Noilly Prattle: August 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

China 2017: 25 – final impressions; tying loose ends

     I will just post a few more impressions from the closing weeks of our China, Winter 2017 journey in Guangxi Province. These are images chosen at random, as they were taken, that, as a whole, summarize for me, the essence of my experience of the region: its landscapes and people. 


Yangshuo by night
fitness center in the park

stepping stones


Bad Panda - 2015

West Street tourist mecca


Wind Rain Bridge and Peach Blossoms

a smile is always appreciated
stone sculpture depicts
father carrying the baby


the old shoemaker


on the bus to Gaotian

non-electronic game center

local delicacies - dogs and cats

bicycling to Jiu Xiang

Jiu Xiang - a village seemingly forgotten . . .
. . . by time

karst mountain formation said to resemble a camel 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

China 2017: 24 – rafting on the Yulong

     Rafting on bamboo rafts along the Yulong River is the not-to-be-missed thing to do while in Yangshuo. The Nana Hotel staff arranged to have us join a group to go rafting one afternoon just a few days before we were to leave Yangshuo.

Li Jiang running high with much debris
       After a few days of rainy weather the Li Jiang river was running very high in the morning and we wondered if it would be OK to go rafting on the Yulong River. The Yulong is a smaller, kinder and gentler river than the Li Jiang. It is also divided into sections by a series of weirs that control the flow of the river—ideal for bamboo rafts that are poled by guys that I like to call “raftoliers”.

Jinlong Bridge Dock
Jinlong Bridge (background)
       The weather was almost perfect, cloudy, no rain, and moderate temperature. The van was full by the time we arrived at the Jinlong Bridge bamboo raft launch docks and we boarded the rafts in pairs. Our “raftolier” had me sit on the left (being heavier than R.B.) to counter- balance his weight standing and poling on the right rear side of the raft. We passed under the Jinlong Bridge heading south towards Yulong (Dragon) Bridge and on down the river to our Xiatang landing destination. The area around Dragon Bridge was crowded with day trippers (large groups who do a short circle ride up and down river only a short distance from the bridge) and we had to weave our way around and through them to continue on down to Xiatang.

day trippers
 heavy traffic at
Yulong (Dragon) Bridge

Yulong Bridge rafting dock

feet up for plunges over weirs
floating down the Yulong
  The river has several weirs to be crossed over and our raftolier indicated that we should raise our feet onto the seat edge before plunging over a weir. Rafting was a little like a mini-Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi. We even had a little adventure when our raft got stuck on a weir for a couple minutes until our raftolier rocked and nudged it off the rocks with a big splash and dunking when the “bow” hit the water. We got splashed a little, but not soaked!

stuck on the weir
taking the plunge

negotiating a weir  -  front

approaching a weir
I'm getting married on the rafting . . .
Ho-hum the guitar's gonna strum . . . 
       There were many weirs to negotiate. The rafts, more or less traveling convoy style often came together and traveled down the river in chatting distance while the raftoliers called, talked and joked with each other. There was as much life on the banks as on the river itself: ducks, photo-op wedding couples, ordinary people doing ordinary things, etc. The ride lasted about an hour and a half when we arrived at Xiatang Dock landing where, of course, the inevitable old ladies were waiting to sell post cards, flower wreaths, and other souvenirs.

follow the leader . . . 

gone fishing
R U looking at me?

idyll on a golden afternoon

on the wings of a snow white dove . . . 

where do I go? - follow the river . . .

end of the line - Xiatong Dock Landing
      Souvenirs means “memories” in English and it was definitely a day of many souvenirs of the non-commercial kind. 

Splish, splash
       The rafts float down- river. You may wonder how they get back up- stream? That's easy. They are picked up and loaded onto trucks, driven back upstream and dumped back into the river.