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A Visit to the Beautiful Chinese Countryside  
By Dian Thomas

Visiting the country in China is such a highlight. It took me several trip to make it out to the county. Many of the tourist sites are
in the big city but the color of the people is in the country. This week my adventure is a bike ride into some of the most beautiful
places here in China. I am in the south part of China in a town called Yangshuo. I have now been here two weeks and have
met people from all over the world. A boat ride down the Li River is a must if you come to China. The mountains here are likenothing that I have ever seen in the world. They are made of limestone and seen everywhere you look.

This charming Chinese man wanted to make sure that these flowers stay on my head for the photo. They are made by the local ladies and we bought it along the road as we road our bike into the country. The flowers only cost about a $1.00.

As we rode along the small country road we came across this woman taking her cows out to eat some of the green grass along the side of the road. They just seem to go about their work and do not pay much attention to the occasional tourist that may be out for a ride to learn more about China.

Water buffalo are the work machine of the fields. This young lady was about 17 and was out to feed the buffalo in the afternoon.

The buffalo is eating right next to a field of rice. The rice fields can be seen everywhere and are so green. They are usually wet with a few inches of water. This area is very tropical and reminded me a lot of Hawaii. It has been very hot and humid since I have been here. We wanted the girl to let us take a photo of her face but she was too shy and told us no each time we asked. We worked on the project for about 20 minutes then decided that she was not going to let us take her photo.

As you ride along the countryside there are many people out working in the fields. I am never sure of what they are doing but it is interesting to see them work and to watch them go and come in the early morning and late afternoons. This is a little village that we rode to. The houses that you see in the background are usually occupied by several generations. Here there is much respect for the older generation. Most important is the grandfather, then the grandmother, then the oldest son and on down the family tree.

After a morning ride Tuula, a lady that came from Australia and now has lived here for seven years, and I, decided to catch a bamboo boat and go down the river. We put our bikes behind us and soon were on about a 2 1/2 hour ride on this bamboo boat. The countryside was amazing.

Here you can see our bikes that we rented for the day for about $1.50. Our young Chinese boatman was eager to have us ride with him as this is how he makes his living. Bamboo is the wood of choice to build many things here. There are bamboo forests all around here.

This Chinese lady was afraid to get her shoes wet so had matching plastic bags to put her feet in. One of the activities as you make your way down the river is a water fight. Many of them have buckets and water guns and are ready for friendly exchanges. Although we were not prepared it was fun to watch them turn into children as water was exchanged by many boats. The Chinese are usually very friendly and want to say hello and have at least a sign language conversation with you.

Seeing the people go about their daily tasks is just one of the many interesting things to do as one floats down the river. I have seen people, a farmer with a water buffalo, and motor bike cross this bridge at different times. Each is a wonderful photo opportunity.

Here you can see the many bamboo boats making their way down the river. For me it seems like there is a photo opportunity everywhere you look. I am sure that I take about 300 to 400 photos a day. I met some people the other day from Virginia that said they were each taking about a thousand photos a day. They were here to take photos and go back and develop a business with the photos that they were taking.

At the end of everyday I stop to reflect and wonder how I could be so formate to be here and to see some of the wonders in this part of the world.

Dian Thomas had spent her career in the media writing books and sharing ideas with people across America. Now her journey takes her to China where she is preparing to share the things that she learns with the people that tour with her.

   
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