Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guest Blog #8 - Mark's Parents

Yesterday afternoon we arrived in Guilan, overcast and muggy. We went directly to the Reed Flute Caverns. We walked up and up and entered the cave. Then we walked down and down and down. They had a lot of different colored fluorescent lights that our guide turned on as we went along. Very neat. At the lowest point, there was a large cavern with water on the far end. The lights made it look like a city in the distance which reflected on the lake. Very nice. It was about 65 in the cave......very cool.

Internet access is limited so we will tell you about today and fill in later on Xi'an.

This morning our guide Susan picked us up at 8:10 am to head to the wharf to load a boat for the River Li cruise. We had talked to someone last night from another tour who said it was beautiful and they were right. The limestone outcroppings which have formed large unusual shaped mountains were covered with forests, bamboo, or terraced for planting. The water buffalo could occasionally be seen; they are used from spring planting so now they "are on holiday" according to Susan. They will be off holiday when it is time to harvest. Some fisherman were washing their nets but most of the fishing is at night. They use the cormorant birds to help them catch the fish at night. The birds are on a leash and when they catch a fish, the fisherman pulls on the leash so that the fish comes out but the bird is fine. They fish this way at night because the insects come out and the fish jump up to catch the bugs. We mostly stayed outside to take pictures rather than stay in and sit at the tables in air conditioned windowed space that you sat at for lunch. We had a buffet lunch on the boat and Charlie had enough to eat. I think he is finally beginning to enjoy, or maybe at least, like this food!

The boat ended 3 1/2 hours later in the small town of Yangshou, which was the barter type tourists booth selling everything.Once we met up with our driver we drove thru the countryside and saw the rice fields one associates with China. People were out working in the fields and again the water buffalo were lounging around. A trip thru a silk factory was interesting and now we are back at the hotel.

I wish we had the capability of downloading pictures as it would make the blog so much more interesting, but at least with the brief stories you can travel along with us.

The forecast for the next two days here is rain; it would not be much fun on the river boar trip if it was raining. Tomorrow we leave for Shanghai. The fear with the rain storms is the additional stress on the country's resources in the quake providence. The dams are over full and there is fear of them breaking. We hope they hold and there will be no additional damage or loss of life.

All for now. . . . . tonight we will attend a cultural theatre event which reflects the different cultures of the Guilin area.

Margaret and Charlie

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