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!

China (Yangshuo): Visiting Moon Hill and the Golden Water Cave – by Caleb

Today we went to the Golden Water Cave and Moon Mountain. Moon Mountain is a mountain with a huge hole in it. It got its name because the hole is shaped like a crescent moon. We had to do an hour long hike up the mountain to the hole. On the way up we kept making fun of the signs. They said things like, “Caution, rainy days is slippery” aDSCF9135nd “Beware of slipping!”. The view was excellent at the top of Moon Hill and there was a 74 year old lady selling sprite from her little Styrofoam cooler at the top (so we had to buy 1!). It was great but I don’t think I’d be interested in going again. It’s one of those one-time see sorta’ things.

The water cave was great as well. We had an English guide (thank heavens!) to show us the five km long cave. My favourite parts were the mud bath and hot spring. The mud bath was amazing! I got filthy dirty but I had so much fun. Scientists have shown that mud is good for your skin. They have shown that it makes your skin smooth and relieves aches and pains. Also, in the mud bath you can lay back in the mud and spread out your arms and you will float! Seriously! My dad who is 230 lbs laid in the mud and he floated up to the surface. It was great!DSCF9118

The hot spring was my favourite part of the cave. A hot spring is pretty much water that has been heated up by an active volcano and it comes up to the surface. The spring was 30 cm deep and about as hot as a hot tub. Beside the hot spring was the “ice cold” spring that felt freezing after you went in the hot spring.

Overall, Moon Hill and the Golden Water Cave were both great experiences and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see them.