Winter Holiday in Guilin (5)
11-1-2009 (Sunday) Sunny
In winter, Lipu is picturesque as weather drops to 0 degree Celsius. Flowers and meadows were all enveloped in snow, very frosted indeed! After breakfast, we took a boat ride and tried to be the oarmen. Our bodies warmed up with a little activity. Nearby was the famous Tian Gong Cave. This is a natural cave with numerous underground lakes, a spectacular scene but could not be captured on the cameras due to the freezing condition.
Silver Limestone Cave (Yinzi Cave) seemed rather imposing as it stretched for two miles into the interior. It was a warm trip at 26 degrees Celsius and we had beads of perspiration, probably for the first time in Guilin.
In the afternoon we watched how the osprey angled for the fisherman. Three birds stood upright on the bamboo raft. The fisherman released a bird and the bird plunged into the water sliently. Shortly, it came up with a swollen neck. The fishermen scooped up the bird with his net attached to a long pole. He quickly removed a fish of about half-a-kilo in size from the bird's neck. Simple yet amazing lifestyle in a laidback region but rich with culture.
At Yulong River, we truck up a conversation with a local commentator. She revealed it could be very difficult to make a living during the cold season as tourists were few and most boatmen could only have work once in three days. Tourists packed into one boat and each boatman earned only a pitiful 10 Yuan, and she has a salary of 600 Yuan monthly. The commentator also told us: "The stage performances were normally closed for one month and this is nothing new." We felt ripped-off as our guide had pretended not to have a clue. She should be banned by China's Tourism Board as one rotten apple could tarnish hard-earned efforts created by others.
We left Lipu at 3.30p.m. and had a boat cruise. Some two hours later, we went past the open air stage where "Liu San Jie" performances were normally held. As the boat docked at a nearby harbour, we went for dinner. Later, we walked to a popular tourist destination known as West Street, the home of restaurants, bars, cafes, souvenir shops, stores sold a variety of imitation goods. This place does not seem to be as crime infested as what our guide had told us earlier on.