Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Breathtaking President Cruise along Li River (漓江) - Check Out The Beauty of Guiin @ Xing Ping Ancient Town (兴坪渔村) [Guilin, China]

I think it is most appropriate to show the above photo as a starter for this post; my dad with the signature backdrop of Guilin's famous scenery taken at a jetty within Xing Ping Ancient Town.

It demonstrated the fulfillment of his achievement to finally see the picturesque landscape, that he had so often talked about, with his very own eyes. Frankly, there's only so much photographs can do! Even i was in awe by the magnitude of so many limestone karsts! 

The above would be a better reflection of the view right in front of us!

Time to board for a President cruise along Li River; why the president tagline? Because this was the same route undertook by President Sun Yat-Sen back in 1921 and then former US president Bill Clinton in 1998! 

Interior of the boat - squeezy with uncomfortable seats and i really hate to be seated against the direction given my penchant for motion sickness. Never mind, the portrait of Chairman Mao shall protect me from any unwanted ailment. 

Those seated at the windows had a great time marvelling at the scene outside while poor me, seated at the aisle, would have to settle with photographs filled with the human heads. Not complaining since dad was way more excited and i did have more advanced equipment.

A telephoto lens and the knowledge of photoshop to frame a photo (cropping is a fantastic tool)! Although we were in a supposedly more comfortable ferry, i would prefer to take those bamboo rafts for a rustic experience. 

You wouldn't be bored in that one-hour cruise as there would be someone who would explain the sights to you. This gentleman also doubled up as a photographer using the company's camera; you don't have to feel obligated to purchase the photos but if they manage to capture your million dollar smile, just buy them at RM 15 apiece.

Close-up view of the limestone - didn't differ from what we have in Singapore's limestone quarries. Key difference was that we lack the numbers; severely. 

I was eager to step out of the compartment but knowing first timers like us would likely be overly enthusiastic; we were refrained from doing so for safety reasons. 

The "lock up" wasn't long and we were given the green light about ten minutes later! Ah, the great outdoors and the opportunity to take tons of photographs!

Spectacular right?! For this trip, i utilised three cameras; my Nikon D7100, my Olympus Tough TG-3 and lastly, my iPhone that performs exceptionally well when it comes to panoramas! 

Sky was a bit hazy and i bet it would be even more stunning on a clear day! 

Dad posing for me; a role we alternate since both of us had our own DSLR! He had loads of photographs with me in them and happily printed them out to show my relatives! :(

I was the first to get out and within minutes, the bow was swarmed by passengers keen to pick a good spot for photo-taking! The ease of digital photography means one can take photo after photo after photo for like ages! 

After a while, i proceeded to explore the stern of the boat and chanced upon a rather basic kitchen setup! The number of fire extinguishers was excessive and would be better placed away from the gas cylinders! On a lighter note, i was wondering if light snacks would be provided along this cruise.

Water was really shallow.

Another impressive sight loomed ahead of us and the boat stopped for us to take photos. At the moment, we were still not allowed on the second level; something to do with balance and center of gravity! 

The same place where dad managed to masquerade as a native with two cormorants! This session cost only RMB 2 (less than S$0.50) yet brought so much joy to my dad's face! For more information on photo taking with the incredible birds, click here

Random photograph - many of these are lying in my hard disk as i got into trigger happy mood and i am a man of 'few words'. Nevertheless, some of you do favour amateur photos rather than badly-used words. 

Lady sending her two cormorants back after a lucrative time at our boat. I would blog separately on the fishing by cormorants which were interesting! 

Traditional bamboo raft using modern technology.

While travelling to the next leg of our cruise, another staff member brought out a tray of deep fried prawns and fishes (no prize for guessing where they were fried)! Not free by the way at RMB 10 for three skewers. 

Anchor for the boat with just a heavy metal pole! Again, this would give you a rough gauge on the water depth; it can't be too deep! 

Another scenic spot - i believe there would be a beautiful sounding name to it but i couldn't recall. It might be something related to camel humps, i guess.

Dad continued to be super enthusiastic. You know, i am really glad i decided to accompany him on this trip. 

He is older, less active and tends to forget things; time never stops and the least we can do to our parents is to make them happy while we can and while they are still able. You wouldn't want to live with regrets, really. 

Random again.

At long last, the door to the second floor was unlocked with many, including me, who couldn't wait to climb up for an elevated view of the surroundings!

Ferries travelling in an orderly fashion under the backdrop of the cliffs. Imagine the scene a thousand years ago when merchant boats used to traverse the same waterway. 

Proof we were on the second level! 

Among all the scenic spots along this cruise, this left the deepest impression for a very simple reason. This image, minus the boats, was printed on China's currency note! Don't believe? Google for RMB 20 note and prove me wrong! 

Due to the direct link to money, everyone was earnest to take as many photos as possible! Kidding lah, the view was really remarkable (reason why it was on the note in the first place too). 

More of dad; have i shared before that he had an artistic flair when he was younger (before having us) and was an expert on photo-taking and painting still life? It's a pity that circumstances then were not conducive for him to pursue his dreams. He could have been a winner for the cultural medallion! Haha

Cattle on the dried up river bank. Being an urbanite, this kind of things fascinated us and it's kind of ironic we love their meat as much as we love their cuteness. 

On our way back.

I did mention earlier that i would enjoy a more primitive cruise but i guess that perception has changed; an elevated view can be just or maybe even more enjoyable! 

More random pictures of the spectacular terrain. On an unrelated thought, it would be such an unbelievable feat if someone claims to have climbed to the top of every single karst in Guilin! 

A production house filming what appeared to be just the water. Unless it is a water ghost, i don't think there's anyone right in front of their huge ass video camera lens. 

Great - a stopover on land! 

Not exactly the best landing ground and it can be quite slippery for kids who run undeterred by their parents' nagging warnings or adults in a rush to get their pictures taken.

Dad helped to take the photograph for a fellow tour mate who visited Guilin about two decades ago and decided to revisit the place with his wife; i might do the same for Yunnan too but with no shopping stop!

My turn to assist dad; like him, i believe photos trap the memories of our life in the physical format even though i tend to believe in taking everything, be it good or bad. Another difference is that he will print out the photos whereas i will upload them to this blog! 

Another native came by to offer her cormorants as an accessory to our photos; sad to say, she had no business since those who were interested had done so earlier. 

Going back!

It's not even 5pm and the sun appeared to be on a rapid track to close shop for the day! Temperature then was about high 20 degrees celcius although the humidity was a tad lower than Singapore. 

Another panoramic at the ferry dropoff. 

Sunset view taken by my Olympus point and shoot camera. Personally, i feel that picture quality just could not be compared to DSLR but the former does a great job in enhancing certain features that seek to wow. Furthermore, it has a built in GPS even though my purpose of buying it was solely for its capability to take photos in the water. 

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Details of the cruise in Chinese. 


For the itinerary of my tour package (guaranteed no shopping stops) to Guilin via Chan Brothers, please check out the link here.

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