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click on link at the bottom to see the full picture album
The normal trip to the region is between the cities of Guilin and Yangshuo, with the Li River running from one city to the other. What makes it such a popular destination are the crazy looking limestone karsts that are jutting out of the ground like mini, individual mountains. They are literally EVERYWHERE you look. And they're amazing to look at. They've become such an iconic part of natural China that an image of the Li River and karsts is on the back of the 20 Chinese RMB bill.
The city of Yangshuo itself is nestled into a small valley in between these karsts and along the Li River. There is a section of the town that is completely built for foreigners, with Western and Chinese style restaurants, cafes and hostels lining the cobblestone no-cars-allowed streets. Most of the local Chinese places have also adapted with English menus and English speaking waiters and waitresses. But like I said, just a really relaxed atmosphere. And because it's in Southern China, near GuangZhou and Hong Kong, the cantonese food is really good too. The mountains are lit up at night and the rooftop bars are awesome places to hang out. I totally recommend a trip to Yangshuo for anyone that is coming through China.
Highlights from Yangshuo:
- My favorite part was the Mud Caves. Natural caves that had a "natural" pool of mud and "natural" hot springs inside of the cavernous caves. The mud was disgustingly fun.
- Climbing Moon Hill. Although the mosquitos were a lowlight. But the use of electric mosquito racket zappers is not only useful, but oddly enjoyable. Another invention the US needs to import.
- Bamboo rafts along the Li River.
- Renting bikes and scooters and taking them out into the countryside to explore.
- Awesome food.
- Browsing Chinese saying Tshirts. Bought a few as gifts....i'll show you mine on here.
- Talladega Nights in the middle of the day.
- Giant spiders in hostel rooms.
- Awesome food.
- NBA Finals and WORLD CUP watching.
Reflecting in Yangshuo brought this quote to my mind:
"We stand in awe of the ocean,
the sunset, the mountains,
but we pass by a human being
even though the person is God's most magnificent creation"
- St. Augustine
My prayer after this trip is to allow people to amaze me even more than these incredible landscapes. I do believe that if we give them a chance, they really will.
Click here to see some more pictures of our trip to Yangshuo: Yangshuo 2010 Picture Album
What a great few weeks for sports. Waking up and watching one of the most memorable NBA Finals in years at the hostel flatscreen and all of the bars, cafes and restaurants in Yangshuo setting up flatscreens and projectors outside to watch the World Cup games. Not to mention the awesome Mets' win streak. I was in Shanghai during the last World Cup in 2006. Watching the World Cup out here is SO much fun. And that USA vs Algeria game was possibly the most dramatic sports moment I've ever seen (surpassing Endy Chavez' catch because the Mets lost that game). Not because I'm so into soccer (which i'm slowly warming up to and starting to appreciate), but because everyone is just so into it. The city is made up of internationals from all over the world, so our community is all rooting for their respective countries. But what I've also noticed is that the US audience is starting to get into it as well. How is it back at home? We gonna have some World Cup watching parties while we're back in July? Mid-summer baseball isn't much to get excited over.. GO USA.
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No love for Steven? How discouraging for future guest bloggers.