Monday, April 23, 2007

An Absolute Dream Land

Hey all!!!
I just got back from an unreal weekend here in the PRC. We took a bus up to Guilin and then a river cruise to Yangzhou. If you didn't know, those are postcard China. In fact, it looks something like this...

Pretty unreal eh?

I spent so much time asking myself if what I was seeing was real. The limestone karsts (those weird looking hills) looked so fantastic that I felt that there should be faeries and dragons running around.

The highlight came on Saturday when we took a very relaxing bamboo raft ride down the river. On the way down the river there were people set up with booths or rafts of their own trying to sell tourists a variety of food and drinks. So I got to spent 5 Yuan (about 85 cents in Canada) for a 600mL bottle of beer. I fucking love China.

Don't get me wrong, there were some ugly sides as well. Yangzhou in particular is an absolute tourist trap. It always bums me out to see beautiful places get ruined by mass tourism. It reminded me so much of Niagara Falls, so much beauty amid so much cheese.

Worst of all though was the bike ride to the bamboo raft. While it was absolutely amazing to get out into the country and ride by some rice fields, it made me really sad. I saw an incredible amount of poverty along the way. It made me so very sad to see people covered in dirt with no shoes on begging for money. The houses were so run down I wondered what purpose they even served. It always makes me sad when people are so poor around such beautiful areas, like Cape Breton or the Scottish Highlands but magnified immensely.

What made me even sadder was to think about how much worse other people have things. As far as developing countries, China is probably the richest one there is. I could only imagine how much my heart would be breaking in a less fortunate country.

Anyway, I don't want to end on a downer so here are a couple more pictures of the unreal Li River Scenery. If any of you are planning on going to Asia, you need to make this a priority, you will not be disappointed!!!

Until next time,


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