Saturday, January 10, 2015

Underground - Reed Flute Cave

Though our travel guide of Guilin did not mention the Reed Flute Cave, we had been told it was worth the visit. The cave was described as massive and beautiful, yet decorated as one would expect. A few pics from our underground journey...

Why oh why does an image of an aquarium need to be in a cave?

Friday, January 9, 2015


In our house, almost every bear is called a panda. Black, brown or white, the bear is a panda. It surprised us to find that the city of Guilin has a zoo inside one of its parks with pandas. Guilin is the major city (location of the airport) that we returned to for a few days before our departure to Beijing. Zoos definitely hold an internal conflict for us. On one hand, we want the girls to see real animals to get the idea of how they look, move, act, etc. on something other than a screen. At the same time, it is depressing to see these animals in zoos and this one was quite typical in its facilities. The girls loved it but we left quite sad.

On the walk to through the main park, several men were water-brushing calligraphy. We stopped to watch and were invited to give a try.

Guilin is surrounded by karst formations and this one is known as the camel rock.

The sign reads "animal appears on a place". I'm not quite sure if we reached the place...

Finally, the pandas! The zoo was almost empty of people (and animals) so the girls had plenty of space to run around and peak in.

Several signs featured a different sort of species but we didn't find them.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cycling and Town

Rain fell a few days while we visited Yangshuo and the days wound up a little less than magnificent. Though spacious, our room quickly became small as the wee ones bounced off walls, climbed on every imaginable surface and insisted on group naps. These rainy, cooler days made the sunny ones oh so much more enjoyable...

The girls are so comfortable in bikes that they often grab quick little naps. Yeah, little travelers! The bike ride into town from the guest house was relatively short. The Giggling Tree had plenty of bikes with carriers to choose from and traffic was low.

The girls have always enjoyed markets. Now, their little fingers want to touch everything that they come across. This is OK with Budha sculptures but it is a good thing that the sausage links were suspended far out of reach.

It was definitely the off-season in Yangshuo. West Street, the "main drag," had few people roaming through the knick-knack shops and restaurants. Imagine peak season when this street is wall to wall with people.

View in downtown Yangshuo

Do not have fun in the water - for your safety, of course...

Scooters jetted up and down small roads with drivers stopping in the attempt to persuade people to take bamboo rafts down the river. We already had a boating experience but headed down to the dock to see the activity. Most of the boats stayed tied together though a few headed downstream with passengers bundled up in puff coats - maybe next time during warmer weather.

Typical shuttle bus

Brilliant! A scooter with a sun shade / rain protector.

Alive and alert for another bike ride

The sign in the distance says "Hand-made beer". Unfortunately, it was not made by a brew master...

XO works out the mechanics of chopsticks as she giggles while Mom struggles to down her hand-made beer.

No problem, just grazing along the bike path...

Bike scenery - the ride was spectacular. The day warmed up to pleasant riding conditions and we followed back roads beside fields, along rivers and through the karst mountains.

Moon Hill - the biking destination

River crossing

Farewell Yangshuo - maybe we'll be back when the little ones are ready to climb your limestone walls.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Break in Yangshuo

After a fun holiday celebration in Beijing, the girls packed their shades and we woke early one morning for the quick trip to the airport and a three hour flight south to Guilin.

A taxi ride later and we landed at the Giggling Tree, a guesthouse nestled amidst the karst formations of Yangshuo. The girls quickly claimed some courtyard territory as we kicked-back after the travel.

The girls recharged their batteries and decided to roam about the tiny little village area where we were staying. Located a short bike ride out of the town of Yangshuo, the guest house provided a nice rural area where we could walk through the fields yet still have some local people around to say hello to.

and see some fun sights - like a baby in a bucket bath! The day was getting a little late when we saw this little one. She was just hanging out and the steam from the bath was rising around her. She seemed so content.

XO & SLM enjoyed walking about and exploring. Chickens roamed everywhere and there were also cows to spot.

Oranges were in season!

The locals seemed to be constantly working. Some zipped around working tourist bamboo boats but others constantly toiled in the fields, carried water or other jobs.

The girls paused in the beauty to let each other know how much they loved each other. Beautiful!

 The ending of another day...