How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Yangshuo: Day 17, Part 3 – Countryside

After the tea ceremony, the (rich) foreigners were whisked into a sales room. Inside, various teas were for sale, as were copious types of teapots and tea sets. Some cost almost as much as my all-inclusive holiday in Canadian dollars. I stepped back, my hands tucked in close to my sides for fear of an accident and breaking up a set. Had I noticed how many pieces made up a set? No, I’d been too petrified.

Before continuing on to Yangshuo by bus, the ladies inquired about the facilities. We traipsed down a long corridor to a small clean washroom. Inside were two stalls with pedestal toilets (wow) inside cubicles with (approximately) three-foot wide shutters for privacy installed in about the middle of the door frame. Anyone might look over the top as she walked past. The one I used didn’t have a proper latch to secure them shut. I hadn’t been this good at gymnastics ever before.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Have you ever seen such a small truck with this impossible load of wood on it’s roof?

The highways were unbelievably neat and clean. No garbage, paper or plastic were in evidence anywhere the same as all the highways we’d been on so far.

Pretty countryside surrounded us along the way to Yangshuo

Quick Facts:

  • Famous for the limestone mountains
  • Grow lots of strawberries
  • Foot massage is only $20.00 USD
  • Zhuang is China’s largest ethnic minority (about 16 million) who like singing
  • Zhuang choose lovers while singing folk songs (a means of courting)
  • They hold an annual Folk Song Festival
  • National Flower: Bauhinia
  • Li River is smaller than Yangtze and shallow
  • Also home to Dragon River and four lakes
  • Lots of nurseries: grow trees for planning
  • Land is government owned (as in all of China). Must renew lease every 70 years.

The countryside viewed from the bus: newly planted fields, farm houses and water

At last we arrived at the hotel. Time to freshen up and have dinner. The hotel appeared empty and too quiet. We were settled at a table in an empty dining room. All throughout dinner we saw only the waitress.

Dinner Menu:

  • Tomato soup
  • Rice
  • Egg pancake
  • French Fries
  • Sweet and sour pork with pineapple
  • Thin noodles with shredded carrots
  • Sliced cucumbers and sliced cooked chicken
  • Cooked sliced celery and water chestnuts
  • Cauliflower, broccoli and carrots, mixed
  • Fermented tofu
  • Chili sauce
  • Soy cakes and sweet dip + soy sauce
  • Battered banana, deep-fried, with caramel

The smell from the bathroom invaded the dining-room. I couldn’t understand such a thing in a hotel of this significance. Phew. I hadn’t been aware of anything like this elsewhere. I asked Sue about it, but she hadn’t been conscious of anything unpleasant.

After dinner, we rushed to attend an open air performance. By the time we arrived in the main park dusk had fallen. At first small clusters of people walked around us with lots of breathing space between us all. By dusk the crowd swarmed like a maelstrom with a mind of its own. I hugged my bag against my chest, arms tucked in as close I could manage. Our English Group Eight clung together with Lily, our guide, ahead of us and tried desperately to keep her in sight. She stopped a couple of times and waited. What made the situation worse was the dark. There were no park lights out in the open. I felt blindfolded. Never have I experienced this tight a convergence of bodies around me. I confess terror struck me for the first time since we’d arrived in China; terror the crowd might rip me from my fellow travelers; terror of being lost and disoriented in a foreign country and in the dark.

Lily left us to buy entrance tickets and suggested we wait while the crowd thinned out before taking us to our seats. She wasn’t allowed to sit with us. We took our seats after she explained where we’d find her when the performance ended.

Our seats were good in about the third tier up. The show was like nothing I had ever seen. This video doesn’t do it enough justice. You had to be there. The Chinese sure know how to put on stunning presentations! Enjoy.

