Down the river with a two-dollar, ninety cent view…

I know, I know! The title really should read: “Up the river…” so as to be consonant with the proverbial saying but, “Curses, [my clever title was] foiled again!” due to the reality that Yangshuo is south of Guilin. Oh well, on with the story… We got up very early on Monday morning, October 30 to catch a ride to a boat for the five hour, 50 mile journey down the River Li from Guilin to the town of Yangshuo for our three-day stay. The town of Yangshuo is popular with tourists for hiking and cycling- we opted for the latter, not without incident, I might add.

The boat was a very roomy, three-deck ferry with the entire top deck as a viewing platform. You can see from the photos that we were seated very comfortably inside the cabin. Although all of the announcements over the PA were in Mandarin, an English-speaking woman would come by to tell us why we might be interested in going up top to see and take pictures at specific locations. Being fairly lazy, it was just as easy to take pictures though the large windows we were seated next to. A filling box lunch of- wait for it- Chinese food, was provided in a timely manner.

As you can see, the karst formations on all sides of the boat were extensive and visually arresting. What you see posted is only a fraction of the photos I took although it isn’t a case of “when you’ve seen one karst, you’ve seen them all.” They really do create an otherworldly landscape. Seeing them, you know you’re not in America or any other place you’ve been before.

The “money-shot” that everyone on board clamors for is the scene that is etched on the back of the 20 RMB (Yuan) Note (see photos). As scenic as it is, it’s just one of the many gorgeous panoramas on display throughout the journey. I suppose it’s fair to say they had to use one of them, so why not “that one”? In case you haven’t figured out the title of this posting, $2.90 is the exchange rate for 20 RMB. I love, oh so clever titles even when not consonant.

Still, one gets photo-fatigue after a few hours and as they offered Wifi, it was easy to get distracted with more pedestrian pursuits such as reading about the expected blow-out the next week of the very bloated, very orange orangutan from Queens, running for office back in America. Hardy, har-har!

Yet again, I digress. After the five-hour journey, we docked at Yangshou and boy, did we have to lug our suitcases a long distance from the mooring to where we were greeted by our connection to the hotel who was on a motorbike and unable to clearly communicate what would happen next. We simply found ourselves dragging our suitcases for an additional considerable distance following him on his bike we came to a street where he suddenly disappeared leaving us to wonder what would happen next. Fortunately, we only waited a few minutes before he arrived in a van, which left us wondering: why didn’t he meet us with this van rather than the motorbike thus obviating the need to lug our luggage all that distance (I am not wont to travel light.) And no, it wasn’t as if two-axle vehicles were prohibited anywhere that we could see. We never did bother to check about this rather strange “greeting.”

We drove for about thirty minutes out of town up a very hilly road to our destination; The Mountain Nest, for three-days of serious relaxation not taking into account a few painful bicycle spills (spoiler alert: It wasn’t me.)

The back of the 20 RMB Note...

The back of the 20 RMB Note…

File photo of the scene on the back of the 20 RMB. This also shows you just how hazy it was the day we were there, as seen below.

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The 20 RMB note as seen from our boat.

Sophie explains it all...

Sophie explains it all…

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This woman found Sophie quite fascinating and had her pose with her for a variety of pictures.

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Next stop: The Mountain Nest, Yangshuo

Next stop: The Mountain Nest, Yangshuo

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