Xi Jie

an afternoon bike ride in the yangshuo countryside

Saturday, May 30:  After we finish the Li River cruise, Erica and I drop into town for a quick pizza lunch at the Rosewood Cafe and then head out immediately for a bike ride.  As we only have a short weekend, I’m trying to compress what I did in four days into less than two days.  We take off into the countryside in a steady drizzle, hoping that it will let up before long.  By the time we get into the heart of the countryside, it has stopped raining, but we are fairly damp.  The moisture in the air is thick, making for some hazy views.

Yangshuo countryside

Yangshuo countryside

I’m trying to lead Erica by memory into the countryside, following the route that Audrey led me on in October.  I’m surprised that I am able to recognize landmarks and find my way, despite only having been once on this route.  Sometimes I have no sense of direction, and other times I have an uncanny internal compass that enables me to figure out the lay of the land.

the farmland of Yangshuo

the farmland of Yangshuo

We come to a spot along the Yulong River where some girls are standing under the trees trying to keep dry, as it has started raining again.  We get off our bikes and join the girls under the trees, as there’s quite a deluge.  While waiting, we’re lucky enough to have a farmer cross the river with his cows.

The Yulong River

The Yulong River

A farmer and his cow

A farmer and his cow

I love it how the farmer rolls up his pants and wades confidently into the river, and his cows follow obediently behind.

the farmer crosses the Yulong River with his cows

the farmer crosses the Yulong River with his cows

farmer crossing

farmer crossing

wading across the Yulong River

wading across the Yulong River

I am thrilled to experience this little slice of life in the Yangshuo countryside!

disappearing act

disappearing act

bicycles Chinese style

bicycles Chinese style

When the rain lets up, Erica and I get back on our bikes to continue on our journey.

Erica and her bicycle

Erica and her bicycle

Before we leave, two young men come by on a motorbike.  I can’t believe it, but they try to cross the river on the bike.  One of the men gets off and walks alongside.  Of course the bike stalls, but they get it started again and make their way gingerly across.

crossing the Yulong River on a motorbike

crossing the Yulong River on a motorbike

There’s all kind of activity on this rainy day in Yangshuo.  We encounter another farmer leading his cow along the path.

another farmer and his cow

another farmer and his cow

His cow goes off into the bushes to scrounge around, but the farmer doesn’t seem to mind.  After all, cows will be cows.

and the cow goes scrounging in the bushes

and the cow goes scrounging in the bushes

Chinese countryside

Chinese countryside

more farmland

more farmland

We pass more farmland in the midst of the karsts, and we glimpse farmers and water buffalos in the fields.

a farmer in the field

a farmer in the field

water buffalo in the field

water buffalo in the field

Erica and her bicycle

Erica and her bicycle

I have to take a convoluted path to get us to Dragon Bridge. There are no English signs to point out the way, but I use my 6th sense, just letting my body lead us in the right direction.  We go through a parking lot and then emerge on the other side to find the trail continuing along the Yulong River.  Once again, I’m surprised and pleased that I’m able to remember the way to go.

Erica hasn’t seen the bamboo rafts at Yulong Bridge, and she is delighted by the sight, as am I.

the view upriver from Dragon Bridge

the view upriver from Dragon Bridge

Looking downriver from Dragon Bridge

Looking downriver from Dragon Bridge

bamboo rafts on the Yulong River

bamboo rafts on the Yulong River

the Yulong River from Dragon Bridge

the Yulong River from Dragon Bridge

The rafts go downriver, and as the boatmen go by, they toss these ID tags up on to the bridge, where someone collects them.  I’m not sure exactly how this system works and what the point is.

boat ID tags

boat ID tags

As we’re leaving, we catch this character shooting the breeze with a companion.

Do you like my hat?

Do you like my hat?

We pass by a cute little bridge beside a coffee shop in the countryside.

A little bridge in the countryside

A little bridge in the countryside

coffee shop in Yangshuo

coffee shop in Yangshuo

view from the little bridge

view from the little bridge

We stop at the Giggling Tree, a hotel that always seems to be booked whenever I’ve come to Yangshuo.  This hotel is popular among Westerners.  We stop in the courtyard and have some mango drinks.

the courtyard at the Giggling Tree

the courtyard at the Giggling Tree

I was hoping we’d end up back at the Passion Fruit Leisure Farm, where Audrey and I ate lunch in October, but Erica is tired from our long day and wants to make our way back to town.  So we ride back into Yangshuo, where we stroll around the town.  Here, I finally buy a couple of cool lanterns, after dreaming about them during my whole time in China.

