Rafting China’s Li River

Visiting China was not easy for me.  I can’t quite figure out how to walk that fine line between sounding like I’m complaining constantly, or conversely, blinding saying everything is awesome. Which is probably how this’ll end up looking if I keep only posting about my very favourite experiences. But I’ll share some of my discomfort… eventually.

So! The Li River! Andrew does all the research for our trips because he loves it, and at the time he was planning our trip to China, I was wrapped up in helping with a local festival. So all I really did was say, “Yep sure let’s go to China.” And then the festival ended, I packed our bags, and off we flew to China, with me not being very mentally prepared at all.

So there was a bunch of stuff that I was not comfortable with on this trip… but you know, probably a large part of this was my own self. I needed to get over myself. And for a little while, on the Li River, I found myself doing just that.

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Those magnificent mountains jutting up from the landscape are karsts. I think I read somewhere that this region inspired the planet in the movie Avatar. I kept trying to imagine trying to climb these things. What a terrifying thought.

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There are two ways to see the karsts from the Li River: by ship, or raft. You can see a ship below, on the left. The right shows a raft, like what we went on.

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If you go on a raft, you only have to share with 2-4 other people. If you go on a ship, you share with 150. So yeah, the raft was the option for us. We shared a raft with a Slovenian mom, Bojana, and her young son.

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I think this is supposed to look like a mural of horses. “Do you see the mural?” our guide asked. I smiled and nodded.  But no.  I could not see the horses.

Then we stopped on shore. Lots of people rushed at us to sell us stuff. At first I was displeased and wanted everyone to get away from me. But then I realized they were selling cold beers and my attitude shifted immediately.

I was so happy in this moment, holding a cold beer, Andrew’s arm around me, standing by these magnificent mountains:

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Once we were back on the raft I became brave and took off my shoes and let my feet touch the water.  It was wonderfully cooling.

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Bliss.

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Then we docked… drove 40 minutes, and ventured out on a two-person raft.  This is what it was like:

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Our guide, Li-Ping, told us that she too had had her wedding pictures taken on a raft, with the karsts in the background.  She told us that the people there “live in a picture”.

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For most of the time, I was thinking, “I can’t believe it.  That I get to see this, and experience it.”  I wish I had been thinking that more, though.

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