Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome to visit the Li River in Guilin. It’s an honor to be with you and show you around.
Mentioning about rivers, I?wandered how many rivers you know about in China?
Wow, thank you, you are great. I?know you must have done a good reading before this trip.
Yes, now let me tell you something about the river systems in China. The Yangtze, located in the middle part of the country, is the largest river in China, the third largest in the world, just after the Nile and the Amazon. The Yellow, located in the north of the country, is the second largest in China. And the Pearl, located in the south of China, is the third largest. And the Li River here in Guilin originates from underground spring from the Maoer Mountain, which, as the highest in the south of China, is over 2,000 meters above the sea level, in the north of Guilin, and it meanders about 437 KM before it runs into the Pearl River.
If you are interested in China’s history, you must have read about the ?Ling Canal in Guilin. This Ling Canal was completed in Qin dynasty, in the year 214 B.C, more than 2000 years ago. It connects the Li River in the south, which is a tributary of the?Pearl River, and the Xiang River in the north, ?a tributary of the Yangtze River. The most amazing part about it is that the Ling Canal is still functioning perfectly today! And you may also have heard about another important canal in China, the Grand Canal, which, as the longest and one of the oldest canal in the world, connects five large rivers in China, including the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Huai, the Hai, and the Qiantang. So in another word, most of the rivers in China are just connected.
The Li River here in Guilin is not a large river, but it’s absolutely a beautiful river. In 2015, it was rated as one of the 15 most beautiful rivers in the world by CNN. You may have heard about a saying that goes as “Guilin?has the most beautiful scenery under the heaven.”?If you remember those traditional?Chinese paintings that you have seen before, those hanging on the wall, with rice paper, water and ink, black and white, you should find out that the Li River just looks exactly?like the paintings! And if you have got a Chinese note of 20, you should have a look at the background?picture on it, and that is exactly what?we are going to see today!
The river Li?is well-known for her 4 unique characteristics: verdant mountains, crystal-clear water, mysterious caves, and fantastic rocks. A 4-hour river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is considered as the highlight, with numerous natural wonders along, like the Crown Cave, ?the Yangdi Village, the Painted Hill, and the Xingping Town...
Looking at this beautiful?landscape, you must be curious?about how it was formed? According to the geologists, the landscape here was a seabed about 400 million years ago. For some reasons, the sea water was gone and the seabed was pushed up. And the hills turned to be like this after a long long time of water erosion?and weathering. It is officially called the KARST Formation. ???
Same as when you were a little child, you looked at the clouds in the sky and said, “this looks like a rabbit and that looks like a doggy”, the local way to appreciate the beauty of the river Li is to look at it with imaginations. When we are having the cruise, you will see hundreds of thousands of limestone hills going on and on along the both sides of the river. Some of them look like fingers rising suddenly from the flat ground, reaching the sky. And somewhere the hill looks like an apple, somewhere it looks like a Buddha, and somewhere it looks like a woman?with a baby in her arms who is waiting for her husband. The cruise is just like an interesting practice?of your imagination, which is also good for your health according to some Chinese?doctors. In China, some people were found to lose control of their fingers when they get to a certain age, which is a kind of disease. And the doctor says if you keep practicing your imagination like this and you keep using chopsticks every day, you won’t have that disease at all.
Now ladies and gentlemen, please look to your right hand side, somewhere half way up the hill at the edge, there stands a tiny little rock. If you look at it with your imagination, with the sky at the background, it should look like a woman?with a baby in her arms. There is a sad story about it. Her husband went to fight to defend his country. She came up to the hill every day?to wait for him. She kept waiting and waiting, her husband never came back and she was turned into a stone…
And now here we are at the Yangdi village. Please have a look at the hill at your right hand side. The local people say it looks like a hoof of goat up side down. In local dialect?we say “yangti”, which indeed is the name of this village. However, different people may have different ideas after they practice their imagination. Once, someone said that it looked like a cat’s face, because you can see the 2 ears of the cat easily. Someone else said,” it?looks like there must be a huge MacDonald’s on foot of the hill, because I?already see the golden arches.”?Someone else also said that it looked like a tooth because he was a dentist. The most funny saying that I?have ever heard is, “to?me it looks like a very famous lady singer in US,?Dolly Parton.”?(Author?of the song “I will always love you”, also famous of her big breasts.)