Lately, the lens on my Olympus Pen has been acting up, and I’m disappointed to find that many of my pictures are not quite focused.  I’m not sure if they’re like this because of the dense mist in the air in Yangshuo, or because of the lens not focusing properly.  I think it’s going to be time for a new camera soon. 🙂

a little Chinese girl poses at a shop in Yangshuo

a little Chinese girl poses at a shop in Yangshuo

the town and canals in Yangshuo

the town and canals in Yangshuo

After dinner, we hop on our bikes to head back toward the Cosy Garden.  While we’re riding over the bumpy cobblestones under the long pavilion, Erica says she’d like to stop at Demo Tikki Bar, which Audrey took me to in October; it has now moved from the middle of Yangshuo to this somewhat deserted stretch under the pavilion along the Li River.

Audrey had introduced me to the German manager, Peter, and when we stop in, I ask Peter if he remembers me from when I came in with Audrey. He does because he added me on WeChat at that time, so he’s seen all my posts.  I’ve seen his as well, so everything finally comes together: all his posts about Demo Bar’s move to the new location now make perfect sense. We sit at a table and have some beer and cheese plates and Peter joins us when time allows. When he sits with us, he shares his excitement about the restaurant/bar’s new location and all his plans for this and another new restaurant in town.

Erica over beers at the new Demo Bar by the Li River

Erica over beers at the new Demo Bar by the Li River

After dinner, Erica and I hop back on our bicycles to ride through the drizzling dark to the Cosy Garden.  The staff at Cosy Garden gave Erica a miniature headlamp, like what a coal miner wears, when we left the hotel this morning.  At the far end of the long pavilion, we both take turns struggling to turn it on and put it on our heads; finally it’s me that wins out.  We cycle forth into the darkness, a beam of light shining from my luminous head onto the road ahead.

Earlier today, I asked Erica if she’d rather take the bamboo raft down the Yulong River tomorrow, or if she’d rather take a motorbike tour up to the Seven Star tea plantation and Xianggong Hill.  There is only enough time for one or the other.  She was so charmed by the Yulong River rafts that she’s decided she’d like to do that tomorrow; we arranged it in town when we returned from our bike rides earlier.

We settle in quite late at the Cosy Inn, preparing for another raft trip and for our long journey back to Nanning tomorrow.

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Categories: Asia, Bicycle tour, China, Cosy Garden, Demo Tiki Bar, Dragon Bridge, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Rosewood Cafe, The Giggling Tree, Travel, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangshuo, Yulong River | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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.

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

mike’s reflections on china

In late January, my husband Mike traveled from Virginia to visit me here in China.  We went to Hunan province, where we visited Fenghuang and Zhangjiajie, and to Guangxi, where we visited Guilin and Yangshuo.  I was disappointed for him because we had horrible weather for nearly the whole time he was here.  His one and only experience of China was a rainy, fog-enshrouded, cold and gloomy one.  In his reflections below, you can see that despite our hardships, he managed to see the experience as a positive one.  This was more than I could say for myself, but then I’ve seen better days in China.

Mike eats dumplings at the Red Sign

Mike eats dumplings at the Red Sign

Here are Mike’s reflections, along with some of the photos he took.

——————————————————–

After Cathy decided to go to China to teach this year she suggested that I should plan on visiting and traveling with her on one of her breaks. My initial reaction was less than enthusiastic. My first inclination is to plan relaxing, stress-free, outdoorsy vacations away from crowds and the fast-paced life I deal with in the DC suburbs. After giving the idea some thought and talking more with Cathy, I committed, leaving the planning to her, providing feedback on trip options when asked. I am an avid reader, like Cathy, and have an interest in cultural anthropology and world history, which I get from a fictional and non-fictional perspective. In addition to having the opportunity to spend some time with my nomad wife, I would see firsthand how one in five people on our planet live.

a wedding in the streets of Fenghuang

a wedding in the streets of Fenghuang

I knew from the outset that this trip would be a challenge, starting and ending with the long time-zone crossing flights halfway around the globe. From Cathy’s early travel experiences in China I knew that our in-country travels would not be easy. Neither of us are much on tour groups, preferring the freedom to move about at our own pace, surrounded by local folks, being forced to figure things out on our own. That‘s half the adventure. The apprehension we felt every time we ventured out to our next destination was rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and relief upon arrival. I came with no expectations other than to relish the uniqueness of China. Cathy put a lot of time and energy into our itinerary, hoping to show me the picturesque and historic side of Guangxi and Hunan provinces. You seasoned travelers understand the tenuous balance between trying to visit as many places as possible within a tight time window and allowing oneself the time to soak in the essence of each layover, and recharge, before diving in to the next adventure. I felt like we achieved that balance.

