July 2014, Guilin – Yangshuo

GuilinWith regards to Guilin, the name “Yangshuo” may not ring a bell, but pictures like these certainly do, don’t they? Yangshuo is a county under Guilin, and is the location of the picturesque hills, mountains and rivers Guilin is known for.

GuilinGuilinNaturally, our very hospitable hosts arranged for us to have a raft trip through the vast scenery. To be honest, when they said “raft” in the Chinese language, I literally thought “bamboo stitched together and nothing else” kind of raft. You know, the one where you’re always in danger of tipping over? Turns out I’m more primitive than they are…

GuilinGuilinGuilinAhhh. It was so quiet, the waves were gently rippling, and a cool breeze wafted through the air. Surefire combination to make one sleepy! I certainly almost dozed off at parts of our raft ride because it was just. so. relaxing! Bliss.

GuilinGuilinGuilinSay hello to Ptr. Jim and Tita Lui, who were in the raft with me! I think one raft holds 4 people maximum, excluding the person operating the raft.

GuilinGuilinGuilinSome of you might go over this photo and say, “oh, that’s nothing”, but it’s much more stunning in person. Rows upon rows of trees (not really sure if they’re pine trees or something else?), LOTS of them. They’re almost symmetrical, in fact!

GuilinGuilinGuilinAs I mentioned earlier, part of what makes the experience really relaxing is the fact that it was so quiet. For it to be so, you have to go raft-riding not later than 9am. It’s a two-way trip, and on our way back we noticed that there were considerably more people and more rafts (and boats!), which might either block your view of certain scenery or disrupt the silence in the area.

GuilinGuilinGuilinGuilinWe stopped over at the point where we were supposed to turn around and go back, because here the locals set up a mini souvenir shop of sorts for, you know, the tourists. The main attractions included colored rocks submerged in water and cormorants. Yup, you heard me right.

GuilinGuilinWell, at least I think they are cormorants, based on the sole fact that they swim like ducks and all but also dive into the water to catch fish. Anyway, you can pay a small fee to carry a pole with cormorants on both ends, which we declined. Once you learn the fact that the locals who own them actually put something constricting on the cormorant’s throats so that they don’t swallow and eat the fish they catch, it’s pretty sad. 😦

GuilinGuilinGuilin

So this is what the typical raft looks like. Roomy space, with a pretty much unobstructed view of the scenery, and the raft operators are actually pretty quiet, not disturbing your peace until you talk to them.
GuilinGuilinGuilinGuilinAnyway, can we stop talking about rafts and cormorants, and just talk about how beautiful this place is? In the quietness of the moment, it was also a good place to reflect on how mighty God is. Only a Master Creator and Architect like him can fashion nature’s perfection like this; He has always been the ultimate “I-make-it-look-easy” designer! 🙂

GuilinOn our way back, our host took us to a place that had everything special going for it for lunch: one is their famous 啤酒鱼, literally translated as beer fish, and two is 月亮山, or the Moon Hill.

GuilinGuilinOur tourist guide specially took pains to seat us in a table where we could see the Moon Hill clearly. The beer fish was good but not really my type, but the Moon Hill fascinated me. Aside from it being a natural formation and formerly being a cave, did you know that (trivia time!), among others, a plane was flown through it once! Coolio! 😀

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P.S. For the next post!

Guilin

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