Now everybody, please look at the sheer cliff right in front of us. I want you to focus on the colors of the rocks instead of the shape. Some are black;?some are white, yellow or even purplish. Use your imagination and your learn of art, and you should find out that it looks very much like a traditional Chinese?painting. It is believed that there are nine horses in this painting. You should try your best to find them out. And it is also believed that if you could figure out all 9 of the horses, you should be the NO. 1 intelligent?person in the country, and if you could figuew out 7, the second intelligent. And if you could only find 2, I?am sorry to tell you that it means you are just an ordinary?person. And you know what?if you can see no horse at all? Ha-ha, it only means you are honest!
It is said that the 100 mile Li River is equal to a 100 mile art gallery. Now look at this. Doesn’t it look familiar to you? Yes, this is the Xingping Town! With the blue sky, reflections of green hills in the water, and groves of lush bamboo along, someone says it looks like a fairyland. The background photo of the 20 Yuan note was taken right here!
Besides beautiful scenery, you also will see a lot of other interesting things, like villages, animals, birds…
Since the Li River had been part of the important water way of the Ling Canal in Chinese?history, you could see villages almost every a few miles along the river. Some of the villages are isolated three sides by the mountains and one by the?river. If you want to travel to the villages you could only go by boat. You can’t even see a bicycle?in the village, no mention about cars. Life in the village is simple, hardworking, and self-sufficient, which has remained more or less the same from hundreds of years ago.
During the cruise, you can often see a lot of animals, like water buffalos swimming?along the river. If you see a water buffalo in Africa, you’d better run for your life. But in Guilin, farmers have kept the water buffalos at home as labor force for over 2,000 years. Generally, they are nice and friendly. Well, I?should say they are friendly as long as you don’t offend?them. Let me tell you that a water buffalo doesn’t like flash light. I?learned it in a hard way. Once I?was walking in a village with a group of visitors from UK, we came across a big water buffalo who was feeding himself with tender grass along the river. Those British vistors asked me, “Jack, did you say that a water buffalo is friendly? So, could we take photoes on him?”?I said yes without thinking. But after a couple of flash lights, the big animal’s eyes turned red. I?shouted to them, “Now everyone move behind me! We got to get out of here. But don’t run, just walk slowly and steadily!”?The red-eye water buffalo was chasing us. When we stopped, he stopped. We walked, and he followed. Until about 20 minutes later, I saw a local farmer.
I?asked him, “Hey, is this your water buffalo?”
“Nope.”?The farmer answered.
“I don’t care whose it is. And I will pay you 20 Yuan if you could help us to get rid of it. How about that?”?I said...
Well, quite an adventure!
There are also some interesting birds along the river, like the?cormorants. Cormorant is a kind of bird that flies in the sky and dives into the water, catching fish. You could see them almost in all countries. But in Guilin, local fisherman had ?trained the birds to fish for them. When they go fishing, they always go at night. They put a light in the front of a bamboo raft. As we all know that the insects would chase the light at night instinctively. Consequently, the fish would come around the lights to catch insects and the birds come around the lights to catch fish. And the bird catches a fish it will not swallow it but bring it back to the fisherman. I?was told that a welltrained fishing cormorant is almost as profitable as a labour force in the family.
By the way you know what a bamboo raft is like? Five pieces of bamboo trunk tied together with both of ends bend. Or say, you need a great balance and a lot of experience to ride it. If you see me on the raft, you got to look for me in the river in 2 seconds...
After 4 hours cruise, now here we are in Yangshuo. I?hope you have enjoyed the cruise. And I?wish you could come back in the future with your families and friends. Thank you very much and have a nice day!