Fenghuang

Fenghuang

Cathy was very honest on her blog in describing her disappointment with the cool damp weather during my visit. Besides yielding a series of fog shrouded photos for her blog, she was sad for me. I am sure that many travel bloggers portray only the positive aspects of their trips, which is not reality. You have to accept and learn to deal with weather and other circumstances that don’t go your way. I like how Cathy freely shares her personal frustrations in her blogs.

Yes, I would have enjoyed some clear sunny days, but I was so alert to the sights, sounds, smells and the way of life wherever we went that the weather had much less of an impact on me than Cathy. The mist encased quartz-sandstone pillars of Zhangjiajie and the limestone karsts of Yangshuo looked whimsical and mysterious. The one rainy day where we didn’t go trekking was spent lounging in bed reading and treating ourselves to a muscle relaxing massage. That was just what we needed, some down time to recover.

Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie

I was constantly fascinated by assorted modes of transportation, the unified flow of scooters, bikes and buses on the crowded streets and dusty rural roads, the lack of heat throughout, the family way of life in the shops, service bays, and eateries, the variety of critters and body parts offered on the menus, the placid acceptance of a quality of life that few westerners could imagine, the third world toilets, the often derelict trains and train stations, the rural communal hamlets we cycled through, the villagers laboring in the never-ending fields, and the general friendliness of the people we encountered.

I wanted to see where Cathy lived, where she worked, the students she taught, where she shopped and ate, how she traveled, the soul and spirit of the bustling cities, the steady march of the rural farms, so I could get a sense for the environment she moved about in during her life in Guangxi. Thankfully those impressions will now be with me for the rest of her stay in Nanning, sensory impressions catalogued and brought to mind as she shares with me her weekly recap on Skype. Instead of her face and the stories she tells in words, I will see much more.

The Yangshuo countryside during a rainy bike ride

The Yangshuo countryside during a rainy bike ride

There are so many memories and images that come to mind from our two-week excursion, all fascinating to me, many of which Cathy has already shared in her blog. Some of these memories can’t be captured by pictures and words. They were moments of interaction, on some level, with others, in a land where one feels so isolated, despite being surrounded by 1.3 billion people. The thirteen hour plane ride seated next to a mother and her young son from Mongolia on their return trip from studying at the international school in Miami, Florida, the respectful sharing of a small train compartment for twelve hours with two young strangers, the prideful smile on the face of our dumpling lady in Fenghuang who was thrilled to see us show up for breakfast three mornings in a row, the conversation with a young woman, employed in international sales, on our boat ride on Baofang Lake, the engaging conversation with Duco, the young Dutch backpacker, on our bus ride to Yangshuo, the family we traveled with on our Li river bamboo raft, and the many challenging interactions arising from the language barrier at every twist and turn.

the town of Yangshuo

the town of Yangshuo

In one of Cathy’s blogs about Alex’s time in China she mentions a tension-filled afternoon. This is to be expected, in less than ideal travel situations and close quarters, as individual expectations collide with circumstances and each other. I suppose the key to traveling with someone else, successfully, is to recognize that this will happen and what to do when it does happen. I think in Alex and Cathy’s case, space and time was all they needed, and by the evening they were fine. It was surprising to me given all of the traveling we did and the inclement weather we encountered that we didn’t really encounter any moments of tension. Perhaps I’ll chalk that up to my laid back nature; HA! Just joking Cathy, I know it takes two to make this happen.

In looking back on my two weeks in China, followed by Alex’s two weeks, followed by Cathy’s trip to Myanmar, I am amazed at Cathy’s stamina, especially in light of the cough she came down with on our trip. Both Alex and I were exhausted after our short journeys. I can’t even begin to imagine doing that for six weeks. Cathy is like the Energizer Bunny, she keeps going and going and going!!!

the Yangshuo countryside on the way back to Guilin

the Yangshuo countryside on the way back to Guilin

As I left China I realized that this was truly a once-in-a-life experience. It is an experience that for myself, and for Alex, will resurface in years to come as we put global events into perspective, as a result of having the opportunity to glimpse a way of life so different from our own. I am thankful for that opportunity.

