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Yangshuo in 2 great days

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Visiting Yangshuo

Small and calm city, western food, marvellous landscape, Yangshuo was the rural touch in a trip concentrated in big towns.

 Though carefully carried from beautiful urban development to the also beautiful rural display, we could have a side view of real rural life. 

It looks as hard as expected. China grows at two different speeds, and there are millions far behind the splendors of the progressive big cities.

​Li river banks

Visiting Yangshuo
Visiting Yangshuo

The cruise in Li river from Guilin to Yangshuo has three steps:

1 – The excitement of the beautiful landscape “passing” by your boat, in a succession of odd rock formations and life coming to the river.

2 – The boring section, when things get repetitive, and beauty seems to fade, with empty or abandoned banks.

3 – The final approach to Yangshuo, where beauty comes back, with typical construction mixing with the green, and life returning to the river.

​City Stroll

Yangshuo
Visiting Yangshuo

Visiting Yangshuo shows that it is not a big city (by Chinese standards) and, despite being surrounded by steep peaks, it’s easy to walk around, or to rent a bike. 

Some nice spots in the rural area close to the city do deserve a look.

​The lake (?)

Yangshuo
Visiting Yangshuo – Lake

I didn’t find out if we were in a hotel by a public lake, or if the lake was part of the hotel.

​Anyway, the integration was perfect, composing one of the prettiest spots of the city.

​West Street

Yangshuo
Yangshuo

Each square centimeter seems disputed by shops, restaurants, and street vendors in West street. 

The name was given by the cafes and restaurants selling western food, but everything is quite Chinese, even those “western” establishments. 

Western food is just a detail, in a street market that sells everything from early in the morning until late in the night.

​Postcard views

Yangshuo

Around Yangshuo we saw the best views of China, with the sun helping to compose “postcard pictures”. Each angle, each detail seemed to be the most beautiful… until the next one…

Visiting Yangshuo it is very important to go out of town!

​Traditional House

Yangshuo
Yangshuo

Though clearly performing for tourists, the “actors” really look like natural people, and those who surrounded us trying to sell something were real people. 
Not pushy, real friendly and gentle people, providing a contrasting look to the powerful, rich, and modern China that we felt around us all the time.

​Cormorant Fishing

Yangshuo

Don’t miss it. At 7.30 PM a boat (50 RMB per person) leaves to the river, with a man paddling at its side. Under a strong light, a few cormorants swim and dive, catching the fish attracted by the light. 

They have a ribbon tied in the neck that allows them to swallow only the very small fish. From time to time, the sailor grabs them, and empties their necks into a basket. But, at the end, one of the birds still had three fishes in the throat! 

What a show.

NOTE: You will be in a cloud of mosquitoes, so, be prepared, and use repellent in your exposed areas.

​​Long Sleeves

Yangshuo

In several places we noticed that some people use long special sleeves to drive. 

I never saw it anywhere else, and don’t know the idea (protecting from the sun, as Sirgaw suggests? Maybe!). 

Even the electric car that took us from the hotel in Yangshuo to the farming area, was driven by a lady wearing… long sleeves. 

Curious!

Real Life

Yangshuo by solopes
Yangshuo by solopes

Though carefully carried from beautiful urban development to the also beautiful rural display, we could have a side view of real rural life.

It looks as hard as expected. China grows at two different speeds, and there are millions far behind the splendours of the progressive big cities.

Visiting Yangshuo helped a lot to understand China.

​Rice harvesting

Captain John's

The landscape is fabulous, but locals have no time to enjoy it: agriculture is a very hard life, and the use of ancient techniques turn it harder. 

Rice is the main product, and buffaloes the great help, but men and women have to struggle!

Positive impression Eating in Yangshuo – West Street

506 yangshuo n 175
506 yangshuo n 175

After some days in China, the chance to eat western food in Yangshuo was well accepted by all the members of our group.

We went to West street where, it seems, most places sell western food and drinks. 

We were in a hurry to go see the cormorants fishing and ate… something like western food, with western drinks. 

I don’t remember the place nor the food, which means that, not being a memorable dinner, it filled my expectations, but the choice in west street is really big.

It's there Local restaurants

Eating in Yangshuo
Yangshuo

I do remember the place (not the name) of the stall serving local people in that the police tryed to keep away from tourists

A brief look confirmed that the views are fabulous, but life was hard, around tourist facilities.

