Thursday's Child: River Rafting in China

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I’ve written before about China, and how one of my favorite traits of the country was the comfortable coexistence of the ancient and the modern. This was seldom more apparent than the day we went river rafting.

We were staying in the Yangshuo area, in rural southern China.  While there, we hired two rafters to take us down the Meeting Dragon river.  Rafts are built in the traditional style, using a series of logs lashed together.  The only modifications were the lawnchairs we sat in, and the plastic bags they placed on our shoes to keep our feet dry. 

As we drifted down the river, we were astonished by the beauty of the limestone karst mountains we passed.  The only sound came from one of the boatsmen, who whistled music that sounded as if it had been passed down for a thousand years.  If I closed my eyes, I wondered if I’d open them again in the 12th century.

We passed over a small set of rapids, and the rafts were steered to the shore.  Upon getting out, we were led to a couple of tents nearby.  I was puzzled – our guide had clearly said we’d travel to the bridge, and I could still see it ahead.

This was just a stop, and it was their one concession to technology.  The people in the tents had taken our photos with digital cameras as we traveled over the rapids, and were now ready to show us the images on their computer screens.  For a small sum, they would be happy to print them out and laminate them for us!

And now we have a very modern memento of our very ancient ride down the Meeting Dragon river.


41 comments:

Angela Felsted said...

Beautiful pictures. I envy you your boat ride.

Faith said...

What a beautiful pictures Beth. I wish I was there girl. The boat ride seems like a lot of fun.

Jennifurla said...

what a cool thing to do

Joanne said...

Oh how beautiful! You are so adventurous in all of your travels...that boat ride being evidence of that fact!

allieksmith said...

It seems like you have been everywhere and in every country! Where HAVEN'T you been?!

Angie's Recipes said...

I have been to Guilin/Yangshuo...well,...more than a decade ago ;-)) I would love to visit it again.

Rita said...

Love your scenes and memories.

A Canadian Foodie said...

Thank you for sharing this. There is nothing like traveling. Nothing. And, if someone sneaks a great pic of you in a beautiful background and gets to make a little money so you can save a memory accessible no other way.... horray for them. GORGEOUS. What a fantastic opportunity you afforded yourselves. That is what I live for and I appreciate hearing about your trips, too! What did they feed you???
:)
Valerie

Peggy said...

What an amazing experience! Definitely think it would be serene to be out there!

FOODESSA said...

The coexistence of the ancient and the modern got summed up pretty well after your wonderful experience Beth. I really appreciate sneaking these small moments with you and your cherished adventures. Travel, is certainly one of the aspects of life that is very prescious. It's great that you manage to experience this so well ;o)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Belinda said...

What beautiful photos - that must have been some trip. I love the old school computer - that's one big screen!

Joanne said...

So peaceful ... especially the way you did a little time travel on this river journey, too. What a moment to be in.

Kelly said...

You are an adventurer. And wow, gorgeous photographs.

Sue said...

I like that you pointed out the contrast of the ancient to the modern:) Interesting.
Beautiful reflection of the mountains in the water!

Lydia K said...

Oh I miss traveling! It's hard with little ones at home. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

Carol said...

Beautiful travels! Such great shots! You go to such amazing places!

Jess said...

That's crazy! Talk about pulling you out of the 12th century. I remember a canoe trip where I was starting to feel completely serene, even among the buzzing of a nasty group of mosquitos...then a cell phone's buzz joined the throng of biters and ruined the moment :) I'm really glad you have the photo of this trip though!

The karst mountains are gorgeous and contrast nicely with the driver's (boat captain?) suit jacket :)

Ann said...

What beautiful serene photos. Lovely

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

It's just hysterical that they pulled you over. But your photos are LOVELY.

What I always get a kick out of is when you're in a foreign country, and everything really does look like the paintings you've seen. It's beautiful, wonderful and surreal all at once. I spent my entire drive through the French countryside with my face plastered to the window because I just could not get enough of the trees!

katerina said...

I wish I was in that boat. The scenery looks so peacful and beautiful.

My Little Space said...

This is the place I'm planning to visit in future. The view is absolutely breathtaking. And another place is 'jiu zhai gou' but not sure that place is open to visitors or not after the terrible land slide & earthquake a couple of years back! Thanks for sharing such beautiful post. Have a great day.
Blessings, Kristy

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh! I knew it was Yangshuo the moment I saw the picture! I remember those rapids, and those folks with their computers! Wasn't it the most extraordinary river? We hired bikes and rode along it, then we loaded the bikes onto rafts and took the rafts back. The scenery was incredible -- I felt as if I wouldn't have been surprised if a dinosaur had come crashing through the forest on either side of the river!

Barbara said...

You are so well-traveled Beth! How fortunate for you (and us) and what an interesting and exciting trip down the river this must have been.
There is peace and beauty in your photos.

Grapefruit said...

what an awesome, peaceful experience. . being pulled into the 12th century. wow!
Thanks so much for sharing!

comfortablydomestic.com said...

You have taken the most amazing vacations. What wonderful memories!

Janet Johnson said...

What beautiful scenery! And wow, makes me want to go to China.

I really love hearing about all your adventures!

Sweet And Crumby said...

That's pretty funny...the computer and photo print out. The scenery is stunning. Lucky you. Beautiful photos as well. Happy TGIF!

Valerie said...

Wow! What an interesting fusion of the ancient and the modern. Your pictures are spectacular, especially that first one! Let's hope these beautiful places will stay in tact. :-)

Mary said...

I loved China. We've been twice and I'd love to go again. Your photos are wonderful. I am new to your blog and have had a great time browsing through your earlier entries. You've created a great place to visit and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Monet said...

How stunning...all of your travels inspire me so much. Ryan and I aren't making a lot of money, but we are saving up to go to Japan in the fall, and I can't wait. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory. Your kind words on my blog brighten my day...I hope your weekend is full of joy and love!

Brownieville Girl said...

What an amazing journey - fantastic photos and beautifully described as always.

Emily said...

Incredible photos!

Cate Manning said...

Those pictures make me breathe more deeply. What amazing mountains - just beautiful! Thanks for sharing snippets of the ancient in our midst...

Chow and Chatter said...

wow your the coolest traveler ever love it thanks for the congrats

Medeia Sharif said...

Those pictures are beautiful. Perhaps I'll visit Asia one day.

Have a great weekend.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I love reading tales of adventure. Those pictures are absolutely stunning!

LDH said...

So beautiful! What an amazing trip! Great photos!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I often only hear about China's major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, so it's easy to forget about these more serene regions. The mountains and river looks amazing.

jillbert said...

What a neat adventure. I shouldn't be surprised that they have the technology to do that, but I am!

a moderate life said...

Hi Beth, what a blessing to be able to raft in China! My father is Greek but he was born and raised in Shanghai and I hear wonderful stories of the country all the time. He took my mother back a few years ago and showed her where he grew up and even went back to his old University! He said it had changed so much but then, as you move away from the cities it is still timeless. What a wonderful experience for you! I am now following your lovely blog! All the best! Alex

whitewaterriver said...

Really pretty amazing place.

River Rafting

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