Tuesday, June 16, 2009
After an early start, we began the hour drive from Guilin, China to the Li River. As we drove we were able to admire the landscape that had been hidden the previous night when we arrived. There were relatively tall and pointed rock formations protruding from the grassy fields all over. Little did we know that it was only a taste of what we were going to soon experience during a river curse down the Li. The landscape and scenery of the Li River is supposed to be some of the most beautiful in the whole of China, and we were going to be lucky enough to see it firsthand.
After boarding a fairly large river boat, we set out. As we floated slowly forward, one of the crew announced to not open the windows on the lower deck and to keep them locked when on the upper decks. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense till about five minutes later when floating merchants pulled up alongside of the boat on little bamboo rafts. They were excitedly trying to sell various items. That’s when it struck me: you can’t go anywhere in China, not even on the water, without someone trying to sell you something.
As foretold, the landscape did not disappoint and was very picturesque. The green mountainous hills surrounded our view as we snaked down the river and there were many great moments to take pictures. It also provided a relaxing break from the city environment and mentality that we have become accustomed to during our different visits. It was easy to see why the government has pictured a scene from the Li River on the back of the $20 Yuan.
After exiting the cruise, we began to walk up to the main road from the river. We hadn’t gone ten feet before we encountered yet another market. Similar to the other ones that we have visited, this one too had a large variety of goods at negotiable prices. We paused there momentarily before getting back on the bus. Not long after boarding, we were on our way to the airport and Hong Kong.
As we drove through the lovely green countryside with its grassy fields and rolling hills, the whole day seemed almost surreal. It had been a great day filled with wonderful scenery and time to really enjoy the beauties of China. I am glad that we took time to take it all in. After having floated down the Li River, I would have to say that a study abroad like ours would be incomplete without such an experience.