another fine buffet breakfast in Shanghai, we headed to the
airport, where we boarded a Shanghai Airlines jet to Guilin. After
our flight to Guilin, we checked into the Guilin Plaza Hotel
Because the airline served a substantial meal that included soft
drinks and beer (yes, it was all free), dinner that evening was
canceled. But some of us decided to hit the hotel cafe for a drink
or two and a sandwich or salad before bedtime. Forgetting about
the warning not to drink tap water, some people ordered ice in
their drinks. They paid the price the next few days,
unfortunately. So, if you plan to go to China or to return to
China, please avoid all tap water and ice. You will thank
yourself. And now on to our cruise down the Li River.
Guilin to Yangshuo
The next morning we headed out to the Li River where we boarded a
for a several
hour cruise through the most beautiful country in China. To our
delight, we ended up cruising with our German tourist friends whom
we’d met and chatted with in Shanghai. Together we enjoyed a
pleasant trip down the river and a fine lunch served on the boat.
aboard didn’t seem to be the most sanitary, but the food was good.
I wish I could say nobody got sick, but that wasn’t the case. But
in those instances, the cause stemmed from the water rather than
the food. Lucky for us the toilets
aboard were clean, even
though they were Chinese toilets with a hole in the ground. I will
spare you the details of how one has to use them, but I’m sure you
can figure it out. It didn’t take us long to get used to them, and
actually they are more effective than sitting on the throne, so to
As we floated along, we saw intriguing rock formations on the
cliffs. At one point, a spectacular crag resembled a snake
. We also
passed some small fishing
Toward the end of the cruise, we stopped and boarded several small
rowed up a tributary of the river. In the past, the rowers
clothes to impress the eligible women with their prowess and
physique. However, that has changed, much to our disappointment.
Although some people native to the area had planned a performance
on the river, the show was canceled, because a day or two earlier
a downpour of rain had flooded the the river basin, making the
river too deep. Unfortunately, the downpour had killed two people
in a nearby village.
Spelunking the Reed Flute
We finished the cruise at Yangshuo, where we checked into the New Century
for the night. After checking in, we had time to
explore the thriving town of Yangshuo. While hiking about, some of
us uncovered a cave with an imposing Buddha
guarding the entrance.
The next morning, Sheila arranged for a tour to make up for the
show that we missed the previous night. As it turned out, we had
plenty of time to tour the Reed
before our bus ride to the airport. The well-lit
cave required us to walk slowly and be careful going up and down
irregular stairs as we gawked at the beautiful formations
of the stalactites
. Our guide warned us to watch our step
because the stairs and walkway were wet and slippery in spots. She
advised us to stop when taking pictures. No sooner did she warn
us, when someone in the group head of us was taking pictures as he
walked and fell flat on the cave floor.
Aside from the various colors and the vaulted ceiling (nature's
cathedral), the guide pointed out formations that looked familiar,
such as one reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty -- here in China,
of all things. Noting how the Chinese like to see animate objects
in rock formations, we started joking about seeing other objects
on the rest of the trip.
When we finished with the cave, we piled back onto our bus and off
we drove to the airport where we boarded our China Southern
Airlines flight to Wuhan. Although the food wasn’t as substantial
on this flight, at least we got something.