Categories: Airplane, Asia, Baofeng Lake Scenic Spot, Bicycle tour, Bus, Changsha, China, Fenghuang, Guangxi University, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin, Holidays, Hunan, Jishou, Li River, Nanning, Nanning Wuxu International Airport, Seven Star Tea Plantation, Sino-Canadian International College (SCIC), Spring Festival, Train, Transportation, Travel, West Street, Wulingyuan Scenic Reserve, Xi Jie, Xianggong Hill, Yangshuo, Yangshuo River View Hotel, Zhangjiajie, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

a cloudy day boat ride down the li river

Wednesday, January 28:  We go through a bit of an ordeal with our guide Esther today.  She has lured us into a boat ride down the Li River for a lower price than our hotel offers. She says she has connections.  I don’t understand how she can give us a better deal than the hotel, as the boat operators on the river charge generally the same prices, so she must be getting a deal on the transportation to the boat launch in Xingping and back.  She has already told us that the ride will be upriver from Xingping to Yangdi (east to west), and I told her I wanted the ride downriver from west to east, from Yangdi to Xingping.  This is the way I did it in October.  What’s so amazing about the downriver direction is that you end up in Xingping, where the jagged mountains are clustered together in such a fantastical array that a painting of them graces the 20 yuan bill.

Esther leads us through the streets to different spots, where she stops and looks all around for some mysterious person who’s supposed to show up.  She’s on the phone the whole time.  I still don’t like that she won’t guarantee the downriver boat ride, and she’s not telling us any details about who we’re going with.  She’s not planning to come along with us, and she’s being generally evasive.  As we move from one spot on the street to the other, with her on the phone yapping in Chinese and looking all around impatiently, I start to lose it.

I say, “Esther, you’ve had since yesterday to plan this!  How much longer will it be?” She keeps pacing up and down, searching for some vehicle that never materializes, and she has no answers.  Finally, I get fed up.  “I’m sorry, Esther.  You’ve had since yesterday to arrange this and you still don’t have it arranged!  We’re going back to the hotel.”

We walk away and leave her on the street, still talking on the phone.  Nearby, we stop into a travel agent, and we arrange the boat ride for the same price Esther was offering.  It seems however, that the downriver route is not available and the only way to go is from Xingping upriver a bit, but not all the way to Yangdi, and then returning to Xingping.  I guess the Li River must be lower at this time of year.  We pay the travel agent for the trip, wait about 20 minutes in the agent’s office, and then hop on a bus for the nearly one hour drive to Xingping.

On the bus, I’m squeezed in next to a Chinese lady who speaks excellent English.  She’s here in Yangshuo for the Spring Festival holiday with her husband and daughter.  She tells me her English name is Julia.  We have a long conversation about our holidays and her life in her hometown.  When we get to the boat launch, it ends up we all five share a bamboo raft together.

At the boat launch - waiting and waiting

At the boat launch – waiting and waiting

For some unknown reason, we have to wait quite a long time at the boat launch.  There are some boats lingering about, but no one seems to be manning them. Things are so much more disorganized than when I took this boat ride in October: a raft trip down the li river: yangdi to xingping

Finally, after at least a half-hour wait, we get on the boat with the lovely Chinese family.  We agree with the Chinese family that we’ll start in the front seat, which offers the best views, but we’ll switch places with them from time to time.  Sadly, the views today are not great anyway.  It’s a dark and cloudy day, but at least so far it isn’t raining.  We find out quickly that it’s quite cold on the river, with the cold wind and the spray from the river, and we realize we haven’t dressed warmly enough.

the Li River

the Li River

the boat launch at the Li River

the boat launch at the Li River

a dark day on the Li River

a dark day on the Li River

the cloudy Li River

the cloudy Li River

a river surrounded by karst landscape

a river surrounded by karst landscape

the Li River

the Li River

mysterious mountains

mysterious mountains

trees and karsts

boats, trees and karsts

For yet another day of our holiday, I’m disappointed in the dreary charcoal skies and the fog that nearly obscures our view.

a dark day on the Li River

a dark day on the Li River

the Li River

the Li River

the Li River

the Li River

The boat driver makes a stop at a little island where people are selling handicrafts, but none of us wants to buy anything.  While we wander about, the Chinese girl spends her time throwing heavy stones into the river.  Meanwhile, the boat driver sits with his friends and eats a snack.  We take turns taking pictures of each other.

our Chinese companions

our Chinese companions

Mike and I on the Li River

Mike and I on the Li River

It’s so funny, Julia reminds me so much of my Korean friend Julie.  Even her haircut is similar: my two closest korean friends

me with the Chinese girls

me with the Chinese girls

We pass on the opportunity to ride this little pony.

a ride on a pony, anyone?

a ride on a pony, anyone?

Finally, when our boat driver finishes eating his snack and chatting with his friends, we’re on our way again.

back on the boat

back on the boat

a boat with a view

a boat with a view

Soon after we get back on the boat, it starts to spit rain.  This continues for the rest of our ride.  Argh!!!!

