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Email: Greetings from Yangshao


Date: Friday, 12 October 2001 02:29 PDT
Subject: Greetings from Yangshao

Hello –

It is Friday and we have been in Yangshao the last few days. It is a small town (for China) about 40 miles south of Guilin in Southern China. There is a pedestrian street in which many hotels and cafes sit. There are also many vendors on the street selling all sorts of interesting items. We have had good weather (hot and humid) and have been doing various outdoor activities the last three days.

Yesterday we took a boat ride up the Li River for two hours. We got up at 5:30am to be ready to go by 6:00am. We went with a hotel guide to the public bus departing to a town called Xingping. It took about 45 minutes to get there on ever increasingly bumpy roads. It didn’t help that the bus had no suspension left. When we arrived there, we were told that some of the people weren’t here yet and invited to eat breakfast (at our cost) while we waited. Luckily, we can stuff ourselves for about $4.00, so it was not an issue.

Once the others arrived, we had 12 people in our party. There were three other Americans, two Brits, one Australian, two Israelis and two Chinese. We all crowded into a small narrow boat with folding wooden chairs and windows on either side. There was a small area outside in front where Darren and two others could sit.

We then began our journey upstream. We were one of the only boats on the river, so it was very peaceful. We saw people washing their clothes by the side of the river. We saw small boats steered by boys go by. We saw several water buffalo in the water cooling off. As we continued, beautiful karst peaks appeared on both sides of us, with fern trees and bamboo between them and the river. For two hours we were treated to a peaceful ride with beautiful scenery.

We finally pulled into a village and the boat driver pointed vaguely toward where a bus would pick us up. As we disembarked, an old woman approached us with a large wooded peace pipe for sale, which one of the Israelis bought. Other older hunched-over women also appeared wanting to sell us peanuts and other items. We made our way to the village where a market was taking place. The bus wasn’t in sight and people told us there was no bus and offered to take us in old trucks back to Yangshao (for a cost of course).

We split up and asked around and finally our boat driver appeared and motioned to us to wait. We waited for about 20 minutes while the market continued around us and some merchant kept setting off some very noisy firecrackers. Finally, a public bus appeared. We got on and the boat driver paid our fares. More and more people crowded on the bus and vendors brought on about 11 baskets of fruit to take to town for another market. It took about 10 minutes to fit all of them in the front of the bus. Darren took a picture so everyone will be able to see how this was.

The bus started up and we made our way back to Yangshao. It just goes to show that a river cruise even turns out to be more than that here!

We will see / talk to everyone soon!
Sandy and Darren