Walking along the thousand year old stone studded streets which twist, turn and bend like caligraphy, you are tempted to believe you are lost in a different time. The rivers sing a white tune and the ever bright red lanterns line the streets like dragon's breath has lit them one by one. But you are soon awoken out of this fantasy as you are met with new sounds and songs of this charming dreamland... Snoopdog, JZ, and the Black Eyed Peas are the new stars of the streets when the sun goes down and the bright strobe lights come on. Screaming invitations is what might put you to sleep in 2011, and the high pitch smooth Chinese singing is left for old ladies at bus stations to sing.
Truly an amazing old town, over hundreds of years old and surviving an earthquake, we felt a bit at home. Getting to know each bend of the street, all of the millions of stone bridges over the streams, and every bargaining shop owner weaving their goods by the doors to show off their craft- which, just off the topic, I have bought plenty of.
Day time tranquility is chipped slowly away as the night life hits the streets:
We are for sure an own delicacy, but for the locals. Many of the tourists here are from the surrounding villages and have never seen foreigners in person. We have enough people sneakily taking photos of us to make Brangelina jealous. They are particularly curious of our eating habits, which is becoming difficult since I have to stop eating to pose or hide, depending on how creepy the person taking the picture is.
One of my fans:
We even ventured outside and walked to another village, about 3 hours of walking out. There we experienced much more shocked looks and head turns. Its strange, then becomes funny, and now its kind of expected - like, "you're NOT going to stare at me?!? But, I'm different!!!".
Other day trips from Li'jiang included seeing the 180 degree bend in the Yangzi river (seen below)- this is quiet unique to see and definitely requires a wide angle lense-,
-and the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the highest gorges in the world. Its also home to the Rip Off Monkeys. Argueably a human species, these especially irritating type of animal has evolved with a special skill of developing clever ways not to work but instead to rip off tourists. A particularly mad driving method is to build random traps in the middle of nature, put a lock on these traps, and not let you through until you pay. Its the modern day morph of trolls.
Once you get past these troublesome little monkies, you can enjoy the eye filling views. My personal favorite way to out smart the pesks is to tell them that if they want to get back home -and that would be on my side of the locked door - that THEY would have pay US! Believe it or not that worked. Of course if you know me, then you know I'm stubborn and proud enough to actually follow through with that threat and stand there until monkey girl gives in and tries to get home.
Tiger Leaping Gorge:
Here is Monkey Girl by the way:
As our next stop we went to an unimaginably beautiful town called Yangshuo near Guilin. I wont talk about the people because I would rather not complain, but we had a spectacular introduction the the limestone karsks that line the coast of China and Vietnam. Had some leisure bike rides, and a bamboo raft down the river... well, see for yourselves:
Leaving China was mixed feelings, and to celebrate we had to see the Detian waterfalls which lie on the border of Vietnam and China. The second largest intraborder waterfall in the world (First being non other than our Niagra!! woop woop!)
As amazing as all of this was, I am sure you all must know by now, the most amazing experience by far is the Panda hug!! Worth every penny of the 100 euros I HAD to donate!
Some extra pictures of conquests:
Climbing the Great Wall and Eating Snake (Both from our first stop in Beijing)