Holiday – China (Day 12): Lazy Day on the Li

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This is the Post I should have written on Friday (the 18th), but it was such a full-on day, I ran out of time! ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

A super-early breakfast at 7am today and we’re thankfully, checking-out of this very disappointing Sheraton. A tired hotel, desparately in need of a makeover with a complete lack of organisation (and essentials) at breakfast (and that was just the start of it!). Don’t get me started on the lack of hot water, crappy internet and electrical sockets not working ๐Ÿ˜ 

On a positive note, we’re heading for a chilled four-hour river cruise on the ‘Li’ – and we’re not returning, as we’re heading for our next bed-for-the-night in Yangshuo – The Thai-owned, Amari Hotel. And as an extra bonus – No pagodas today! ๐Ÿ˜

Mr Choa and Jeremy took us on the 55 minute drive to where we were to pick up our boat at Mopan Hill Wharf.

Ready to board!

Being a typical Chinese enterprise, this was all done on a massive scale. Apparently, there’s over 100 boats like ours leaving twice a day – 9am and 9.30am.

Rations for the journey!

Our boat was busy – pretty much full, and I guess the other boats were the same. Kerrching! – Communism at work!! ๐Ÿ˜€

I think it’s what’s known as a ‘flotilla’

..and there were plenty of them – at least half-a-dozen in front of us…and three behind!

The views of the surrounding countryside were certainly amazing, an hour-and-a-half in (still two-and-a-half hours to go), it did, for me, start to get a bit boring!

Hill… trees… hills.. trees… caves… oxen… hills… trees… caves… oxen (you get the idea!)

Do you know, I was starting to miss the familiar pagodas! ๐Ÿ˜

Ok, the one below is clever…

..and this one is on their currency…

Click for larger version

Just before 2pm, our journey was complete. We, together with the 10000 other travellers, disembarked and headed into the sleepy town of Yangshuo.

Jeremy had helpfully warned us about the various tourist traps ahead including the man with two cormorants, strategically placed on the jetty! Instead, we were adviised to walk on a bit further until we came across another man with another pair of cormorants, who was a bit more friendly and more flexible with how many photos we took.

..and there he was! Over 80 years of age, just him, his two birds and his boat charging a paltry ยฅ10 (about ยฃ1) for unlimited shots of him and his two co-workers; us and his birds; just him; just his birds – or any combination you like! He’d even mastered a few Western phrases such as: “Good shot!”, “Best one!”, “Just one more!”

What a nice guy!!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Just before 2.30pm, we arrived at our Hotel for tonight. It was very modern inside and we were given a very warm welcome. We took just half-an-hour to get unpacked before Jeremy took us on our afternoon tour in the country.

The above shows some typical farmer’s land.

Jeremy explained that with Yangshuo growing at such a rate, the ‘countryside’ had all but disappeared. So, this would be a rare treat to see a local farm and ‘country people’.

Well, it certainly felt like we were ‘in the country’ – a much slower pace of life and eerily quiet too!

With our introduction to country-life (Chinese-style) complete, we headed back to the Hotel for a quick bite before heaidng out to an extra item on our itinerary! ๐Ÿ˜€

Jeremy had arranged to get us tickets for the evening performance of a local ‘Sound and Light Show’. It was produced by Zhang Yimou who also put together Beijing’s 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

As we headed for the extended walk to our seats, it became obvious this was another Chinese ‘let’s do this on an epic scale’ venture!

  • A cast of thousands (really!)
  • Everything was performed in the river
  • They lit up the surrounding mountains
  • Many of those taking part were NOT actors, but local Farmers
  • Typically over 3000 people attend EACH NIGHT

Jeremy attempted to explain the plot – it went something like this…

A young girl dreams of her future…

…and then it all got a bit ‘lost in translation’! Anyway, I’m sure it would all make sense once the show started…

…errr! It didn’t! But whatever story had been told, it HAD, based on the applause, wowed the crowd, AND involved an Ox and calf, large groups of children screeching singing (arranged in height order, obviously!), lots of floodlights and the obligatory cormorants!

Whatever had just happened, we had no idea what, but you couldn’t fault the choreography, lighting and music. An event we won’t forget in a hurry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

As we left just after 9pm, the city had come to life. The roads were grid-locked and Jeremy had misplaced our Driver! What fun! (NOT!) ๐Ÿค”. Eventually, we spotted our transport parked on the wrong side of the road face-to-face with a large coach attempting to squeeze its width through a space half the required size!

Welcome to China and its roads! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Eventually, we climbed aboard and headed back to the Hotel. Given our early start tomorrow, we decided to clear our Bill, but it was another ‘lost in translation moment’ and things took far longer than we planned.

All we need now was a good night’s sleep in preparation for our 3am reveillรฉ tomorrow. Did we? See tomorrow’s Post!!! ๐Ÿ™„