Me, mother & daughter, and Mike on the bamboo raft

Me, mother & daughter, and Mike on the bamboo raft

heading down the Li River

heading down the Li River

Li River

Li River

Li River

Li River

Li River

Li River

continuing down the river

continuing down the river

more picturesque views

more picturesque views

another boat on the river

another boat on the river

beach

beach

one of the larger boats for the Li River Cruise

one of the larger boats for the Li River Cruise

the Li River

the Li River

The Li River

The Li River

mother and daughter

mother and daughter

on the Li River

on the Li River

Li River views

Li River views

the Li River looking out over the end of our bamboo raft

the Li River looking out over the end of our bamboo raft

Cruising down the Li River

Cruising down the Li River

By the time we finish our ride, we’re all shivering and wet from the rain and the spray from the river.  We squeeze into the bus again and ride back to Yangshuo.  We go back to the hotel to rest and get warm and dry for a while before we head out to dinner at Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant.

The restaurant has two huge wooden sliding doors at the front.  Mike doesn’t realize they’re sliding doors and he pushes one of them inward, lifting both of them dangerously into the air.  He realizes belatedly what he’s done and he steps back, letting the doors clunk back into place.  Meanwhile the people in the restaurant run to the front to stop him from knocking down the two huge doors.  They’re so heavy that they probably would have crushed him if he had knocked them off their tracks.  He causes quite a stir!

at Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant

at Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant

Luckily after dinner the rain has abated so we take a short walk around the town again.  We run across some funny characters in the street.

characters on the streets of Yangshuo

characters on the streets of Yangshuo

We decide to warm up a bit in Mango by sharing a refreshing mango and ice cream dessert.  It’s really yummy, but that ice cream makes us shiver all the way back to our hotel.

Mike at Mango sharing his mango dessert

Mike at Mango sharing his mango dessert

the walls at Mango

the walls at Mango

Inside Mango

Inside Mango

We get cozy again in our hotel and read a long while.  There’s never anything on TV to watch as all the shows are in Chinese.  After our day on the river, we’re both feeling really sick, with coughs, sore throats, runny noses and general head colds and shivers.  We can see the forecast for tomorrow is for rain all day.  We decide that if it is actually raining, we will get massages in the morning and just stay in our hotel room for most of the day, trying to recover from our miserable colds.

 

 

Categories: Asia, China, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin, Li River, Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, Rosewood Cafe, Travel, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangdi, Yangshuo, Yangshuo River View Hotel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

a morning walk around yangshuo

Wednesday, January 28:  This morning, loud explosions outside our hotel jolt us out of our sleep.  We hear musical instruments, and more explosions.  We hop out of bed, scurrying to the balcony to see what the hubbub is about.   On the street below is what looks like a funeral procession.  People are setting off firecrackers, leaving wisps of smoke and a trail of red litter scattered on the ground.  A street-sweeping crew follows behind to clean it all up.  Musicians are marching beside the procession, playing lively tunes.  Some people are walking backwards, facing what must be the casket, while the pallbearers and the mourners are moving solidly forward.

a morning funeral procession

a morning funeral procession

the sweepers

the sweepers

the procession on the streets of Yangshuo

the procession on the streets of Yangshuo

I guess this is our wake up call.  Esther, our bicycle guide from yesterday, has arranged a boat ride down the Li River for the late morning, so we get showered and dressed and head into town to grab some breakfast.

Yangshuo

Yangshuo

colorful cafe in town

colorful cafe in town

Write a postcard to the future and coffee

Write a postcard to the future and coffee

Chez Valerie

Chez Valerie

It looks like another gray day, but at least at this point, it isn’t raining.

dark street of the town

dark street of the town

We stop at the Rosewood Cafe, which has a warm cozy atmosphere and a great Western breakfast.

The Rosewood Cafe

The Rosewood Cafe

Mike outside the Rosewood Cafe

Mike outside the Rosewood Cafe

Streets of Yangshuo

Streets of Yangshuo

After breakfast, we walk around the streets a bit. As usual, I admire the lantern shops.  I go into one to ask how I’d go about transporting one of the lanterns if I were to buy one.  The two Chinese people at the counter obviously don’t want to have to make the effort to understand or speak English. They look up briefly and wave their hands back and forth in front of their faces, as if to brush me away, and then they get right back to the business at hand: their phones.  Some Chinese people can be so rude!  They just lost a sale, but what do they care?  Customer service is not part of the Chinese mentality.

Lanterns galore

Lanterns galore

Darn it all, I want one of those lanterns!!  I should have just bought one and dealt with the transport.  But after the salespeople’s rudeness, I won’t buy one from them on matter of principle. I will get one, I promise, before I leave China.

