Tag Archives: Boat

Guangxi Province – Bicycling

guangxi_bicyclingToday was the reason why we were even here on vacation. It’s QingMing or better known as Tomb Sweeping Holiday to the English speaking world. It’s a time to remember ancestors and pay homage to them by burning offerings of material items, such as cars, houses, servants, etc.-all are miniture paper items, cleaning their gravesite by removing foliage and burning incense, light fireworks to scare the evil away and offering of food and eating it at the site. It’s a happy occasion. On this day, we past many people celebrating with their departed. It was a neat experience. It was sad to see the few sites here and there that did not get any love for the day. We suppose either all have passed or more than likely those still alive have moved away to the cities for work.

Yesterday, in the Yulong River Valley, wasn’t enough for us. We had to find another way to spend more time there. The morning time we took it easy and played a couple of hours of badminton. We had brought our sets with us. Sissy joined us and we had a great time. Sissy and I did our most to best Mike. It was so fun.  After lunch, Zachary and Nathan were convinced they would do well on a tether bike – two seater. So we borrowed one of the renters and they practiced a bit on the road way. It took them about five tries to get it figured out. They are not as easy as they look. Zachary had to be the driver and Nathan the backseat driver to make it work. After that, they convinced us to go for another ride toward the Yulong River. Zachary and Nathan on a two-seater and the rest of us on our own. Mike remembered there was a way across the Yulong River that connected with a road on the other side. The route would be a big loop; taking us from our hotel, along the river, across the river, through a few valleys, into Longtan, back to the main road and to the hotel. Not knowing for sure how to do it, made it our priority to figure out. Here is some video of the craziness on the roadway that was along the Yulong River…

We bike far enough up the river, we ended up at the place we had started rafting from yesterday. Mike did a bit of mapping and determined we missed our crossing a bit down the road. So we retraced some of our trip to a so called bridge… ya right… whatever, Mike! We took our bike halfway across the river on this little concrete ledge and realized the water was too deep for us to cross by ourselves. Mike was so determined to get across he just stood there scanning the horizon for potential routes. Soon a gal on the otherside waved at us and pointed to her raft. Mike motioned yes and that was all it took. This lady took a pathetic bamboo raft from her side and in two trips got us and our bikes on the otherside. What a riot! The raft was three quarters underwater with all the weight and it was not sturdy at all. I was nervous to say the least. It is not like I have the best balance in the world. But the kids and Mike were all for it. Lots of fun.

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Guangxi Province – Yulong River Bamboo Raft

guangxi_fonglouA much more sedate view of the scenery can be found enjoying a two-person, plus driver, slender bamboo raft down the Yulong River, a tributary of the Li River. We all just loved the rafting. It was different than what we did on the Li River. The Li raft was made of plastic, could seat up to five and was driven by a motor in a large river valley. Whereas, the Yulong River meanders, the rafts are made of actual bamboo, the driver uses a bamboo pole to steer and drive the raft and the valley is much narrower with the mountains right next to the river.

The Li River was exciting and the Yulong was relaxing and an enriching experience. It would be hard to pick only one. We are very thankful we did both. In fear of falling in the water, which I am classic at, I did not hold my camera. Mike took all the shots on the raft with his cell phone. Briana and I were on one raft and the boys on the other. Briana and I got to put our feet in the water. Since the day was a hot one, the water was very enjoyable.

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Guangxi Province – Li River

guangxi_li-riverThe weather here in Guangxi Province has been spectacular: Warm and in the 70s to low 80s the entire time. Even if there was rain, no umbrella was necessary because the rain was so warm and evaporated rapidly from our skin. We great underestimated how nice the weather was going to be and pack too heavy of clothes for most days. A late-afternoon shower was mandatory after our adventures due to all the massive amount of sweat we accumulated. I loved the heat and did not complain a bit. I just did not like the large moisture droplets constantly running down my back. But at least our long sleeves helped protect our bodies from having too much sun. Even though, our faces got a bit too much.

