The next stop included the city of Yangshou.
Our next excursion was a van ride into the country side. We got to see some of the poor local farmers, and also had a more close up view of the scenery. This was another of my favorite parts of the trip. Next time, I'd love to do a 2-3 day mountain bike tour of this region.
This is rice growing at a local farm. It is still a few months away from harvest time.
We stopped at the home of a local farm family. These are some of the poorest people in the Country. I was actually surprised that the goverment let us see this. This home was very primitive.
This is a shot of their kitchen area. No running water or sewage. They had a hand pump for the well just out of view.
This is an old hand operated rice processing machine.
This is Kelly with the Grandmother. She is very frail and not expected to live much longer.
As a tradition, the Grandmother has selected and purchased her coffin for use when the time comes. They keep it in the back room here.
This is my favorite photo of the whole trip. As we returned from our country side tour, we passed over this brige on the outskirts of town. Our guide didn't want to stop, because we were late for our manditory shopping spree. I said to hell with it and jumped out of the van on my own. I'm glad I did. I think the locals take for granted how picturesque this is.
Just outside Guilin is the Reed Flute Cave. This is a very large underground cavern. I was surprised by the size of some of the rooms which approached the size of a gymnasium. At first, these photos look like some kind of abstract painting, but they are long exposure photos using the man made color lighting inside the caves.
The people silhouetted in the forground give a clue to the size of this room, which was actually one of the smaller ones.
We visited a Chinese hospital which turned out to be another marketing ploy to get us to purchase overpriced herbal medicines of dubious quality. It was interesting though, to see the mixing of traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, massage, herbs, etc.) with standard Western medicine. The hospital was literally divided into two sections, depending on what style of healing you want.
We watched an elderly gentleman being treated for back pain and arthitis using an incense that smelled alot like pot. We were told it relieves pain and reduces inflamation. The incense in the round tube with green lettering was burned in the tray shown here. The patient did not actually smoke it. This way, everyone else in the room could experience the effects.
Disclaimer: I should note that we aren't sure this stuff was actually Marijuina. Someone in our tour group said it was. Kelly and I have no idea what that stuff really smells like. Nope, no idea at all. We had to take the word of the others in our group. We also held our breaths just in case it really was pot. We certainly wouldn't want to breath in any of that stuff!
They gave me a free 5 minute electro-shock treatment for neck pain. It actually was very similar to the physical therapy I received back home before I had my neck surgery. Afterwards, they shook us down to by some herbal medicines and vitamins for ridiculous prices, even by US standards. I would have bought some of that incense, but that wasn't on the list.