If yesterday’s views were breath taking, the views of Yangshuo were jaw dropping!
I started the day again with an American breakfast, and said goodbye to the hostel staff, one of whom gave me a piece of cloth she had dyed to create a traditional flower print. As Yangshuo, my next stop, is right down the river from Guilin, I decided what better way to get there then to float down the river on a bamboo raft! So to get to the pier, I was picked up in a small 8 person bus which then took me to a larger bus which would supposedly take me to one of the Guilin piers.
At the pier I made friends with a group of three Chinese girls and we decided to all ride on a raft together. If you can speak Chinese, making friends here is not hard at all. In my experience in Beijing and Shanghai, life is fast and it is expected that foreigners would know at least a little Chinese to keep up. But in southern China, life is much slower and encountering other foreigners is way less common. It seems like most people expect that foreigners here don’t know a word of Chinese, to the extent that when I am able to communicate with them in Chinese, I receive almost instant respect. Once you earn a local’s respect, they will do anything to help you out.
The four of us boarded the raft together in the 80 degree heat and with our driver began to make our way down the river. As I mentioned earlier, my jaw literally dropped. The karsts that lay ahead were magnificently beautiful. Once we made our way past one, another one seemed to rise out of the water. They aligned so nicely against the skyline with a light mist that dangled in the air.
We rode the bamboo raft about an hour down the river until we made it to the pier of Xingping Village. Here we stepped onto land and began to make our way through the well preserved ancient village. Everywhere you turned there was someone selling street food or hand crafted souvenirs.