She’s on Facebook but we don’t often communicate directly; you’re right that she was probably only in my life for a moment, but it was a special one. As for my “reading public,” since I left Oman it has dwindled considerably. Part of my reading public is acquired by my visiting other bloggers; since curtailed my blog reading, my readers have fallen off. It’s okay though; I think those people aren’t meant to be in my life long-term anyway. You’re one of the few people who does give lots of feedback and interaction on my blog, and I really do value that. xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there!! Hope you had a nice weekend! The weather is all crazy again, really cold up here, when we already had t-shirts and shorts weather a month ago. This weekend is Easter so I get Friday off!! I have not taken any holidays yet but I have to take my 2 weeks before my August 12 one year anniversary.
        I hope I get a raise, as I made $65 less per week than the girl who worked here before me AND before her. The fact that they are single mothers always means they get more. No one talks about that inequality. I also do not need my boss to spend $95 a month on parking for me, but I am not sure I can use these facts in my favour though I will be asking for a raise for sure. But for now, I am planning to take a few days here and there off to do small things as there is no money for anything more. Yes, money is certainly freedom. I feel like i have wasted soooo many opportunities I took for granted, and every day whatever I see on TV or read about or just come across I can see where I had this opportunity and that one, and how I let them all slip through my fingers. Please do not let any rejection letters cause you to let your publishing career slip through your fingers!! Let them make you stronger, and more resolute, to work hard and to get those summaries written, a few of them, dep. on the publisher’s requests. I know you will succeed!!
        There is not much out there re teaching though I did send Warwick some superb links from the teslarabia conference and another big conference in Scotland. I do write once every two-three weeks, and he actually wrote me and asked me how I was and what I was up to. I do miss him and I like to think he misses me, but not enough to keep the conversation going to strongly. He sent some photos last week of some trip he and a few of his male colleagues (well I guess he only has male colleagues) made to some building, or the airport I guess to eat. someone puts BBQs on for the teachers, which cannot be fun for warwick as he does not eat meat and there is no booze, not that he was a big drinker, he is not. I would think he misses having women friends as he likes women and is a good friend, a good asexual friend to them.
        Again, someone in your life for a reason and a season, not for an eternity. My great mistake with men, not being able to recognize this and losing them over trying to make something brief and wonderful into something more, which because horrible if it is not meant to be.
        I am glad you like my interactions on the blogs, though I am glad you get the messages this way and can decide to not post them before anyone sees them. I am not in contact with any of your blogging friends, so they for sure do not care one way or another to read my posts, but I care that you read them. This is a good way to get more of a conversation going when we are not on the phone that much and each posts brings new insight at that moment in time and does not therefore make it to the next actual conversation. I must say though that I miss the cocktail hours!! I would love to see the backyard as th snow melts and the work begins! Where will you start?

        As for your readership, well when you are not travelling I suppose people move on to those blogs more which discuss places they may be planning to visit. Oh how I wish I could visit so many of the places you have been, but as my disability pension is under review over the next few months, if I lose that, I will be officially below the poverty line, and I have no idea how I will handle that. We have all these Syrian refugees with only 12 months to learn English and they have arrived in their hundreds here, but is there anyone hiring ESL teachers? No. The Catholic School Board has some sort of monopoly on teaching English and they have already rejected me, me who has more experience and better credentials than all their teachers put together, because I have only taught overseas, and apparently my 7000 hours of classroom teaching and M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction to ESOL students does not make me smart enough to make the switch from teaching overseas to teaching here. There is such an arrogance in Canada about things, which I hate. Oh why did I leave the UN, where you got in because someone thought you could do the job and to hell with PC this and that all the time. Meanwhile these people are only funded for a year, after which time they are expected to find a job and be self-sufficient! Good grief it took me 7 years to find a job here in Canada what will these poor souls do without any English skills? I will have to advertise as a private teacher I guess, but I am not sure how to go about that. Anyway, Please do not slow down your blogging of your progress with the reconstruction. I think it would make an exciting blog in its own right, the before and after and the entire process from what you have already done re planning, to the final decoration put in its place upon completion. Make sure you are taking photos!!!! xxx

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      • I have not read all the Myanmar posts, but I will be re-signing up for them as for some reason I don’t think I have gotten all the notifications! xx

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      • I haven’t written that many lately. I have so many pictures, it’s very time consuming! I can’t believe it’s now been over a year since I was there. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, a blog is a lot of work. You go crazy making it perfect, self-editing, posting photos you have edited or cropped to perfection, but for what? I know you have many fans, I never even put my blog as search-friendly.

        Oops my boss just came in! Gotta go will write more later! 😀

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      • He went to the bank!! I printed out a cheque and made some photocopies, and that is all I did all day and is now 4.30 pm! How depressing though, a whole year has passed since you came back and your novel is not yet in print. That upsets me!!!!! 😀

        xxx

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  7. She looks a very cheerful companion, Cathy 🙂 Just what you needed!

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  8. I travelled in the area many years ago. It’s quite a stunning place. A great place to share with a friend.

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