Lion dance

This is only one of the lion dances I saw while in Yangshuo this Spring Festival. Taken with my cellphone on Feb. 10 and stabilized by YouTube’s magic elves today.

Panorama of Guangxi countryside

Panorama of Guangxi countryside
YANGSHUO, GUANGXI — Though the weather was not so wonderful, I hope you can get a sense of how beautiful this scenery is here. Click on the image to embiggen it. Just before I came to Yangshuo, I bought a new Android cellphone, a Chinese brand called XiaoMi. It comes with an 8MP camera (front and back) and this panoramic feature built-in. All for $225.

Not Hanoi, not Beihai, but Nikkor!

Not Hanoi, not Beihai, but Nikkor!
YANGSHUO, GUANGXI — Well, in the end, I traded all intentions of traveling onward for a good deal on a used camera lens. In retrospect, I made the right decision. At the end of my last post, I mentioned the possibility of going either to Hanoi or the oceanside city of Beihai, Guangxi, by bus. Some of those options weren’t as available as I had thought. It is in fact possible to book transport from Yangshuo to Hanoi via Guilin and Nanning for about 550 RMB (about $88). The folks at Trippers Carpe Diem, located in ShiBanQiao Village outside Yangshuo, can make the arrangements, as well as arrange for a tourist visa into Vietnam. The only problem was the Vietnamese consulate in Nanning was closed for the Lunar New Year until the 17th, making a roundtrip to Hanoi by the 22nd a little dicey. So, that junket will need to wait till next time. (This arrangement, by the way, only gets you to Hanoi. Hotels and meals are up to you once there.) The other choice was Beihai, which offered warm and sunny weather. Hotel rates would drop after the 17th — the end of Spring Festival — making that ...

Happy Year of the Snake! 新年快乐!

Happy Year of the Snake! 新年快乐!
YANGSHUO, GUANGXI — This year I am spending the holiday in this picturesque town nestled in the karst ranges of Guangxi province. It’s my second visit and less rushed than the first. My companions on this visit are two Australians from the Sunshine Coast, Judy and Susan. We were all teaching in Jiangmen until last Thursday. This is Susan’s ninth visit to Yangshuo 阳朔, so she’s our tour guide. While not as toasty warm as Jiangmen, Yangshuo is still warmer than Jishou, which was getting sleet and snow a few days ago. We’re staying in a small hotel near the bus station called Fawlty Towers, run by a Chinese family whose members include Basil and Manuel. (Google “Fawlty Towers” if you don’t get the allusions.) It’s snug and has free WiFi. To get here, we took a sleeper bus from Jiangmen. These coaches fit about 30 passengers in reasonably comfortable berths for long journeys. Ours took about 10 hours overnight. We arrived around 6 am not completely rested but not brain dead either. It being the Spring Festival, Yangshuo is much quieter than when I came last spring with a class trip. Many shops are closed and only a few ...
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