On Tuesday, we left first thing in the morning for our boat cruise down the Li River to the town of Yangshuo. This was about a five hour cruise, and we were on a much bigger boat than the one we were on for the nighttime boat cruise.
This is a photo of a cruise boat similar to the one we went on. About 10 of these boats left the docking area around when we left. They were all two stories, with a deck in the back of the second level, and a roof deck.
There was a kitchen area on the back of the first level of each cruise boat. The chefs were already preparing food when we pulled away from the pier. They served us lunch about halfway into the cruise. I did not eat anything, because even with taking Dramamine before I got on the boat, my stomach was not up to eating lunch!
Jeff did not eat a lot of lunch either, because he spent most of his time hanging out outside on the back deck with me. I am always much less motion sick when I am outside on boats.
Fortunately, it was not raining the day we took our river boat cruise, even though it was cloudy and overcast all day. But it was very, very cold. The temperature was about 40 degrees Farenheit, and sections of the river were windy. I found myself wishing that I had brought my down coat. We were both wearing many layers of clothing, but we did not bring winter coats. Normally, the temperature in the Guilin area this time of year is about 50 to 60 degrees Farenheit, so we did not think it was necessary to bring winter clothing!
We saw lots of birds during our boat cruise, but this was the only raptor that we saw. The tips of its wing feathers look similar to those I have seen on vultures in other areas.
There were lots of these black and white birds. They were very loud.
There were many, many ducks. There were everywhere! Mostly they had brown and white feathers, but there was an occasional black one.
The peach color section of this rock is supposed to resemble a dish. And, yes, it actually looked like a fish to me!
Some of the hills had very interesting shapes.
This is one of the famous hills. This rock face is supposed to look like the heads of seven or nine horses. There is a famous painting of this hill, and many poems written about it. There is a saying that if you are average, you can see seven horses, and if you are smart, you can see nine horses. And me, I could only see four horses. Maybe it would have helped if I had seen the painting beforehand? This was one of the few places on the boat cruise when the back deck was crowded with people. Most of the time, everyone stayed inside where it was warm. So even though the boat was full, I never felt crowded. It was just Jeff and me and an occasional guy coming out for a cigarette on the back deck!
The many small rafts in the river at the bottom of this hill are also carrying tourists.
We also saw some goats along the river bank.
The Li River is also famous for its diving cormorants, and its water buffalo poking their heads up out of the water. We did see water buffalo along the river bank, but none in the water. It was too cold!
Here is another famous group of karst hills. This is the drawing on the back of the 20 yuan (RMB) bill. Jeff and I have now visited the places in China on four of the Chinese paper yuan bills. We have been to Xihu Lake in Hangzhou (1 yuan), Taishan Mountain in Shandong (5 yuan), Li River, Guillin (20 yuan), and Imperial Palace, Beijing (100 yuan). We still need to get to the Three Gorges (10 yuan) and the Potala Palace, Tibet (50 yuan). This photo has flags on the left because Jeff and I had to go up to the top deck of the boat to take this photo. It was very, very, very cold and windy on the top deck so no one went up there. The back deck was really crowded when we went by these mountains as everyone wanted their picture taken with this background.
These are some interesting rock formations on the side of one of the hills. You could also see caves in many of the hills.
In some places, the Li river water looked very blue green.
As we got closer to Yangshuo, I began to see white patches on the hills. I wondered what they were. There were also more sections of this bushy looking bamboo growing along the river as we went further south towards Yangshuo.
When we got closer to Yangshuo, I found the answer to my question. The white color was plastic placed over orange trees to protect them from the unseasonably cold weather! We saw lots and lots of white spots on the hills as we got closer to Yangshuo. I think they grow a lot of oranges, tangerines, and kumquats in this area. I have been enjoying really delicious citrus fruit since I came to Longhua. This might be where most of it comes from!
When the whits plastic started showing up on the hills, Jeff stopped taking photos as it was no longer breathtakingly beautiful. He is the one who took almost all of the fabulous scenery photos in this blog entry. I took most of the animal photos, and the photos of the oranges. Together, we had more than 400 photos taken this river boat cruise, so it took me awhile to pick out which ones to use in the blog!
And here are the only cormorants we saw on this trip. I am posing with an elderly man who offered to let us take a photo with his birds for 3 yuan. He was standing on the steps going up from the pier where our boat docked. Everyone else on the cruise rushed past him to get up the stairs to the market area where the vendors were selling stuff. This is the only time I paid someone to take a photo on this trip. I could not resist a chance to get close to those birds!