Slow Boat in China

Nicholas Quirke was saturated in beauty on 28 August 2020 as he took a four hour cruise along the Li River and taking in yet more iconic, haunting views of China. He had felt the lure of a river trip but as he read more about the venture he was embarking on over breakfast he saw that it advised buying a ticket in advance as in the peak season it got fully booked. This fact worried him as the last Cruise sailed at 9.30 and it required a 50 minute drive to the harbour and he started to to feel anxious that he would not get get there in time or there would be no tickets and he would not be able to do the trip. A Didi had been ordered to collect him at 8 am and he decided that he would risk it even if it ended in failure he would have experienced the journey there. Fortuitously there was nothing to worry about, once he had passed the health security measures getting a ticket was simple and efficient and as the staff could all speak English a very easy experience. He boarded the boat which was the to sail at 9.30 and he had been given a window seat. There was a lot of presentations in Chinese once they had set sail, and he had no idea what was being said but patiently listened though he noticed a lot of interest in him by his fellow passengers. When they finished he ventured onto the top deck and quickly made the most of the fact that he was the only one here and did some Photos and videoing. The scenery was devastating and throughout the 4 hour sail there was not a moment when he wasn‘t captivated and excited by what he was seeing. The slow progress of the boat through the extraordinary landscape of domed rocks covered in multifarious vegetation gave him plenty of time to absorb the the beauty. The deck got busy and in amongst all the haunting serenity he was appalled to find himself in an altercation with an old man who started to shout at him as he wasn’t in a mask and almost immediately one of the staff approached him and asked him to put his mask on. Some of the Chinese guilty put on a mask back on but he again refused writing in translate that the Chinese Government had said no masks needed in the open air. The blatant racism was soon dispelled by the other passengers for whom he, as the only Laowai on board, was a great source of interest. Much like the scenery, he was photographed, spoken to and generally admired and he had quite a long conversation with an older lady from Xian, who asked many questions through her son and granddaughter and repeatedly took photos. He learned that a section of the Li river they were on was an image on the back of the 200 yuan note and it was an unmissable moment as everyone tried to get a picture of the scene with a flourish of the currency. For the final part of the journey as the temperature reached 38 he returned to the cabin and took pictures of the river from his comfortable and cool window seat. When they reached the town of Yangshuo, which he had expected to be a remote village nestling in the mountains he was surprised to find that not only was it bustling with life but the locals seemed o have a really good grasp of English. He avoided the taxis and the motorbikes all offering him a ride and he walked into the the town He was definitely not expecting to find a Vegan restaurant in the supposedly remote town he was visiting But sure enough Happy Cow had a purely vegan establishment called the Mood Cafe. As he was eating the noodles selected from a purely English menu he met and conversed at length with the French Canadian owner. In fact he had spent so much time talking he had not left himself any sight seeing time and he had to hunt down the bus stop which would speed him back to Guilin. The return trip through the landscape by road proved to be a lot less atmospheric and romantic than he had expected and he was glad that he had made the journey via a waterway. The bus station seemed to be another out of the way location and he had to interrupt Peng’s wedding celebrations to order a Didi to get him back to the hotel. He reached the hotel just in time for his FaceTime call with the prospective tenants who seemed to be lovely and after an hour they came to an agreement and to his relief, with the assistance of Cole he had managed to let his flat from China. It seemed to late to eat a meal but he was hungry and so to satisfy his tasty buses he got some snack and fed his tiered, heat exhausted frame sand went to bed.


  1. There aren’t adequate words in the dictionary to describe incredibly moving sights such as these. Fabulous photographs and footage Nick. Thank you. I think there is some funky autocorrecting going on towards the end of your blog. 😊 You are looking so well Nick. I like your beard trimmed really neatly like that. X

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