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Picturesque Globalisation

  |     |   China 2009   |   China, Yangshuo

This morning we began the last leg of our tour of mainland China. This involved a boat trip down the Li River to see the stunning scenery of Guilin in the Guangxi province, our whole reason for coming to this part of China. We had a 40 minute drive to the docks for our 4 hour trip. We boarded the air-conditioned boat and headed off. Guilin is noted for it’s oddly shaped mountains, and it’s traditional fishing methods. The fisherman train the local cormorant population to do their fishing for them. It seems to be a fairly good, symbiotic relationship, except for the fact the bird is at a bit of a disadvantage. The fishermen tie rope around the necks of the birds to prevent them swallowing the larger fish they catch, but allowing them to keep the small fish. The cormorants then catch fish in their usual manner, but if the fish are too big to swallow, they are dropped into the fishermans basket. Ingenious really, if a bit cruel for my liking.

The river was littered with boats the same as ours, so the chances of getting a good picture with the mountains and their reflection in the water were very slim. The scenery was stunning, and just what we had hoped for (hence the large number of pictures taken I guess). Before arriving in Yangshuo, lunch was served, just in time to miss the photo opportunity of the view depicted on the 20 yuan note, but very nice all the same.

We arrived in Yangshuo at about 1400 and we had 2 tickets booked at the river light show at 2000 so we had a few hours to kill. Yangshuo is not a big place, so we wondered around the area for a little while, checked out a couple of different eateries and ended up having an early dinner. We also discovered how efficient globalisation is… even in this small fishing town (with a huge tourist trade) McDonalds has an outlet set against a picturesque backdrop of the Guilin Mountains and an ancient pagoda. Beautiful.

After quick stroll to the river, we met up with our guide again and caught a golf cart to the river show. A full 3500 seats filled up very quickly and the show began. The entire thing was carried out on the Li River itself with what seemed that an unending supply of performers (apparently only about 650 according to our guide). This time we were able to take pictures so there are plenty available for viewing in our gallery :). Just as the show was finishing, we found out how good the Chinese are at mass mobilisation of people as the entire “theatre” was empty in less than 2 minutes! An impressive feat considering the sizes of the exits.

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