Pat Silveria
 

A DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT APPROACH TO GUILIN/YANGSHUO

When flying into GUILIN, if you are blessed with no rain and a window seat, the descending view from the belly of the large silver bird that carries you into this wonderland will leave you speechless. Strange peaks covered in varying blankets of greenery seem to dot the landscape on no apparent pattern of heights.....some seem to be as small as a two story home and others reaching to the heavens from five to eighteen stories high.

Seldom do you get to enjoy these up front and up close; they are seen from the window of your hotel, the deck of the LI RIVER cruise boat chock full of tourists and cameras all jockeying for the best position at the deck for that unimpeded view...

Don’t get me wrong, GUILIN has a charm about it, the old town area has been refurbished and has a great walking, shopping, eating street and those lovely REED FLUTE CAVES, the Hotels are clean and have great service.

The LI RIVER CRUISE is somewhat restful and on a good day (one with no rain, no hot sunshine) with the mist settling low to reflect the beauty of the bamboo shrouded banks and the KARST FORMATIONS in the background, you are blessed with the best of the conditions for pictures. The end of the river trip unceremoniously dumps you out at YANGSHUO for a short walk of shopping along the river bank.....hawkers and vendors in multitude and if lucky an open electric car ride to the parking lot for the bus that started you out from the GUILIN end.

Nice, but you follow in the wake or lead the pack, depending on how early you got started, all very much the same pattern.

WHAT IS IT A PERSON WISHES TO SEE WHEN VISITING GUILIN?
A question our director asked himself.
If you have read his introduction of this quaint, as yet unspoiled village and LUCY OUR RURAL VILLAGE GUIDE, you will discover as he did, the ESSENCE OF GUILIN WAS FOUND IN YANGSHUO.

We have assembled on the web site, comments from our tour members in response to this uncommon visit, as yet unspoiled by total commercialism, with the exception of FOREIGN STREET for shopping. The lovely Paradesa Hotel which could be compared to a little hideaway in the tropics complete with no elevator but willing bellman to carry the bags up the single flight of stairs, and every amenity contained in the big 5 star hotels is available in your room. What makes this experience blow your mind, especially if you have the artist’s eyes is to partake of breakfast on the verandah ( a short walk from the main hotel building).

Imagine eating your morning repast under the shadow of what seems to be a forest of KARST FORMATIONS....the hotel is surrounded. The town is surrounded and the river tributary is surrounded. The river also sports a bamboo raft with fisherman showing off his trained fishing cormorant, for pictures, every 15 minutes....announced by a melodious call.

REGENT CHINA TOURS prides itself on searching out unusual approaches to the usual world heritage sites when possible, to eliminate the commercialism that is quickly creeping up on all out of the way normal tourist spots....YANGSHUO is no exception and we can only hope this unspoiled and romantically beautiful scenery will continue to make your heart sing, your senses more in tune with the surroundings and above all stimulate your appetite for the unusual as well as your need for delicious home style food. Which brings us to LUCY, OUR RURAL VILLAGE GUIDE and HER HUSBAND, who cooks....
.

****** IT’S MIRACLE, LUCY ! ******

LUCY picked us up at the GUILIN airport and she potted us first....bouncing with excitement to meet her new group, she attached herself to the cart with the most luggages and charged off toward the van, pushing her heavy load with the agility of a young boy.

LUCY is about 50s and maybe 120 pounds soaking wet, pure muscle, dressed in blue jeans, wind breaker and tennis shoes on this warm tropical evening.....She brought with her, the youngest niece to help out for the evening herding and another niece with her taxi to carry luggage. It became apparent to me almost immediately that I was not dealing with our usual professionally trained guide when the lack of normal introduction to the area was not forthcoming from LUCY.....Although LUCY spoke enough adequate English to make her instructions understood, she relied on her niece to educate the group about population, GDP, what the local farmers grew, etc., when prompted past her shyness.

As we set off the next morning, I had a list of questions needed answering, leading off with how did we find an efficient guide that had no pertinent information on the area, no history to impart, but able to plan the day and escort us here and there....what was her story? I was growing more
frustrated as the morning wore on. Millie, our national guide felt and understood my questions. Next thing I heard thru my musing was ITS A MIRACLE?!!