More lanterns

More lanterns

The streets don’t have much action on them at this time of morning.  Strangely, outdoor tables are set up at some cafes.  Don’t the proprietors notice the heavy skies?  Don’t they sense the threat of rain?

streets of Yangshuo

streets of Yangshuo

On a nice day, you can imagine this town is really cute, with its canals, bridges, red lanterns and colorful umbrellas and signs.

Canals of Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

Canals of Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

bridges in Yangshuo

bridges in Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

Pretty little footbridge

Pretty little footbridge

Canals of Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

Canals of Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

Pond in Yangshuo

Pond in Yangshuo

McDonald's ~ It's everywhere!

McDonald’s ~ It’s everywhere! (Photo by Mike)

The streets outside of the tourist part of town

The streets outside of the tourist part of town (Photo by Mike)

Busy Yangshuo

Busy Yangshuo (Photo by Mike)

After our walk, we go back to the room to bundle up some more as it’s likely to be awfully cold and windy out on the Li River.

Categories: Asia, China, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin, Holidays, Rosewood Cafe, Spring Festival, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangshuo | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

a morning walk & breakfast in yangshuo

Sunday, October 5:  I’m supposed to meet Vivian at the hotel at 10:30 this morning to go on a private motorbike tour of the countryside north of Yangshuo.  Before our meeting, I walk into town to find some breakfast.  I’m pleasantly surprised to find the town is just waking up and the streets are practically deserted.

on Xianqian Jie

on Xianqian Jie: The Yangshuo Climbing Festival

Deserted Xianqian Jie

Deserted Xianqian Jie

the cute little coffee shop with a gecko server

the cute little coffee shop with a gecko server

Even Xi Jie, better known as West Street, normally packed with people, has just been washed down and is practically empty, except for a few early birds like me.

Xi Jie, or West Street.

Xi Jie, or West Street.

I decide to indulge in the breakfast buffet at Rosewood Cafe.

Rosewood Cafe

Rosewood Cafe

Breakfast buffet at Rosewood Cafe

Breakfast buffet at Rosewood Cafe

Still life over the buffet

Still life over the buffet

little pond in the center of town

little pond in the center of town

pretty little bridge

pretty little bridge

I continue to stroll through the town, enjoying the peace and quiet.  I even find some people walking around in their pajamas.

Click on any of the photos below to see a full-sized slide show.

Heading back toward the hotel, I pause along the Li River’s edge to see what’s happening.

waterfall

waterfall

the bamboo boat man

the bamboo boat man

The Li River on a Sunday morning

The Li River on a Sunday morning

over the moon

over the moon

Li River

Li River

stepping stones

stepping stones

Li River & karst landscape

Li River & karst landscape

I’m excited about my motorbike tour.  When I get back to the hotel, I gather up my camera and my bag, and meet Vivian for a full-day of exploring.

Categories: Asia, China, Expat life, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin, Li River, National Holiday, Rosewood Cafe, Travel, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangshuo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

a nighttime stroll through yangshuo

Saturday, October 4:  After our long bike ride and late lunch, I’m neither energetic nor hungry this evening.  I take a stroll around the town just as the sun sets and the streets light up.  I don’t do much except take pictures of some of the shop windows and then drop into a pretty little cafe for a mango juice.  That’s about all I’m hungry for after my lunch at Passion Fruit Leisure Farm.

Here are a few nighttime shots of the charming town of Yangshuo.

China's National Holiday: the crowds and the Chinese flags on Xianqian Jie

China’s National Holiday: the crowds and the Chinese flags on Xianqian Jie

Festive lanterns

Festive lanterns

Fruit juice anyone?

Fruit juice anyone?

a funky coffee shop on Xianqian Jie

a funky coffee shop on Xianqian Jie

more lanterns

more lanterns

Lanterns & Chinese calligraphy

Lanterns & Chinese calligraphy

Musicians are serenading people all through the town, mainly trying to sell their CDs.  Earlier I found a CD shop where the CDs look like old-fashioned records.  I bought a CD from that shop because I liked the music they were playing, and I asked for a copy of that particular music.  Chinese of course.

a little musical serenade

a little musical serenade

fruit stand

fruit stand

At this black T-shirt shop I can get a T-shirt with Chinese characters meaning Freak, Gangster, Crazy or Liar.

Black T-shirts

Black T-shirts

At one stand I can buy Yogurt mangoes juice, lemon juice, or Box Lemon Tea.

Fruits for sale

Fruits for sale

I follow the walkway into the Flower Cafe where I sit for a bit and drink a fresh mango juice.

