After breakfast the bus drove through the Yangshuo countryside on the way to the River Li.
- Yangshuo is known for pomelo and persimmon trees
- Smoking and drinking the hardest vices to control
- Cigarettes very cheap: as low as $1:00 per pack
- 90% of men smoke
- Restaurants have ‘No Smoking’ signs but cannot enforce (afraid to lose customers)
- Cigarettes bring in taxes (so no smoking not yet imposed)
- Phoenix Tail Bamboo is used to make clothes and underwear, softer than cotton
- Chinese people are never quiet; always talking about everything around them
- They cook and eat dog here, using lots of spices to flavor the meat (i.e. orange peel)
- People in the country don’t like their pictures taken because you are stealing their spirit (shorten their lives)
- Don’t like pictures taken of babies, especially, but sometimes, they will charge money (?)
- Because of tourists, the locals make a good life
- Vegetable stands everywhere tourists pass
- Homegrown vegetables + rice, fruit
- Countryside littered with paper and garbage until you reach the city
At the concert the previous night, no-one clapped, no-one shut-up; everyone had a camera taking pictures and videos. In the dark a sea of cameras lit up the dark like candle throughout the audience.
All land is owned by the government. If you want to build a house, you must apply to the Village Committee (like a village government) and apply to lease the land for 70 years. Sometimes, you can renew the lease and pass your house, apartment, condo or especially farms until the government has other plans for the land your family has lived on for hundreds of years.
We stopped at an old farmhouse along the way to the River Li for our cruise. Here a Caucasian tourist tries out the old-fashioned broom.
Down a country road, lined with stands of food and trinkets for sale, we followed Lily, our guide. The people stared at us and we tried not to stare at them. Our cruise boat was old, rusty, not what I’d call clean and run by locals. The gangplank appeared to have wood rot (holes in it) and I stepped carefully. We sat topside instead of inside on old wooden chairs and new benches as the weather was co-operative. Of course, there were trinkets inside for tourists as well as soft drinks.
We were about 25 tourists onboard. One woman with her son and daughter and another mother with her daughter (all in early teens) and a couple families of flip-flop-clad Australians with six youngsters between six and 14 were all onboard. I felt in good company. No way could I have worn runners. My feet at this point of our trip felt broken.
We passed water buffalo on the shore and for the first time, noticed countryside litter: plastic bags and empty cigarette packages. Electrical towers were seen in the weirdest places, in the middle of nowhere, but farmers still live in the old ways. They have a well, but no plumbing.
Winter (January / February) are not good for tourists. It is too cold and there is no heating system here. One must sleep in a coat. On the other hand, summer is hot and humid and the opposite around July. Another drawback, the water level is high on the River Li and not good for water travel because it is too fast and dangerous.
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River Cruise Additional Links:
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Next on February 27: Day 18, Part 2 –More Yangshuo
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