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Shopping the Lijiang River

Clip Art Money Bill

“George Washington had a vision for this country. Was it three days of uninterrupted shopping?” - Jeff Melvoin

Clip Art Money Bill

October 15, 2006

Almost as soon as the cruise started, we saw different ones come up right along side our big boats in their small rafts. They had a variety of Chinese trinkets and souvenirs to sell us. These were available at a good price and sometimes even a better price depending on one’s bargaining skills. The faces were simple and friendly, working hard to make sure that we got a good deal whatever it was that we bought. I bought a couple souvenirs, something to take home for friends and something for myself to remind me of this special cruise in this scenic country among this simple, idyllic life, but perhaps not so simple as it seems, as these people were busy with selling, fishing and working their rice paddies. I bought myself a simple fisherman on a raft to remind me and leave me wondering what it must be like to live along this river using it as the main highway to one’s life, a scenic highway bustling with activity and economy. They were enterprising, as I was buying, the transaction was interrupted by a cell phone call, the individual quickly ending the call so that the transaction could be completed, showing that life along the river is a mixture of the ancient and the new.

China Lijiang River

China Lijiang River

Photo Lijiang River

Photo Raft


A buffet lunch was offered on the boat, and for an appetizer we were served fish from the river for a small price. I’m a fish and seafood lover, and this appetizer offered variety to my fish and seafood tastes. Rodney was adventurous and tried some and I think he liked it. Wayne had some, but he didn’t seem to be enjoying it as much, but I could be wrong. To this fish lover, though, it was among the best fish I have ever had, as it was along this scenic river among those working a hard, but hopefully satisfying life.

China Lijiang River


When we got off at Yangshou, I had an opportunity to buy a few more souvenirs, including a nice picture book titled “Guilin – A Fantastic Dreamland”, for about half the price that they were selling these same books on the boat. Rodney had bought his book on the boat, but I knew it paid to wait and deal with the people on the river or on the street, and I was glad that I waited. So much more was available to browse and buy as we made our way back to the bus, but time was getting tight as it was getting later in the day, so there was not much time to stay and browse.

Besides, I had what I wanted, a few souvenirs to keep these scenes etched in my mind for a long time.

China Lijiang River


Sleeping

Dinner was on our own at the hotel. We ended up at the bar and ordering sandwiches and such from the menu there, nothing fancy and nothing Chinese. I got the impression that Wayne and/or Rodney were hungering for something that seemed American. We thought about McDonald’s or KFC, and I wandered around a bit to find those. They were around, but not easy to find or get to from the hotel. In the end, we decided it was easiest just to eat at the hotel bar and this fit our appetite at the time.

About this time, Rodney had massage on his mind. We had heard that there was a massage parlor next door and so we wandered in. I wondered what these young staff must have thought of this elderly 89 year old man in his wheelchair wanting a massage. They were very respectful and friendly, although at times Rodney seemed to be a bit frustrated as he communicated his strong desire for his massage, and not just a foot massage, he wanted a full body massage. The staff could speak English, but between their accent and Rodney’s hearing, communication was difficult at times. I was glad to be there to help translate. Such communication difficulties were becoming somewhat typical, but it did not stop us from enjoying our China travels, Rodney and I enjoyed the challenge. Once they were clear what Rodney wanted, to them it was no problem, I helped Rodney up to the massage table, but not until he stripped down to his underwear, as this is how Rodney felt a full body massage could be given to him, even if staff said he did not have to remove his clothes. So I left them alone and sat in the waiting room for perhaps 45 minutes, wondering how it might go for Rodney on the massage table. When Rodney came out, he appeared fresh and new in his suit, I don’t think I ever saw such a big smile on his face, so apparently it went great!

Coffee Coffee


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