Saturday, December 18, 2010

Biking in Yangshuo

As the weather warmed up a bit from the unusual cold of yesterday, Beth and I rented bikes from the old folks by our hotel, I scribbled out some very vague directions from a local website, and out we went into the countryside.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

The area around Yangshuo is crisscrossed with narrow roads and dirt trails. Because the rice has been brought in for the season, water buffalo are given free range of the fields.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

But sometimes they still have places to go.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

After a month of living in cities (although the Chinese would probably call New Zealand's largest city of Auckland a village at best), it feels pretty awesome to get on the saddle again.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

Even if you've never heard the name Yangshuo, you're still familiar with the landscape - these impossibly contoured mountains have been guiding the brushes of painters and poets since the invention of paper. Probably.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

Beth rocks her new scarf with a decidedly Asian pose.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

Although the rice paddies lay dormant, the appropriately-named mandarin oranges are coming in nicely.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

These mandarin oranges are still being harvested using the traditional technique passed down through hundreds of generations of Chinese farmers - making a big pile of them on a blanket and leaving them by the shed.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

A Chinese saying goes, "桂林山水甲天下, 阳朔堪称甲桂林," or, "Guilin (Yangshuo's neighboring city) has the best scenery on earth, but Yangshuo's is better."

Rural yangshuo, day 43

Bamboo rafts like these are traditionally used by fishermen to get out into the middle of Yangshuo's shallow rivers. From there, they release specially-trained cormorants whose necks have been tied off, preventing them from swallowing their catch. As Yangshuo's industry has shifted from fishing and agriculture to tourism, these guys have converted their rafts to catch more lucrative game. (That's us).

Rural yangshuo, day 43

Indeed, even amongst Yangshuo's majestic peaks there's progress to be made.

Rural yangshuo, day 43

But we were happy just to have our picture taken.

6 comments:

  1. Incredibly beautiful pictures! We are enjoying your blogs so very much. What a gorgeous place to bike. I know Bill and Holly would like to bike there.

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  2. Will! So happy I found your site and and creep on you on the internet...I am hitting up some of these places in the coming months...so psyched for Yangshuo! -海珊/Sea Coral

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  3. What a beautiful river! What a beautiful landscape and the amazing photos that capture it. I especially love the one with all those red balloons, if that is what they are. And the feeling of serenity floating down river on the raft with the little house.
    As has been said many times already, it is a pleasure to be able to follow along with you this way. xoxo

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  4. Elisabeth. Yyourgrrandma Alice has joined the iPad to. Follow all your wonderful adventures. Your Mother is teaching me to read the Blog. When I finish reading everything I will be so smart.

    Love you all!

    Grandma Alice

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  5. Amazing as ever!! I second mama pons in that the red lantern one is my fav!!

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  6. Love those karst mountains. Guilin was beautiful, too. And it's so QUIET. Like a Zen scroll painting. Except for the motorized tourist boats.

    I found out through Rick Steves's show last weekend that there are limestone mountains in Slovenia, too, but nothing like in China.

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