I recommend Paradesa Resort: The best… maybe

Paradesa
Paradesa

Our agency announced this hotel as… the best in Yangshuo. I cannot confirm, because I didn’t check the other, but I admit they are right. The location is perfect, and everything is quiet, clean, comfortable and… pleasant. 

I only don’t know how much did we pay for it.

I read that it was closed. What a pity!

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506a yangshuo o 398

Model for photo

When leaving the boats in Yangshuo, tourists are attracted by the presence of a man, with two cormorants, waiting to get photographed. If he gets it, he will ask you for money.

It’s a ridiculous amount, so you better assume that you will pay him, don’t do it from distance (as we saw someone doing) and compose your picture as you like.

​Mosquitoes

Yangshuo warnings

We were alerted to the danger of mosquitoes in China, specially in the night trip to see cormorants fishing.

Well, we had some mosquitoes, but we were not seriously bothered by them, maybe because, in this trip, following suggestions, we used too much repellent. But they were there, yes they were!

Clouds of them, by the lights!

​Road security

Glass capital

Security in China seems not to match western standards everywhere: In a river, a bridge less than two meters wide has no lateral protection.

I saw no car crossing it, but motorbikes and walking people shared the narrow space, obliging to additional precautions.

“Typical house”

Yangshuo by solopes
Yangshuo by solopes

We were supposed to visit a typical house of a rural family near Yangshuo.

We did! But the house was… a performance of the communist party. A couple of gentle functionaries demonstrating the use of the displayed stuff under the dominant look of… Mao.

Well… it really gave us an idea, it was free, and we were only gently invited to buy something, not forced.

Wine

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532 yangshuo o 410

The pretext to visit the fabulous bank of the river was… an invitation to have a glass of local wine.

Great. 

A fabulous convivial moment, in a marvelous site, and the wine… was it important?

No! But, to be fair, I must say that it was almost a decent red wine, with nothing in common with the “poison” that I drunk in a Chinese restaurant in New York, for the price of a small diamond.

​Not Yet

Memories of Yangshuo

Once more, I’ve been in Asia without tasting… Durian. 

Forbidden in the hotels, in Thailand, I saw it in the streets of Yangshuo, but I decided not to try it, before testing… the smell. And that, once again, didn’t happen.

Curiosity made me search in internet the explanation for that menacing smell, and found a curious article.

If you are as curious as me just follow the link

Yangshuo

​Conflits

Yangshuo

At first look China seems to be calm and peaceful, everywhere we see organization and progress, while the guides congratulate the government, that “started to fight hunger, and now is opening to free initiatives”. 

Is it really true?
It’s impossible to hide the tensions growing between the progressive sectors of the population, and the poor rural areas. The strong regime disguises it, but… how long?

In Yangshuo we faced the hidden China.

In a natural paradise, hundreds of policemen were… controlling the population. It was difficult to get an explanation, but we got it:

The inhabitants wanted to take profit of tourism, renting their rafts to tourists, selling food, drinks and crafts, as in any place where tourism is an opportunity. But not there.

It seems that the government has plans to explore the site, so, the locals must stay out of it. 

The faces revealed the rebellion, and the proportion of forces (3 or 4 policemen for each civilian) showed that they where not easing things. 

We were not disturbed, but the pleasure of the best sights in China was “stained” by the tension around us.

​Women

Cancun bus

I couldn’t have a clear idea of the women’s role in chinese society, but we saw something significant.

In urban places they seem to share all the positions and tasks with men, while in rural areas…

These memories of Yangshuo match my previous idea of China.

Cormorants

Cormorants
Yangshuo by solopes

Cormorants play a very important role in Li river, catching fish. With a ring around their neck, they dive and catch the fish, but can’t swallow it, so after a couple of dives, the owner, picks them and collects the small fishes, and ends retiring the ring and allowing the animals to eat some of the fishes.

Night catch

Night in Yangshuo
Yangshuo by solopes

It’s an experience to all the family, by the beginning of the night in Yangshuo, the small trip in a motor boat, flanked by a raft with cormorants at work.

Of course this small trip is performed for tourists, with the possible comfort and security in the boat, but it is something you shouldn’t miss.

It is possible to book it in the streets of Yangshuo, and don’t forget the protection from mosquitoes.

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