Heading into the shop that has Flower into its name for a mango juice

Heading into the shop that has Flower into its name for a mango juice

Though the Treasure Island Fish Hot Pot restaurant is tempting, I’m not hungry enough to sample the food.

Chinese Hot Pot

Treasure Island Fish Hot Pot Restaurant

I would love to have a picture of myself wearing a conical hat. 🙂

Conical hats

Conical hats

Finally I return to the hotel where I sit in the outdoor cafe and have a Tsingtao beer.  While relaxing there, I have a chat with Vivian and her daughter.  Vivian speaks good English and has been teaching her daughter some English as well.  The little girl wants to show me what she’s learned.

Vivian and her daughter

Vivian and her daughter

I’ve made plans for tomorrow with Vivian, who works at the Yangshuo River View Hotel.  She’s going to take me on motorbike tour north of Yangshuo.  At first I’m thinking I’ll follow her on a separate motorbike, but it turns out she plans to have me ride on the back of hers.  That’s fine by me as I’m not sure I’d feel safe on these crowded roads driving one myself.

We’ve decided to meet at 10:30 in the morning for my tour, so I plan to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast and then take off into the mountains with Vivian. 🙂

Categories: Asia, China, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Travel, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangshuo | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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. 🙂

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

travel & arrival in yangshuo

Thursday, October 2:  I leave my apartment at 6:40 a.m. and reach the main gate of the university at around 7, where I take the number 10 bus, arriving with the crowds at the Nanning Railway Station about 20 minutes later. There I accidentally meet one of my students, Eva, who had told me on Tuesday that she was taking the 8:20 train to Guilin, her hometown.  She tells me she read that yesterday, the first day of the National Holiday, this station “saw 140,000 people.”  I believe it.  Even today, for this early train, the station is packed.

my student Eva at the train station

my student Eva at the train station

I get comfortable on an aisle seat next to a friendly Chinese girl. The fast train is comfortable, modern and smooth. My ticket was 111 yuan, or $18.

Even two hours south of Guilin, I begin to see the limestone karsts for which the area is famous.  There are thousands of them stretching endlessly on the horizon.  We pass beautiful farmland, farmers in conical hats, water buffalo, and neat little paths threading between fields.  Some farms have ponds, and some of those have lotus blossoms.  I see sprawling groves of tall spindly trees with tufts of green at the top.  I’m not sure what they are, but they’re delicate and pretty.  I love watching the countryside outside the train window even though I don’t have a window seat and I’m constantly leaning forward to look over my seat mate’s head or lap.

When we arrive in Guilin, I catch a bus to Yangshuo for 40 yuan ($6.51).  I think this is the special “holiday price,” because I’ve heard it’s normally 20 yuan ($3.26). Either way, it’s dirt cheap!

By the time we arrive at the Yangshuo bus station at 1:00, I’m desperate for a bathroom.  It’s been a very bumpy ride!  As always, the public bathrooms are disgusting, the Chinese hole-in-the-floor variety.  I encountered one outside the Guilin bus station that didn’t even have flush mechanisms; woman were squatting over a trough with no doors to shield themselves from curious eyes! You can imagine the smell.  Yikes! I could rant on and on about this, but what’s the point?  I try to pretend I’m not actually using these toilets; I simply imagine I’m somewhere else.  It’s how I’ve learned to deal with a lot of unpleasant situations while traveling.

I’ve already asked several people about the whereabouts of my hotel, but I only have it written in English.  At this Yangshuo bus “station” bathroom, I find an American girl and ask if she knows where it is.  A Chinese girl is standing in line and lucky for me she speaks English.  She writes the Chinese name of my hotel on the copy of my confirmation.  It’s amazing when traveling that you often find helpers in the most unlikely places.

I find a moto-taxi and show him the Chinese name of my hotel.  He ties my suitcase to the back of the bike, and I hang on to his tiny waist as he zips through Yangshuo.  It would have been quite a long walk!  He charges me 20 yuan for this thrilling ride (~$3.26).  I finally arrive at my destination at 1:30, 7 hours after I walked out my front door this morning.

Arrival at the hotel.

Arrival at the hotel.

People have told me to expect prices double or up to 5x as much as normal during this National Holiday, because Yangshuo is the ultimate tourist destination in the south of China.  Still, in Western terms, I find everything very cheap.  I’m not going to complain if someone charges me 20 yuan instead of 10 yuan for something.  It seems like penny-pinching.

