Rui and I went with her mom and dad to a village called Tang Chi to stay with some friends/family. The main attraction there is the hotel pool that is fed by hot springs, where a big group of us lounged away the evening. It was pretty hot!
The first few photos are from hanging around Tang Chi.The next day, Rui and I took an agonizingly long and bumpy minibus ride to Jiu Xiang to tour the caves there. It was pretty spectacular.
|Here's a friend's place outside the main village of Tang Chi. This is an outbuilding near the house... the shed, I guess it would be. We went there to pick fruit from their orchard.|
|Here's the main house of the orchard owner. There are interesting things on the wall, which is why I took this otherwise unremarkable picture.|
|Here's the gang huntin' up fruit in the orchard. The fruit wasn't very good here.||Then we went down to a lakefront restaurant. We sat on the lakefront and watched people go by in their boats. Some of the gang went out in a boat, but I didn't. I was in a really bad mood, overstimulated by all the activity. Living among strangers in a strange land can be taxing at times, and the Chinese go full-steam non-stop during party mode.|
|Here's a closer-up of the people in the boat. Kind of like an Asian Renoir.|
|Here's a view of lovely Tang Chi from the lakeside.|
|Then we sat around the restaurant lounge until dinnertime. Why is everyone naked?? Well, there's a little pond where you can catch your own fish for dinner. Most people scoop them out with a net, but these guys decided to go wading to catch the fish.
Here also you can see the thing that cracks me up much of the time; the Yunnanese love to smoke tobacco out of these giant bongs. Hee hee hee!
|Little girl, bong, and thermos.|
|Now on to the caves!!!
Here's the river and cliffside where the caves are found. We first boated down this river, as you will see from the following photos.
|Here's a view from the boat as we tool down the river. The water makes me think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.|
|Another view of the river. Hey, it's my bandwidth!|
|Interesting rock formations along the riverbank. There were alot of formations along here that made me think this riverbed was also a cave, millions of years ago.|
|Here's where the river starts to head down into the caves. We were out of the boat by then, fortunately.|
|Plunging down below the cliffs.|
|Down, down, down... getting cool...|
|Here you can see our pathway along the river; way down at the bottom of the ravine we are.|
|I know, it's a lot of photos of cliffs and river. But I think it's gorgeous.|
|I think maybe here is when we finally get into the caves proper...|
|...yes indeedy! Looky, caves! Of course, the fun thing about the cave openings is the foliage draped over them. This makes it feel even more exotic and remote (more remote than... being out in the middle of nowhere in southwest China??)|
|Well, I will say the Chinese are good at bridges. This is a wonderful spot.|
|The river heading into the next cave (below the bridge in the previous photo).|
|Another cave opening.|
|Here we are in a cavern that would make Meramec proud. This is called The Princess Room or something like that, and is the only room in these caves with real stalactite/stalagmite formations like this. Most of the other rooms were these gigantic, grand palaces (which of course you can't take pictures of, as they're too big to use a flash in).|
|Ruirui in the Princess Room (wearing her hooker pants today, I see).|
|Here's a little insight into the Chinese character: the operators actually felt the need to post a sign to make sure people don't get pushed down the cave stairs. Believe me, I agree with them. Patience is NOT a virtue in the Middle Kingdom.|
|Here's some really awsome limestone terraces! See the teeny-tiny people at the top? These are big. Unfortunately, I think they're also dead. The water seems to be provided by hoses at the top. However, the hoses could just be routing the water that used to flow naturally to the formation, but is now blocked by the pathway. Preservation is not quite the issue here we're used to at home.|
|The terraces from above.|
|Another window to the outside world, ooh, ahh.|
|Here's one of the cave openings, seen from on high!|