Just Can't Get Enough of Yangshuo!

Trip Start Jun 24, 2010
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Trip End May 18, 2011


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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

If there's one place from all the places we've visited in the last week that we’d like to go back to and explore some more, it would probably be Yangshuo! This little jewel in the southern reaches of China about 1 hours from Guilin has so much beauty and natural character that it’s nigh on to impossible to capture it all in just a few days. But the stuff we did do and the places we did see have such incredible stories behind them that it would be just flat-out mean to subject y’all to the verbosity I’d probably serve up in my explanation of it all!  So lucky you, we’re gonna give you a slide show of the highlights of the past few days with just a minimum of written recap.  Hope the photos do it justice, cuz this place is definitely one of our favorites!

Reed Flute Cave

This amazingly cool under-mountain cavern is full of phenomenal formations of stalactites and stalagmites, massive cavern rooms and underground waterways, all with spectacular lighting and even a subterranean laser light show. 




















Li River Boat Trip


With spectacular weather and even better scenery we spent one entire morning on a boat cruising the Li River.  This was one of the most peaceful and relaxing excursions we’ve had in a long time, drifting down this most gorgeous waterway that was utterly calm and quiet except for the occasional passing of local bamboo rafts hand-propelled by their owners who are either going to or coming from the markets with their daily offerings. And all of this was contained in front of the most photogenic backdrops of beautiful karsts, those ruggedly steep but handsome peaks jutting out so gracefully from the earth’s blanket, and whose reflection in the perfectly still waters was breathtakingly magnificent!
   
 



Cooking School


OK, you’re just gonna have to wait for the full-version explanation of this great side adventure until we get back home – I could get VERY carried away with this story!  And besides, Carrie and Lisha are quite jealous they couldn't participate because Lisha was feeling under the weather and needed some down time back at the hotel, so Benjamin and I were charged with filling the bill.  But suffice it to say, this half-day affair began with a guided tour through the local Wet Market where we learned about the quality of and how to pick out typical fresh Chinese fruits, vegetables and meats. 

Then we headed out into the deep countryside to an old rustic villa whose covered outdoor cooking pavilion became our personal kitchen for the rest of our hands-on Chinese cooking class!  Our teacher Hanna taught us about the utilization and nuances of the various utensils, cooking vessels, spices, oils, and foods we’d be working with.  So with our cooking aprons on we followed her lead, culminating in our preparation and creation of five authentic and incredibly yummy Chinese dishes: 

        Steamed Chicken with Mushrooms, Dates & Wolfberries
        Egg-Wrapped Dumplings with Minced Pork and Garlic
        Stir-Fried Pork with Vegetables and Oyster Sauce
        Eggplant Yangshuo Style
        Baby Bok Choy with Garlic

But that’s not all, because you certainly can’t cook without eating!  So the fruits of our culinary efforts were pleasantly realized when we all sat at the blue and white cloth-covered table under the canopy of trees and proceeded to partake of our incredible array of freshly prepared culinary concoctions that quite frankly rivaled anything we’d had in any of the restaurants along our journey!  Compliments to the chefs!  ;-)  Hands down one of the funnest things we’ve ever done!
















Halloween

The kids even celebrated Halloween by creating some ad hoc costumes and surprising the girls at the front desk of our hotel.  They certainly were intrigued with our little made-up munchkins, but we’re not sure they knew quite what to do in response to the screams of "trick or treat!"  ;-)


















West Street Market


This is the main market plaza in downtown Yangshuo and is filled with restaurants and sidewalk hawkers and knick-knack souvenir booths and people, people, people!  Sometimes it’s fun just to immerse yourself in the mix of the excitement, and of course partake of some of the finer "offerings" that can be had in this festive place.
 
















Dragon River Retreat

The great thing about gettin’ outta town with all its hustle and bustle and beeping of car horns is the incredible serenity and scenery that can be had in a deep rural setting.  Our “hotel” was situated near the banks of the Dragon River probably 20 minutes from town, where a walk down the remote narrow winding dirt road next to farmers and their fields led on several occasions to some wonderful “conversations” with the real-world folks we’d pass on the way.  Not that we could carry on full conversations, but the exchange of smile-filled greetings and the occasional “hello” or “good morning” in English from a local farmer made for one special stay at this wonderful locale. 
   


  
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Comments

Alice Langehennig on

Amazing scenery! Thanks for taking the time to post your adventures and your pics!

Karen Barale on

Great to see the "elders" and hear you voices! Enjoying all the posts of your adventures. Expecting you to show off your new cooking skills when you come home!

Vicki Whitaker on

Spectacular photos. Hooray for Wolfberries! ; -)

Inara on

The photos are truly amazing. What perfect memories for you. Thank you for all the descriptions. We're expecting to enjoy the Martin men's culinary skill after returning home. Safe travels.

Ilsa on

I have an Amazing Wonders of The World Encyclopedia and I found the Great Reed Flute Cave and the Guilin Hills in it. Your pictures are even better than the pictures in the book!

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