LI River Cruise, Yangshuo County, and the Cultural Impressions of Liushanjie
10.08.2013 - 10.08.2013 95 °F
We got started a little later than we had intended, so when Sandy showed up on time, we hadn't had breakfast. The buffet area is on the second floor of the atrium at Sheraton Guilin, so Sandy suggested we run up there and put together some to go boxes (since we had paid for a buffet!) They returned with a smile on their faces and a bounty of tasty treats for a quick breakfast on the run.
Like a typical tourist, I was snappin pics of all the karst mountains around us on the road to the dock, full aware that things were going to be amazing on the cruise, but there is no preparing one for the reality of the Li River Cruise. We followed Sandy to our boat, among dozens getting ready to leave at the same time, and found our way into our air-conditioned cabin and our seats lined up.
Once on our way, we quickly went above on the roof to see the glorious landscapes. At this point, it's best to let the pictures speak for themselves. This is a taste of 4 hours on the Li River.
After the cruise, we went through the gauntlet of hawkers wanting us to buy every little thing on West Street before coming out harried but no lighter in our pocketbooks. Many will buy something just so they will leave them alone, but it only makes it worse. We will find more civilized places to get our souvenirs for family. We decided to spend several hours letting the kids play in the pool and even Uncle Keith swam and floated with the glorious karst peaks in the background. We got showered and came downstairs for dinner at 7.
Dinner at Chinese hotels is often one course brought after another. It was a mixture of Western and Asian dishes and was much more than the four of us could even imagine trying to down. By 8:10pm, Sandy came and picked us up for the journey to an outdoor theater. There is a local legend of a young girl, and mean landlord, and family strife that is inspiring for the locals and containing folk songs that EVERYONE knows, and many sing along with. It's very Asian sounding to westerners and I find it wonderful.
The show we saw has been performing here since 2004. I'd guess it's like China's Fantastiks. The lights, costumes, and backdrops are stunning. The surrounding peaks are softly illuminated at different parts of the show and it's an indescribable feeling to witness such a moving spectacle. I have no idea what they are saying, but the commonality of spirit is palpable. Bruce bought the DVD CD set and I look forward to seeing if it can communicate any of the sense of wonder one has. The Chinese love it too. It was a mad house, and we were at the second of three show that were performed that night! I will post more pictures of this in an update in a day or so. I am in a hotel with internet, but we will soon be picked up by Sandy for a day of sightseeing in the karst mountains with it formations, caves, and cottages.
Tonight, we will take a night train to Nanning for the first visit to a social welfare institute where the girls were cared for before being placed into our family for adoption. I think it likely it will be more than 24 hours before I can post again, but I will add more photos then. It just takes too long to upload them as we need to check out of the room in a few minutes!
Zai jian! (goodbye!)