China (Yangshuo): Another Culture Experience – by Barb

Yesterday we had a fun cultural experience of going to the “Impressions Show” on the river. It was VERY expensive but it came highly recommended. The show was designed by the same man who put together the opening ceremonies show for the Beijing Olympics. A small van came and picked us up along with another Chinese family at 6:30 and we drove through the “streets” of town, swerving around people, bridges, and tuk tuks. Once there, our driver said something to us in Chinese. Fortunately one of the men in the other family could speak a bit of English and he told us we were to follow the driver to get our tickets for the show. Well, that was a feat! The street was packed with thousands of Chinese tourists all shoving their way into this same laneway where you get your tickets. You just have to push your way through. Once we had done that our driver handed us a piece of paper, which we had no idea what to do with! The same helpful man said we could follow him to get tickets. We again swerved and shoved our way through the crowds following a large #8 sign and our helpful Chinese man. The #8 stopped and everyone RAN to get their tickets. Helpful Chinese man took our paper and fought his way in to get our tickets as well as his! Then he told us we had to go to the seating area and find our seats. I wasn’t sure where the boys were supposed to sit because there were no numbers on their tickets but as we got closer the Helpful Chinese Man stopped and picket up 2 folding wooden chairs for his 2 boys so we did the same. Then we fought through another crowd of people to get to our seats. Fortunately we were sitting beside the helpful Chinese man! The boys had to put their wooden chairs and sit where our feet would normally go – a little cramped for Clay but I managed OK!

When the show started no one stopped talking. Of course we couldn’t understand anything because it was all in Chinese! I had read a summary of the story ahead of time and explained it to Clay and the boys but even with that we couldn’t really figure out what was happening! It was quite amazing though. We were all sitting on raised seats looking out over a section of the river in front of the beautiful karst mountains. When the show began the lights went out on our side of the river and lights lit up the mountains. About 600 famers and villagers are used in the show and they come out with their flat fishing boats and fishing nets and move to music. It was really something to see.IMG_0186

As it came toward the end I was a bit worried about how thousands of us crammed into this small space would get out but when we were about 10 minutes from the end it became clear it wouldn’t be a problem = as had happened with another show we saw, the Chinese just started to get up and leave – I guess they were also worried about getting out – so if you wait until the end there is hardly anyone left! It was very pricey but definitely a memorable experience!

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