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Bamboo Rafting With Sneaky Snacky

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

My rolls of film, now developed, That drizzling day again, The river, unwinding itself between pinnacles, Draped exquisitely over themselves. Bamboo drooping with mist crisscross each other, As we crisscrossed the river villages. Dirt poor among rich orchards, rice paddies, And sweet potatoes only for the festival. Once again I am being ink-brushed, Into a landscape more insubstantial, Than the mist where it is cocooned. I am complicit in my own disappearance. But the mud of that river walk and raft clings, In my memory as it clung to my boots. And I still taste the pomelo whose seeds, We spat in circles of laughing around us. As the cruise boats on the river klaxoned, And you recited Li Bai, so that I heard, For the first time the pattern and rhyme, Of his loneliness and moonlit exile. I put the photographs away in the drawer, Of my imagination. The gloss changes, Begins to spin itself into a silk scroll, Unwinding as my pen becomes a brush. Yangshuo River…By Paddy Bushe

Over the past week; I’ve taken her to places she’s never been!

Here I sit at the Rock & Grill café with JiangNi (aka Sneaky Snacky), two full bellies after feasting upon Mexican and Thai, both of which she went crazy over but I wish I could say the same for Indian. A few nights ago a group of us got together and headed to Mac’s Indian Restaurant to introduce her to another new cuisine, it totally failed to impress her. No matter what dish I gave her samples from she simply found them tasteless yet she soldiered on and continued with happy expectations prior to each. After watching her non-inquisitive face several times Mac informed us that it is much the same for many Chinese, especially those like JiangNi who were raised in the main Chili areas such as Sichuan and Hunan Provinces.

Indian tasteless? Riiiiiiiiiight!

Just like Hong Kong and Macau, JiangNi always thought visiting Yangshuo was out of her reach so each time we have a chance to be together I always try my best to offer and add things to her life that she believes are too far away or out of her reach. Since Sneaky Snacky’s arrival we have spent each day sleeping, walking or rafting and have rafted both the Li River and the Yulong River. Nights have been spent introducing her to Yangshuo’s 'international cuisine’ offered by the array of cozy vibrant Café’s after which we then head back to Mojo’s or try a new bar to slurp our beers.

That doesn’t come with mandatory DOOF DOOF music as a side dressing.

As for my passport and VISA, the ‘second step’ has been finalised, though I have no idea what the second step included, thankfully all went well. I then had to sit through a non-interview with the local Yangshuo PSB which consisted of me sitting there while Amy from Buckland’s lodged documents and the local government officer compared my face to that on the documents. This then gave the red stamp for the last process which was another non-interview with the Guilin PSB which after taking my passport thankfully gave me the final red stamp which is for my new one year residency VISA.

As I wrote in my last blog, upon departing Shangrao on the south bound train I didn't have any desire to return, that was until I arrived and had those same vibes that I had all those years ago and I now have a small feeling I may stay longer after the arrival of my passport and VISA. Honestly, the beauty of this area is almost impossible to gather into thoughts let alone try to explain with words and one would think that it would be impossible for a brush to add more slender strokes to such a serene scroll. The smile that JiangNi has with her each day as the raft slowly carries us through scenic karst beauty beside lush green rice fields through until she closes her eyes at night after devouring yet another cuisine from a different guide book from the shelves of the Lonely Planet selection actually does have the power to make this area more special!

Sneaky Snacky, the girl who never stops snacking! Hey Honey, do what anything while I’m out? Snacks! Hey Lisa I’m heading home, do you need anything? Snacks! Wow, that was a delicious dinner! Want anything else? Snacks! Hey babe, whatchya doin? Watching a movie. What’s that? Snacks! Can I have some? No haha, my snacks, you should have got your own Snacks!

I’m serious; she finds snacks in some of the most unthinkable places. One time she went into a chemist for ‘woozy bus’ pills and after an hour she pulled out chili tofu and some other snacky stuff. I was like, where did you get that? From the chemist! But it’s a chemist! Her reply; yes but in China even sick people like to snack! You could send her into a book shop and she’d come out with a pocket full of snacks. Honestly, she like most Chinese invented a word once while we were travelling together. We were on a long distance bus journey and I mentioned I was hungry, within seconds I had a hand full of snacks before me but she only had a little hand bag. I’m like, where did all of this come from?

Her reply: from my Snackockets! She’s the most beautiful thing in my world!

<u>Now For a Bit on Both The Li & Yulong Rivers</u>

<u>Li River</u>

The Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is the centerpiece of any trip to northeastern Guangxi Province. Gorgeous Karst peaks beneath a blue sky, water buffalo lazing in the fields, farmers and their families reaping rice paddies and fisherman floating by on bamboo rafts along with the surrounding breathtaking scenery offer a taste of a life far removed from any concrete metropolis. The Li River is more than an artist’s dream which throughout the centuries has attracted poets and painters along with countless famous people from around the world.

The Li River (L&iacute; Ji&#257;ng, pronounced Lee Jyang) is the main river system of Guilin and the northeast of Guangxi Province. Originating from Kitten Mountain (Mao’er Shan), it winds its way south for over four hundred kilometers but it is the eighty three kilometer section between Guilin and Yangshuo that is the most breathtaking.

In a Chinese poem it is written; The river is a green silk ribbon, and the hills are jade hairpins.

<u>Yulong River/Jade Dragon River)</u>

One of the most beautiful trips outside Yangshuo is to visit and raft the forty three kilometer Yulong River which many people believe to be even more awesome than the Li River. They both offer different scenic experiences but the Yulong River is definitely a much more peaceful floating adventure. Its most famous landmarks are its bridges, in particular the sixty meter long Ming Dynasty Yulong Qiao (Jade Dragon Bridge) found in the town of Baisha. But for me it's the scenery of small villages nestled at the foot of karst hills surrounded by rice paddies and the lazy winding river that I find breathtakingly memorable.

The Chinese word 'Yulong' refers to 'meeting a dragon' and a local legend has it that a dragon from the East Sea strolled across the Yulong River and, being deeply impressed by the attractive landscape, decided to stay here forever. The villagers living along the river bank spotted the dragon several times and named it the Yulong River.

A typical Yulong River adventure can easily fill your camera’s memory as not only is the landscape natural but it is also combined with bamboo forests and rolling hills along with picturesque scenes of a simple rural lifestyle that has hardly changed over the past century. As the afternoon slowly ticks away you will peacefully pass by bamboo waterwheels irrigating the paddy fields, village girls hand washing clothes outside of their cottages with smoke curling upward from the chimneys and old men fishing from their own bamboo raft.

Along with the above you will probably spot a few stray foreigners who have managed to find the stunning rice field trail to Dragon Bridge and are happily peddling to or from. I somehow managed to find the trail many years ago but I am sure this time it won’t be so difficult. That though will be another blog for the near future as now it’s time for;

Excuse me…..I’ll have another 10Yuan 500ml glass of cold larger from tap. What would you like baby? oh, and a fresh mango smoothie for Snacky. Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by ManOwaR The album was &#8216;Battle Hymns’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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