Excellent show “Impression Liu San Jie” (in Yangshuo)

Credit: Uwe Völker

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Next on February 20th, Yangshuo: Day 18, Part 1 – Li River

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


Shanghai: Day 11, Part 6 – Dinner and a Show

When we arrived at the hotel for dinner, a clamor for the small elevator ensued. We had eight bodies crammed into this inadequate space, but something wasn’t right. Someone piped up Sue was missing. The rest of us continued on the restaurant (7th floor stop), and Jackie returned to street level to find her. At the last minute, Sue had decided to change her shoes on the bus and hadn’t noticed we’d all left.


  • Scrambled eggs
  • Tomato and egg drop soup
  • Noodles (delicious, cannot guess flavour)
  • Potatoes with chicken in dark sauce
  • Sweet and sour chicken balls with red and green peppers
  • Eggplant in some kind of sauce
  • Breaded fish
  • Thin, pizza-flavoured crescent biscuits
  • Baby Bok-choy
  • Cut up orange for dessert

(Can you believe I hadn’t taken a picture. Yes, I’m surprised as well.)

Dinner finished by 5:45 p.m. but the bus wasn’t due until 7:00 to take the group to The Plaza at Shanghai Center Theater (10 minutes away) for the 7:30 Acrobatics Show. Sue and I took our time walking up and down Nanjing Road West, as well as some side streets to kill time (the opposite direction of our afternoon shopping).

We came across a shop named I Found guessing this might be a second-hand store, but didn’t enter to investigate. I don’t know if they have used clothing stores in China. Why wouldn’t they?

I can’t recall if this was some kind of educational building / center we passed. Railings surrounded it about every six feet alternated with six or eight feet of brick wall. In the railing, which looked like a gate, tiny 3-inch flower pots had been packed in tight, row on row, between the railing up, down and across. What a stunning presentation. I’ve never seen flowers grow perpendicularly.

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Bone weary and foot-swollen, too long on our feet for one day, we stumbled back to the hotel to meet the rest of our group. Already it was dark. I mentioned to Jackie, our guide, I hadn’t noticed gas stink or big city smell from the many cars on the busy road–no smell of pollution at all. “See,” he said, “you can’t believe everything you hear.” The statement sounded defensive. Hmm.

The Plaza at Shanghai Center Theater is an impressive building. Masses of buses and hordes of people surged forward well and without incident. The numbers were mind-boggling. We were one of umpteen tour groups in attendance. I asked Jackie how often the theatre had a show. Every night tourists crammed the 990-seat theater to the rafters. How many tours, I wondered, visit on an constant basis?

Images Plaza at Shanghai Theater:,+the+plaza+at+shanghai+center+theater&rlz=1C1EODB_enCA562CA564&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=WDVdVIXJHoqtyASqmIBo&ved=0CBwQsAQ

We had first balcony, first row, center seats. Fabulous. Someone asked Jackie about the cost of the tickets. Depending on the seating, between $56.00 to $116.00 Canadian per person, he said.

The 90-minute show consisted of an astounding dozen acts. Other than Cirque de Soleil, you’ll never see such fluid, seemingly effortless movement, amazing costumes and attractive performers. Among them:

  • A young lady in a giant hoola performing graceful moves inside them:
© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2014 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

  • Unicyclists
  • Jumping through hoops (See YouTube below)

  • A wordless comedy sketch
  • A grown male and a young boy, supposed, toys did awesome contortions, again fluid and dazzling. Control of movement and upper body strength were the major players. (See YouTube below)

  • Female (sea nymphs) performed underwater dances. Talk about smooth as liquid pouring into your glass
  • A mature woman wearing a top with tight lace sleeves closed the show flicking card hands all over the stage and into the audience. Her set closed when she tossed multitudes of oversized playing cards onto the stage. On and on. Where had they been hidden? How did she do that?

The Bund in the distance, as seen on the way back to the hotel:

Special note:

I’ve written we saw no pollution. Check out this blog. This lady has been living in Beijing for some time. Her story is a little different from mine. Maybe we simply lucked out and missed those bad days.

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Next on November 21: Shanghai, Day 12, Part 1 – Flight to Wuchan

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK