China - 2008

Li River

Guilin

September 30 - October 1, 2008

On Tuesday, September 30th, we had no sight-seeing planned and spent the whole morning enjoying our beautiful hotel room in Shanghai.  We left the hotel about 1:30 pm and had dim sum for lunch in a local restaurant.  Like yesterday, we had some new dishes and this restaurant was especially good.  As usual watermelon was one of the desserts.  After lunch we were bused to the airport to take our two hour flight to Guilin; everything was on time.  We arrived at the Guilin Sheraton hotel a little after 9:00 pm and had a late dinner.  Two pagoda towers were a short walk away, so we went to take pictures.  There were large crowds everywhere, as many Chinese are on holiday.  Guilin is a lovely small city with only 600,000 people, many of them retired, as the climate is similar to Florida.  It is only about 250 miles from Vietnam.  Our local guide Julie gave us some information on our ride from the airport to the hotel.  She explained that many minorities (mixed Chinese) live in this province and they are given special privileges.  One is that they may have 1 1/2 children instead of just one as in the rest of China.  Here’s how it works: if your first child is a boy, you can’t have more, but if your first child is a girl you may have a second.  Thus, the average family = 1.5 children.  On Wednesday morning, October 1st, we had a 40 minute bus ride to the Zhujiang Wharf where we boarded a river boat for a cruise down the Li River.  The river was filled with large tourist boats, small pontoon type boats and many other small craft.  Two men lashed a small raft to the side of our boat and were trying to sell souvenirs to the people standing on the open upper decks.  A tour guide on the boat told us about cormorants on the river being used for fishing.  Feathers are removed so they can’t fly and the neck is tied so the bird can’t swallow a big fish.  The birds are trained and used for a few years before being retired.  It sounds very cruel and even in retirement the cormorants earn money for their owners by posing for pictures with tourists.  We cruised for about 3 1/2 hours and had views of mountains made of limestone all along the way.  It was a most enjoyable cruise with incredible scenery.

Guilin - pagoda towers

Li River

Li River

Li River - preparing lunch on another boat

Li River

Li River

Li River

Li River - water buffalo

Li River

Li River

Li River - retired cormorants

Yangshuo

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