Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Guilin and Yangshuo

We visited beautiful Guilin in southern China. This is a popular tourist destination for both Chinese and foreigners. Guilin has about 600,000 people. The park in the city has been a tourist attraction for 1500 years! Below is a picture from near the center of the city. We later had tea in one of the pagodas!

The region is famous for its hotpot and it was delicious. We had chicken and rabbit in this one along with lots of veggies. Helen managed to order some horse, too, and had my try a bit before telling me what it was -- it was actually pretty good. At this point, I can't believe how much I am liking Chinese food. It is something that I never would have predicted.

We took the cruise down the Lijiang river to the smaller town of Yangshuo and we viewed the scenic karst peaks along the way that make the region famous. Karst is a distinctive topography in which the landscape is largely shaped by the dissolving action of water on carbonate bedrock (usually limestone, dolomite, or marble -- in this area it was limestone). While we were eating on our cruise boat, some of the locals commented that I had excellent chopstick skills! I have gone from hapless to effective in just a few weeks. I have used a fork only once since I entered China, and that was on an internal flight where forks were the only option ;-)

In Yangshuo we rented bikes to get a good look at the scenery surrounding the town. The bikes rent for about $1.30 per day.

There is an amazing light, dance, and music production called Impressions performed out on the water with lit karst peaks in the background. These pictures do not really capture the scale of the production, which is produced by China's most famous movie producer, Sanjie Liu. It is truly an amazing show! The show is run nightly, and I estimated that there were around 2000 people in the audience. The cost of the show is around $25 and well worth the money. There are over 600 actors and actresses in the production. The show plays out a beautiful love story that shows the courting process of the minority people of the Guangxi region where Guilin and Yangshuo are located. You can see the mountains lit up in the background in the first picture.

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