My room at the Yangshuo River View Hotel

My room at the Yangshuo River View Hotel

I check in immediately to my hotel, the Yangshuo River View Hotel. I had booked this ahead of time on Agoda.com.  Again, I know the prices are higher than normal, but I wanted to travel during the holiday and I wanted a nice room.  I pay around $87.50/night, which is really high for China.  I don’t have a river view because it was one of the last available rooms, and the river view rooms were more expensive anyway.  I’m actually glad I face a courtyard; it’s much quieter than the streetside river view would be.  The hotel receptionists speak excellent English and they’re very helpful.  I arrange a cruise down the Li River for tomorrow morning (220 yuan, around $36).  Then I go out to explore the town.

First I walk down the street in front of the hotel, which borders the Li River.  I get a glimpse of the pretty karsts and boats cruising down the river.

River boat on the Li River

River boat on the Li River

View of the Li River and karsts from Bin Jiang Road in Yangshuo

View of the Li River and karsts from Bin Jiang Road in Yangshuo

Along the sidewalk, the merchants are in full swing.

Stinky tofu for sale.

Stinky tofu for sale.

Pomelos for sale

Pomelos for sale

peeking through trees at the Li River

peeking through trees at the Li River

The town is very cute and touristy, with colorful shops selling the typical things you find in these kinds of towns everywhere: pashmina shawls, flowing skirts, bohemian tops, hippie handbags, silk scarves, “do your name in Chinese character” scrolls, whimsical lanterns, postcards and trinkets.  I’m always temped most by the lanterns, but I wouldn’t know how to transport one, so I don’t buy.

I really want all these lanterns!

I want all these lanterns!

There are scores of fruit juice shops or stands, coffee shops, musicians performing in hopes of selling CDs, flags flying for the National Holiday and views of the karsts at the end of streets.  There are also plenty of tourists, including Chinese families, Western backpackers and older couples.

Xianqian Jie

Xianqian Jie

Tropical Yangshuo

Tropical Yangshuo

"Write postcards to the future and coffee"

“Write a postcard to the future and coffee”

To stroll through the town, click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slide show.

In my walk about town, I come to a cute pond beside the hugest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen.  What a shame about that.  I have a picture, but it’s so NOT scenic.  I’ll leave it out.  I don’t think you’ll miss it.

bicycles by a pretty little pond

bicycles by a pretty little pond

a pretty little pond, bordered by a huge McDonalds

a pretty little pond, bordered by a huge McDonald’s

I stop at Cloud 9 for lunch.  By this time, I’m starved.  I order shrimp with peppers and onions on a sizzling plate, along with white rice and a beer.  It’s yummy, but my stomach starts rumbling before I’m even finished eating.  Since I feel a little sick, I go back to the hotel to relax a bit before going back out for dinner.  I got up at 5 a.m. this morning just to be sure I made it to the train in time, so I’m exhausted from travel.

After I rest a bit, I go back out and walk along the river.  Along the opposite side of the road from my hotel, between the hotel and the Li River, is a long playground buzzing with Chinese children.  Down by the river are lots of people posing for pictures on a sliver of moon, or walking along the river’s edge and on stepping-stones that jut into the water.

I wander back into town.  It’s even more crowded now that it’s approaching dinner time.

I’m keeping an eye out for a bar called Demo, where a young American lady named Audrey bartends.  Small world that this is, she is the niece of one of my old classmates.  Her aunt put me in touch with her through Facebook.  Audrey, who is part Chinese on her mother’s side, lives and works in Yangshuo.  She teaches English and works sometimes at Demo.  She thinks she’ll only stay in Yangshuo through December; she’s looking for jobs elsewhere.  If she decides to say in China, she says there are “limitless possibilities.”

Welcome to Demo Tiki Bar

Welcome to Demo Tiki Bar

Of course, I haven’t got the lay of the land yet, so I have no idea where to find Demo, but suddenly in my wanderings, there it is right in front of me.  I’m not hungry since I had a late lunch, but I order a Kirin beer and some delicious mushroom soup and homemade bread made by the German cook, Peter.   I chat with Audrey a while and then she gets to work.  We plan on taking a bike ride on Saturday.

Wall art in Demo

Wall art in Demo

Demo Tiki Bar

Demo Tiki Bar

View of the street from Demo's balcony

View of the street from Demo’s balcony

street view from Demo's balcony

street view from Demo’s balcony

I walk back to the hotel and settle in for the night because I have to get up early tomorrow for my boat cruise down the Li River. 🙂

back to the Yangshuo River View Hotel

back to the Yangshuo River View Hotel

Categories: Asia, China, Cloud 9 Restaurant, Demo Tiki Bar, Expat life, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin, Nanning, Nanning Railway Station, West Street, Xi Jie, Yangshuo, Yangshuo River View Hotel | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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