The limestone mountains of the Li River valley

Guangxi Province is home to some amazing geology.  I went a bit snap happy today as we sailed up the Li River for over 4 hours, amongst the Limestone mountains.

If this blog software works as expected, this is the order of the pictures:

  1. Heading off in the flat bottomed boats
  2. The first of the limestone mountains.  The peaks that remain are actually a mix of limestone and granite, making them stronger than the surrounding limestone, and hence why they have survived the erosion.
  3. The large green fingers of vegetation to the left of this photo is bamboo and it's bushy leaves.  Appeared in some hidden dragon film thingy apparently.
  4. Cormorants ready to head out for a day's fishing - see the HSBC ad for more details, or even better, the BBC's Wild China programme (DVD available now from Amazon for less than 9 quid).
  5. Boat-side traders get ready to meet us in the middle of the river, and flog us some of their wares.
  6. More limestone
  7. Yet more limestone
  8. The Loo!
  9. the view from the loo!  Must be the best view I have ever wee'd to!!
  10. Cat's Ears mountain formation
  11. Same as above, but in close-up, and with tasteful inclusion of bamboo plants.
  12. Another river-boat overtakes us.
  13. Oh yum - some Snake Wine being dished out (it was gross apparently).
  14. This is the view that appears on the back of the 20 Yuan note.
  15. This is the back of the 20 Yuan note!
  16. Somebody's dinner cooking
  17. Okay - the last limestone / bamboo combo.
  18. Me in a wee cab thingy avoiding getting soaked just after getting off the bod - it was tipping it down.

"Impressions" show at Yangshuo

If you are ever in the Yangshuo area, you should not miss the "Impressions" performance by Sanjie Liu - who also directed the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It is astonishing.  It's performed out of doors in a the theatre pictured here, with a backdrop of limestone mountains.  I have 'borrowed' these pictures from the programme website (, which has many more photos of the water stage it is set on), as I didn't get many good shots while I was there, plus I didn't want to watch the whole thing through a view-finder!

There are around 100 or so professional actors and 600 extras from the local villages.  The extras and the some of the actors are also river workers who have spent much of their lives making a living from the Li River.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

This is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Jianfu Temple, Xi'an city.  It is one of the survivors of the Cultural Revolution (on account of it being too big to easily smash to bits!).

The white statues are what the posh people used to tie their horses to when they visited the temple back in the day.

Dumplings and dancing

Dumplings are a traditional dish of this area, and the Xi'an Dumpling Banquet gives you a post-dumpling performance too.

The dumplings are what we would consider ravioli, that is, a pasta parcel containing anything from chilli chicken to sweet walnut filling.  Very tasty.

Terracotta Warriors Part 1

The Terracotta Warriors were discovered by a farmer digging a well on his farmland back in 1974.  he dug up a head, and handed it over to the Government, who despatched expert archeologists to look into the matter.  The find is now world famous.

First brought to the UK in 1985 when they visited Edinburgh (it was a full 22 years later before London secured a display), the best place to see these treasures is at the site of the find.  The photos here show:
  1. The grand entrance to the site
  2. The surrounding farmland which is typical of that under which the warriors are buried
  3. The building over Pit 1, where they were first found in the well, and where the are restored to their battle configuration.
  4. The actual farmer that found them!