Monday, June 28, 2010

Exploring the Countryside

Once we got off the boat, we walked a few blocks up to our hotel (luckily we were not lugging our bags...while we were cruising the river, our driver took the bags to the new hotel for us). Next we had planned to do a bike ride out into the country, but given that it was a bit rainy and none of the four of us had been on a bike in quite a while, we opted for an alternative means of transport:

Oh yeah. William called it a golf cart but it reminded me more of a tram at Disneyland.

And here we are, riding in style :) So here's what we saw, with minimal narration from me because a picture is worth a thousand words (and I'm writing this when I should be getting ready for work this morning, ha!):

We drove through a tiny town (maybe two, it was kind of hard to tell) and a lot of the buildings looked like this. Lots of dogs and ducks running around and we saw several pigsties (not like "your room is so messy it looks like a pigsty" but really a place where a pig lives type of pigsty).

I love the reflection on the water, doesn't that look neat??

So we're out here in a place that closely resembles the middle of nowhere, and on the bank of this river there's this lady who has a table set up with a laptop and she's surfing the Internet. From the middle of nowhere. Too bad we didn't get a picture of her...

It's going to be hard to pick photos from this batch for my scrapbook (whenever I can get around to that....) Missy and Bennet took quite a few pictures too but I didn't go through theirs really when I put together this post, other than the one of us on the tram/golf cart thing. Suffice it to say, we took *lots* of pictures pretty much everywhere we went.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Splendid, Phase 4

I'm taking a short break from the China pictures to bring you an update on my stitching project. So here is how it looks right now:

I've made *lots* of progress since the last time I posted a picture. The border is all done, and the sky is done (the clouds are much yellower than they look on the sample picture, but I think they'll look alright once the mountains are stitched). I have completed 18,101 stitches, so I am just a bit over 53% done. That means I'm officially over halfway finished! Kind of hard to believe. I'm not sure what section I want to start on next although I'm considering the oranges on the left side of the design. Or else the mountains right under the sky (you can see their silhouette right now). The chart covers 12 pages (ok, so several are partial pages) and I now have at least one stitch done on every single page of the chart, but I've only completely finished one page as well. If I do the oranges next, I'll finish off two more pages, which would be nice...but I can't stitch right now, I have some birthday cards to make. Back soon with more China pics :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cruising the Li River

Wow, what a week it's been! I was crazy busy at work all week and then we got the news that we'll be moving next ENGLAND. Squuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Anyway, it's going to stay crazy at work for the next few weeks at least since I just got a new boss too, but I'm hanging in there. And I'm back with *lots* of pictures today!

So when I last left off, we had finished out the day in the mountains (and all those zillions of stairs). The next morning, we got up and checked out of our hotel, and then embarked upon a river cruise on the Li River. Here's the boat we were on:

Well, that's three boats, but we were on one of them, I forget which. We were set to do about a 60-kilometer cruise up the river. It took a little bit after we boarded before the boat left the dock, so we staked out our seats and...

Played some more Uno :) Throughout our trip, we played Uno at a lot of the hotels and airports, anytime that we were too tired to go exploring on our own anywhere (or, in the case of the airports, were unable to explore anywhere once we looked through the shops in the terminals). Anyway, once we got moving, we all went out on the deck to look around and take some photos.

It was a pretty decent-sized boat, maybe 100 people? And lucky for me, big enough and the river calm enough that I didn't have any issues with motion sickness (I think this was the first time I went on a boat after the ill-fated whale watching expedition last year).

Ah, once again we have no feets. This is the "Captain Morgan" pose that Lee and Bennet seem to do for pictures just about everywhere we go :)

Ever seen a little old lady with blue hair? Yes? Ok, then how about purple?

Not just a *little* purple either! And is she picking that other person's pocket?!

We saw lots of funny-shaped mountains and water buffalo.

Me and my sweetie pie!

Bennet and Missy. But you knew that already because you've all been looking at China pictures and they've been in lots of them :)

Lee was in photography heaven...we have a *ton* of pictures from the river boat cruise, so I'm just trying to cherry-pick the best ones and it's still a lot of pictures.

More cormorants to go fishing on the river.

We were warned by our tour guide before we left that there were some tiny boats that would come up and latch onto our boat and try to sell the tourists a bunch of junk. We did see quite a few, but we already knew that everything they had was junk, so we ignored them...the Australian tourists on board, however, did not, which of course made more and more of them latch on to our boat.

Wonder how much of that stuff they actually sell every day? Doesn't seem like a fun way to make a living to me...and imagine how cold and wet their feet are all day.

Missy and I got these hats a couple months before we left just because we thought they were too cool (and cheap--seven bucks). Do we look like movie stars? Maybe? :)

My hat kept trying to fly off, so I didn't wear it for too long. Missy had better luck with hers though.

Lee is holding a 20-RMB bill; the picture on one side is of these hills here. I don't think we kept one of the 20s...we do have a little bit of Chinese money still though. And some Hong Kong coins that I need to take out of my yen purse.

We saw this pagoda up on the hill as the boat was getting ready to dock at the end of the cruise. We ate lunch on the boat (didn't take pictures of that part) and then got off the boat about 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

Lee and our tour guide, William.

And here's the four of us inside the boat not too long before we docked. The river cruise and the trip into the mountains were Lee's absolute favorite parts of the whole China trip. The only bad thing is now we have a mountain of photos to sort through and he doesn't want me to print any out until he goes through and edits our favorites. Looks like it's going to be a while before I have a China scrapbook :p But that's okay, at least I'm writing it all down here and I still have my little red book that I wrote in while we were there.

Gotta run and bring Lee something for lunch since he is working today (even though it's Saturday). Toodles!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pink Elephants on Parade

After the 2+ hour ride back to town (no issues with rockslides on this trip) we went to this place:

Elephant Hill is like the symbol of Guilin, you'll see why it's called Elephant Hill in a minute.

K, so mostly the elephants are gray, not pink, but I couldn't resist naming my blog post after that song just because I like it.

Just for funsies...

They had quite a few elephant statues around the park, so I thought I'd share one or two of Lee's more artsy shots.

It was just a little bit sprinkly while we were here so we didn't stick around for too we were tired, what with the mountain-climbing and rockslide and all.

So here's a picture of Elephant Hill itself. The locals say that it looks like an elephant putting its trunk in the water to drink, and they've got some other elephant-related stories about the area too.

A picture of some cormorants; there are Chinese fishermen on the Li River who fish using these birds. They put a ring around their necks so that when the birds dive for fish, they can't actually swallow the biggest ones. Seems kind of mean to the birds, but that's how they've done it for, like, ever.

Proof that we were there!

I liked this bridge with the elephants all over it, I thought it was kinda neat.

So *I* took an artsy photograph of it!

More statues out in the water; some of them are used to moor boats.

One more elephant for you; these decorated the fences all around the park.

So after this, we were dropped off back at our hotel and then we went to dinner at Rosemary's, and after that we walked a couple blocks to take some pictures with pagodas:

Which Missy keeps calling "pegonias". Like a cross between pagoda and begonia, I guess; a fun mishmash nonetheless.

We got no feeeeets! And that's all she wrote for the day.