A serene introduction to the cacophony of China


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We flew into Guilin, China in the evening and were taken by car, along a four lane highway with minimal traffic, to Yangshou. The Yangshou Village Retreat was along a dark, quiet country road and we retired for the night, lulled to sleep by the sound of frogs croaking, in a surprisingly palatial room decorated in classic French style.

P1080876The morning greeted us with a stupendous view of the mysterious karst peaks and we grabbed bikes to explore the countryside. We rode past old men ploughing the fields with bullock’s, small children playing and women carrying buckets of water to the garden.

P1080877The road was quiet and we were seldom interrupted by the friendly toot of a passing motorbike. We sat on the banks of the Li River watching empty tour boats glide up the river. A serene first morning in China.

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P1080892We cycled into town for lunch and were introduced to the cacophony of sound that I suspect will accompany us throughout China. A plethora of tooting motor vehicle horns greeted us, which Steven described as a very loud and out of tune beginners brass band. This was accompanied by a flood of Chinese tourists chatting, the cry of vendors tempting you to buy their wares and the blaring of recorded messages emanating from shops.

P1080961Yet less than five minutes away we were alone along the river.

This contrast between serenity and cacophony has been the trade mark of our three day stay in Yangshou.

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P1080921On day two we travelled to Xingping and boarded a (fake) bamboo raft to meander up the river, with a few hundred other tourists, to Yangdi, and back down again to Xingping.

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P1080939The scenery is spectacular and the four seat rafts fun and relaxing. The serenity was enhanced when the big lawn mower boat engine momentarily ran out of fuel and we drifted quietly on the river.

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P1080917That night as we dined roving musicians, complete with sound equipment on their backs, vied to be paid by diners to perform. The overlay of performances was ear shattering however this noise paled into insignificance when we wandered along a street of small bars. All the bars hadP1080974 live performers with speakers pumping out their repertoire on to the street creating a noise to flee from rather than be enticed by.

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Back on the bikes on the third day we were led by guide Ana through the back country roads to the Yulong River where we boarded a real bamboo raft with two seats and a colourful sun umbrella.

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P1090032We spent a glorious hour being punted down the river, including sliding down gentle rapids. This time the serenity was only broken by the giggling of Chinese girls splashing their men, the rich tenor voice of our punter as he broke into song, and Steven’s melodicP1090016 response when he returned the favour and sang Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

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P1090083The finale of our stay was the spectacular Liu Sanjie Impressions Light Show, beautifully choreographed with 600 performers and the majestic karst peaks as a backdrop, more serenity than cacophony.

P1090087 (2)We thank the English speaking receptionists at the Yangshou Village Retreat who made all these adventures possible as our Mandarin is limited to two, albeit useful, words, ni hao (hello) and xiexie (thank you).

6 thoughts on “A serene introduction to the cacophony of China

  1. Barbara Yates April 28, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    I am loving the journey.

    Like

    • Anne April 28, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      I’m glad you’ve come along with us. The blogging is mostly fun but sometimes frustrating when internet is not as you want it.

      Like

    • Anne May 1, 2015 / 3:44 am

      The photos are all Stevens

      Like

  2. Iris May 18, 2015 / 1:46 pm

    Yes I second that… I am loving the journey and the photos. I am living vicariously through you! 🙂 What an amazing adventure!!

    Like

    • Anne May 18, 2015 / 3:41 pm

      Thanks for coming with us!

      Like

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