Today was a day I have dreamed about since we first decided to travel to China and we had watched all the documentaries we could on China: Floating down the Li River. There were a few trips offered: One was to take a boat to the town of Fuli, we shop for as long as we wanted and take the bus back to Yangshuo. The other was to have the boat take us to Fuli, stop for an half an hour and return via the same boat to Yangshuo. The last trip was to rent bicycles, have them put on the raft, stop at Fuli for an half an hour, continue down river to a village call LiuGong and then bicycle back to Fonglou. Of course, we chose the longest and most adventurous route possible. So Luna arranged to have our rented bicycles driven via a Tuk Tuk, three wheeled motorcycle, to the Li River in Yangshuo and a taxi driver took us. The boat was a big, blue plastic raft with a weed-whacker as an engine. It was such a blast!

Nathan, Zachary and I sat in the front with the bikes and Briana and Mike sat right behind us. It took about 45 minutes to get to the town of Fuli. Fuli is an ancient town known for it painted fans. As you can see in the photos below, I found a keeper. The lady who sold it to me said it was painted by her 80 year old grandfather. I also purchased a painting of the Li River, which was done by her father. Both are amazing pieces. I was so thrilled with them. (My living room is going to become a China art display by the time I get home between art I have purchased and my photos.)

A half an hour went by fast. Our boat driver found us and we returned to the boat and continued down the river for over an hour to the village of LiuGong. (The only challenge on the boat was making sure none of the water got in your mouth. Unfortunately, Nathan and Briana got a mouthful each and on the bike ride paid for it. Thankfully, we did carry lots of toilet paper and Pepto Bismol tablets. They were miserable.)

We did not expect to find much in LiuGong, so we weren’t shocked when we got there. Our driver did say the so-called restaurant at the dock was good, so we had a bite to eat before we headed out on the bikes. Lunch was good. But the conditions were deplorable. The water buffalo at the docking area was the one that charged Mike. He tried to touch it and it charged him. Thank goodness Mike is quick. Beside Nathan and Briana’s queasy tummies, the bike ride was so worth it! They even had a great time, despite it all. The countryside was jaw-droppingly beautiful and the people we passed along the way were so friendly…

Here are photos of the day

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Guangxi Province – Cormorant Fishing

On this evening, we headed back to Yangshuo to experience Cormorant Fishing on the Li River. Cormorant fishing is an old-time method of fishing in many parts of China. It’s particularly associated with the west and especially with Guangxi Province. The birds are excellent hunters and the fishermen use them to their advantage. Their necks are constricted with rope so they can’t swallow any fish and each time they catch a fish, they return to the boat for the fisherman to collect. About every seventh fish caught, the birds are awarded one fish to eat. The birds are prized possessions and fishermen select the eggs before hatching and they nurture, rear and train them – a process that takes years.

We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into as we came into the city. All we knew was it just was not measuring up: Fishing and it’s getting dark. How do you see birds fish at night? One thing we have learned traveling in a country where our language is not #1, is to stay calm and wait; as it always works out. It may not be exactly as we thought it would work out to be, but that adds to the adventure and typically we find the end result turns out better than hoped. With this, the driver just took us into town dropped us off at some hotel front and gave us a hand signal that said, “Wait.” Then he left.

We were across the street from the Li River, so we figured it had to be okay. After about 15 minutes a young gal and her young son, about age 3, came around the corner and signaled for us to follow. No English, but we figured why not. She led us down to the dock and directed us to get on a raft/boat had five rows of four person benches. We managed to have all of us on one.

Thinking I was so smart, I put us all in the back… Ha! Not so smart on my part. In little time, I was getting razzed by the family because I put us right over the diesel engine. A very loud diesel engine… Thank goodness for always carrying toilet paper. We quickly made ear plugs. (It helped drown out the razzing too. 🙂 ) Now it was dark and we were wondering how can we see anything? But in little time, up the river, a fisherman came out from the shallows on his raft with his cormorants leading the way. With a light on the end of his raft, the birds began fishing…

To our surprise after following him for 15 minutes or so, we pulled over in the shallows, got off our boat and we all had the opportunity to hold a bird and have it immortalized in a photo. We all agree this was a pretty darn cool thing to do, as you can see from our newly, sunburned faces as we held the birds.

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