Week two in Yangshuo

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10-23-07........Cinderella invite me over for a home cooked meal. Two years ago her family invite a number of us teachers over and her dad taught us how to make dumplings. This time she said she wanted to do all the cooking.  So Julia and I went it was very interesting and delicious.  We had a great time looking at her photos and her home. Then we went back to town. Dawn was coming in that evening.
10-24-07.....Rented a car and driver with half a day. Rather then a taxi get one of the mini-vans. Cheaper and you can get a couple of more people in.   Cost at about $10.
First we went to the Silver Caves.  The silver Cave, located 85 km south of Guilin, 25 km south of Yangshuo, is a splendid limestone cave. It runs through 12 mountains and a roundabout tour covers approximately 2 km. The cave is deep and irregular; with a great number of stalactites with hundreds of stories the guide will tell you. Many of them have a glint of Silver.  These majestic, diamond-like stalactites decorate the cave and make it into a dazzling place. The cave can be divided into three sections: upper cave, lobby and the lower cave, with dozens of distinctive scenery. It is a long walk up and down stair but well worth the trip.  Some of the most fantastic formations that I have ever seen.  There are a couple of place to stop and refresh along the way. Cost is about 50 Yuan ($6 or 7). 
Our next stop was The Banyan Tree. Cost about $3.00About half way between Yangshuo and the Silver Cave.  It's one of the main scenic attractions of Yangshuo. The banyan has been planted for more than 1400years. It's famous for its towering beautiful form except age. It's surprising that the tree grows down many smaller roots from branches to ground; the one tree looks like a wood. Small river passes nearby, green bamboo, mountains, rice fields and old ferry on riverside, Zhuang people village and natural stone artwork museum.  In the cost of admission is a raft ride.  You really do not need a guide you can have a get time on the small lake on the raft by yourself.  If you wish a guide it is only a few dollars more.  You and also see the small village and village "museum". It is basically this little old ladies house with a bunch of old farm and living utensils on display.  But it is included in the ticket and she will try to sell you something.   
10-25-07.......The ladies at Big Sister's shop gave me a tote bag this morning.  I stopped by to get some sort of bag to put my jacket and water in.  The weather is changing, in the morning it is cold but by noon it is hot again then by dark cold.  So I end up carrying around a jacket all day.  They found me a nice Prada knockoff.  When I asked then the price they said it was a gift.  I thank them. I told them we all have to go out to dinner one night.  The problem is that they work straight from 10am to 11:30pm every night.  They get two days off a month.  So I would have to wait till next month to take them out.  Tonight we got tickets to see "IMPRESSIONS".  Ticket for general admission is 188 Yuan (but you can get them for 150). Then for better sits it is 240 Yuan (but you can get them for 180 Yuan).  We got the better seat they have backs on them.  There are about 500 people in the performance.  The place holds about 5000 people all assigned seats.  Organized chaos.  This is a performance like you have never seen or experienced before.
An area of 2 kms along Lijiang River and 12 peaks as stage setting, tighter with boundless sky, compose the Shanshui Theatre with mountains and rivers the largest natural theatre in the world. In this masterpiece of the creator, a brand-new performance on the natural stage setting of Guilin scenery is produced.
Unlike the traditional artificial stage performance, the performance on the natural stage is a great work of man and nature. No one knows how long this picturesque scenery has been waiting in rain and mists. Is its graceful image made for us? Peaks appearing indistinctly, the reflection of mountains in the water,and the sound of in the bamboo forest, are all ready to join in the performance. ZhangYimous as chief director. 
In the past 3 years, they have made numerous modifications to the plan of the performance.
Located at the joining point of Lijiang River and Tianjia River, the theatre faces the widely-known Scholar's Page Hill across the river. Its auditorium looks like a green terrace with a panorama vision. Sitting there, the audience can natural scenery within an area of 2 kms along the river and the performance. Lighting and stereo sets are designed by cover means in order to intergrate with the nature. There are 2200 seats for the audience, of which 2000 are for the ordinary people, 180 for VIPs and 20 for presidents. But some how you do find your seat and the performance goes on.  I found that UNCLE SAM'S TRAVEL on West Street to be the best place to get your tickets.  From him the ticket includes your transportation.  Which you really appreciate after you have been there.
10-26-2007........Cinderella picked me up on her Electronic Scooter and off we went to the high school she teaches at.  Upon arrive we toured the campus a little.  There are over 3000 students here.  Most of them live on the campus in dorms and eat at the dining hall. Our next stop was her office, which she shares with 12 other teachers.  Her class is typical, about 60 students.  For the first hour she give her lesson (all in English).  Today's topic was HIV.  They read a short story about a young girl with HIV and how she dealt with it.  After they were given question and given time to reread the text and come up with the answers.  Then another group of questions were asked and answered verbally.  Of the 60 students about 8 participated.  Most just sat quietly.  The second hour was mine.  I was not sure what I was going to do.  I introduced my self and went into my act.  I asked questions and they looked at me.  After a while finally some of the 8 started to ask and answer questions.  After class 5 of the eight approached me and wanted me to go to lunch with them.  I turned to Cinderella and she said it was fine.  We all went off to the dining hall.  Which was packed with students.  As I looked around one of the 5 came up to me and said just sit there and we will be right back and do not worry we are not eating here.  Soon after they returned with a bowl of rice covered with "things", mostly vegetable.  Off we went we were going to go upstairs to the foreign teacher's living quarters to meet some English teachers from Germany.  We had a very nice lunch and a lively discussion.  Then back on the Electronic Scooter and back to the hotel. 
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