Trekking Through China…Yangshuo

Okay, I admit that I didn’t do one iota of research before heading to China. Oh, I diligently went through the guide book and flagged every stop listed on our itinerary – but I never actually read even one word. I did check the temperature range so that I’d know what best to pack. And I did check to see if my yellow raincoat would contravene any hidden colour superstitions (I had forgotten that white is the colour to avoid in certain circumstances – white is the official colour of death). But beyond those two little tidbits, both to do with what clothes to pack, I wasn’t really interested in reading up on too much else. I wanted to just let it all unfold, one day at a time.

Driving through the Karst mountains, between Guilin and Yangshuo

So, many of the places on our itinerary were complete mysteries, names I had never heard of before. Yangshuo was one such name. There wasn’t even much of a write-up about it in our guide book (I checked when we got home). So when we got off the plane at Guilin and started the long drive to Yangshuo, I was completely surprised by the exquisite beauty that engulfed us all along the highway. There is no way that my pictures will do the scenery justice. For one thing, we were on the bus all this time, and it was difficult to take decent pictures from the moving bus. But even when we did stop for a few brief moments, it was impossible to capture the breathtaking beauty that surrounded us.

The beautiful Karst mountains of Guilin. We were surrounded on all sides by these, everywhere we looked.

The unique Karst mountains that stretched all the way from Guilin to Yangshuo provided an unforgettable backdrop for our journey that morning. Lush green foliage, including the graceful, sweet-smelling osmanthus trees lined the highway. Really, it was a feast for the eyes and soul. Our bus driver did stop mid-way to allow us to get out and take some photographs, but it still wasn’t easy to take pictures that could adequately capture the exquisite beauty all around us.

At the tea plantation, wearing the obligatory tea-plucking hat

Eventually we reached Yangshuo, where our first stop was at a tea plantation. We all donned the obligatory tea-plucking hats, and browsed through the tea leaves, before being treated to an elaborate tea ceremony inside the plantation’s tea house. It was an enjoyable taste-testing adventure…which then led us straight into the shop…this one was way beyond my budget, so some of us ended up back outside enjoying the sweet smell of those Osmanthus trees all around us.

An elaborate tea ceremony at the tea plantation in Yangshuo (Guilin)

I found this picture of an Osmanthus tree online. Click here to find out more about these trees.

At “Impression Sanjie Liu”, they appear to be walking on water (that’s the Li River that they’re walking across!) Yangshuo

At the Impression Sanjie Liu, we didn’t understand any of what was going on, but the colours and pageantry were spectacular!

“On the water, many fishermen are rowing their bamboo rafts in a column. Either standing or squatting, they hang the large red silk in the sky and or upon the water. This red picture symbolizes the enthusiasm and praises the labors of the local people.” (excerpt from here)

Although we were exhausted by all of the day’s traveling, we were curious  about the evening’s outing to watch the Impression Sanjie Liu performance. Again, there aren’t enough words or photographs to adequately convey the artistry and beauty that we witnessed there that night. The show is staged on what may well be the world’s largest natural theater, performed almost entirely right on a 2-km stretch of the waters of the Li River, surrounded by dozens of subtly back-lit, mist-enshrouded Karst hills as the backdrop (see here for a detailed explanation of the setting and show itself.)

The colours, music, costumes and grandeur of the natural setting kept us mesmerized us for the evening. The show was spectacular and unforgettable…well-worth staying awake for, lol!

Here are a few more of the pictures I was able to take of the scenery en-route, the tea plantation and the Impression Sanjie Liu show.

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Hubby looks better in his tea-plucking hat than I do!

The tea plantation in Yangshuo

More of the Karst mountains, from the bus en route from Guilin to Yangshuo

Another blur from the bus…

Impression Sanjie Liu…hundreds of performers stage this amazing spectacle!

Fire on water, from the Impression Sanjie Liu in Yangshuo

(In my next blog, we’ll go for another cruise, this time along the Li River here in Yangshuo.)

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Copyright © Sharon C. Matthies, Meanderings (blog), 2012. All rights reserved.

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About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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