China Chronicle – Day 9 (Guilin)

      Today is our Li River Cruise. We are hoping that the weather, which was very warm and hazy yesterday, will be clearer. We have been pretty lucky so far on this trip (I hope I don’t jinx us), with only one rainy day, our last day in Beijing, when we weren’t doing much.
        A Li River Cruise is probably one of the most memorable experiences in any visit to China. The cruise begins in the city of Guilin, in south central China, and ends in Yangshuo, 96 kilometers (60 miles) to the south. The Li River is languid and shallow, but it winds its way through some of the most breathtaking and serene scenery in the world. The limestone hills rise precipitously from the river. Formed about 200 million years ago, the area is a beautiful example of the glorious effects of erosion on the landscape. Guides will describe some of the mystical legends and fairy tales which surround some of the named features along the river. The entire cruise takes about 6 hours, four of those composed of the journey downstream, then a 2 hour bus ride back to Guilin. Lunch is served on board the boat. While in Guilin, explore Seven Star Park, which contains beautiful Flower Bridge and Light of China Square, among other sights. At the southern terminus of the boat trip, explore West Street in the village of Yangshuo.
      I must have jinxed us because we had rain for most of the day, and the mist and fog obscured many views making photography difficult. However, it never rained hard and we persevered through the day. The scenery was positively breath-taking! Check out the photo album and see one of the most unusual landscapes on the planet. We also loved Yangshuo, at the end of the cruise. We finally found a place to shop that was not high-end and where haggling is expected. We had much fun finding $2 scarves and $2 t-shirts. We could easily have cut the cruise by an hour and spent the time shopping or browsing.
     When we returned to the hotel, I took a walk to Seven Star Park, mostly a place for kids but with some scenic areas as well. I particularly liked Camel Hill.
Our dinner tonight was "Western," our first "American" type food since the trip started. We thoroughly enjoyed the change; most of us have had quite enough Chinese food at this point even though it’s all been good.
     After dinner we took a walk to the Night Market, a series of red tents set up in a long line offering just about anything imaginable.
     Time for a few special hellos:
         Love and Kisses to David, Zachery & Braden from Pop-Pop and Nanny
         Love to Angela and Robert from Amelia


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