WHAT,,,,what's a miracle Millie......LUCY.....THAT IS WHAT...she said.....Here is the story and I know I will never do it justice but it answered my questions and I agreed. It’s a miracle.

LUCY, born some 40 odd years ago, to the then harsh village life in a very backward YANGSHUO, MOON HILL VILLAGE so named for the big open circle formation at the top of the close KARST Formation. She grows to a tough and sold young woman, marries and begins her family....as a child and young bride she climbs the mountains to collect sticks and branches to bundle onto her back and carry for sale to the villages for the cooking fires. This grueling work is done daily as well as her housekeeping, child rearing and help with the farming.

LUCY does not learn to read or write. LUCY is a farmer, a mother, a seller of sticks. Lucy gives birth by herself on the mountain. Stick selling has become too risky with three children and the hiking tourist trade has discovered MOON HILL and the surrounding areas for their scenic beauty which the villagers take for granted, they live it daily. LUCY DECIDED to make her life easier and hikes up the mountain carrying for sale, snacks, water and drinks.

Now she has the hikers to sell to and she can rest while working and keep better watch on the children who are small enough to keep close.....

LUCY LEARNS ENGLISH from the hikers and tourists who purchase her much appreciated liquids and snacks on that high place. True to her natural instincts she knows that if she keeps this up, she is not only gaining some education that may help in the future she is learning a language she missed by not having any schooling.

Happy in learning and happy in making some money.

LUCY finds that the city people love to get away to the country and experience the life there by actually staying in the homes of the inhabitants. LUCY AND HER HUSBAND begin to change their lifestyle to include the city dwellers in their home....THEY BECOME A FARMERS HOTEL....They now have A THREE STORY HOME, WESTERN TOILET FACILITIES COMPLETE WITH NEIGHBORS CHICKEN ROOSTING BEHIND ONE TOILET (refusing to leave), A LOVELY KITCHEN AND PATIO AND THE BEST HOME COOKED MEALS, prepared by the husband of LUCY, what a treat.

****** A MIRACLE OF AWESOME PROPORTIONS.******

A trip to YANGSHUO with LUCY, surrounded by what only the GODS COULD HAVE CREATED, rafting down the LI RIVER ON BAMBOO RAFTS, LISTENING TO THE MEN AND WOMEN SING BACK AND FORTH TO EACH OTHER, WATCHING THE CORMORANTS FISH AND THE WATER BUFFALO ON THE BANKS PULL THE PLOWS, YOU ARE TRANSPORTED TO ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE AND A DEEP DESIRE TO COME BACK.

The spirits of YANGSHUO AND OF LUCY AND HER HUSBAND are being fulfilled in the continuation of LUCY’S STORY. Although LUCY can not read or write Chinese, but speaks some English, she has three children she is putting thru university and helping her niece with her studies. LUCY openly discusses her family and her history if you ask her, she is a proud woman and has every right to be so.

Our Director’s reasoning for the use of a non-traditional professionally educated guide in YANGSHUO was to further enhance the experience of an as yet unspoiled wonderland experience. LUCY’s business card reads PROFESSIONAL BICYCLE TOUR GUIDE.

I would say Zhuo Chu Feng, English name Lucy is one of the most enthusiastic guides we have
encountered...What she lacks in education, she more than makes up in the love of sharing her small part of the world.

LUCY has carried on her female tradition of when born to bare the burdens until laid down, to finish. But this woman refused to continue her preset steady pace of trudged and tragedy, that fill the lives of the rural village people all over the world .

Not only is the essence of GUILIN IN YANGSHUO, the ESSENCE OF CHINA CAN BE FOUND IN LUCY. A MIRACLE OF AWESOME PROPORTIONS.

I hope you will let us introduce you to LUCY and YANGSHUO sometime soon and thank you for being interested in travel with Regent.

Pat Silveria,
Senior Consultant
Beijing Ground Operations
Regent China Tours

 
For booking of this special tour, please contact:
Yin
Beijing Office
Regent China Tours
Email xy0611@gmail.com