Sunday, December 28, 2008
THE LI RIVER
The Li River is famous. Go into any Chinese restaurant in America and you will see a painting where a lonely little river runs through pointy rock formations. It's right beside the fish tank and the little red lanterns for sale. That's the Li River. Kidding aside, this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It's outer worldly. I have difficulty using words to describe it. You have to have a better camera than mine to properly showcase it. Simply breath taking.
We rode on the bus to Yangdi with our trusted Chinese guide Feng Ping. She was quite adept at English and we were helped into buses, boats, etc. without worrying that we were taking the wrong road, wrong river, etc. The river itself was calm but had a lot of activity. Big tourist boats from Guilin plied the waters, accompanied by smaller fishing boats. Our small craft was illegal on the waters being that only the large "ships" out of Guilin are allowed to carry tourists - the government collects large tax dollars from these businesses and not from the local fisherman. We had to stop at a stone beach partway in order to wait for the authorities to leave a section of the river before we moved on. Follow the money. Even in China!!
These "karst" or limestone peaks sometimes go directly up three hundred meters. They are partially covered in vegetation and their stone faces "peak" through. They don't just follow the water but go for many kilometers in all directions. The scenery is noted to be especially beautiful on the river from Yangdi to Xingping, our drop off point. One pretty view is so nice it's on the back of China's 20 yuan note.
Now when I eat my Kung Pao Chicken at Happy Garden (or any other Chinese restaurant) and glance at the paintings, I can think about the great afternoon we spent on the Li River.