Wednesday, April 6, 2016


After I saw the movie Avatar, I knew I had to visit the karsts of China. And now, here we are. These aren't the exact ones that inspired James Cameron, but inspiring they are. Otherworldly.  They are the residue of an inland sea, oddly formed by the tropical monsoons, peppered with caves and hollows. Our hotel for 3 nights, the Yangshuo Mountain Retreat, is outside the hustling, touristy town, alongside the Yulong river, and from our balcony we have views of the karsts, the bamboo-lined river, and the rafts of people who are poled down the river by men in bright red jackets. It is heaven. Little birds flit about and chirp, along with the evening frogs, flowers are abloom, and it is fantastically spring.
We are eating each breakfast and dinner here, because, hey, why wouldn't we? On our last night, we chatted with Franc and his family, a Frenchman who is doing IT work now in Shanghai, then sat a long time at our riverside table. The waitress brought us a lantern, another warm beer and a piece of chocolate cake. Did I not say this was heaven?...Except for the warm beer part. 😯

On this part of our journey, we walked all around, through a village to Moon Hill, a huge limestone window high in the hills. We got lost, or thought we were, and followed some westerners and their guide to a cliff and a cave past rice and taro fields, and trees of blooming jasmine. Jasmine ranks up there with roses and blooming orange trees. Mmmmm. Anyway, wrong spot, nice diversion. We finally got to Moon Hill, got the great views and photo shots, then back to our place to chill. Did I mention that there were water buffaloes in the rice paddies? Also, many roving troops of ducks, surely destined for someone's dinner. Not ours.

 lost amongst the rice paddies and blooming jasmine tea trees....

Jackie told us that everyone wears slippers indoors here. Her kids have crocs for indoor time. At the Mountain Retreat, I picked the panda slippers. Pretty comfy, and China-appropriate. 

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