Dog Meat and Old Ladies (Part 1)
by Sharon -- December 6, 2009
Note: This will be a two-part post. I don’t want to overwhelm you all at once with our goings-on in Yangshuo.
One of my favorite activities that we have experienced so far has been the Li River Cruise that we took to get from Guilin to Yangshuo. The Li River is one of China’s most scenic spots and it is known for its picturesque “karst” rock mountains that jut out of the river like glaciers. We decided to take a tiny bamboo raft for our cruise. In comparison to our other option (a giant, two-story ferry with tons of people) this seemed much more exciting. Our bamboo raft was tiny, open, and wonderful. The popularity of this river was easy to validate once we got there because it looked like something out of an ancient Chinese painting (Fact: The artwork on the 20 Yuan bill includes a scene from the Li River). More pictures from the Li River Cruise in our gallery.
After Hong Kong, Yangshuo was definitely the biggest tourist city we have encountered. (As I write this, however, we are in Hanoi, Vietnam which I believe has even more tourists than Yangshuo). In a way it was comforting to be back in a heavily tourist-populated area. Sometimes it’s nice to be around so many people that you can relate to; surprising as this may be, we don’t really relate to the locals around here.
Side-Tangent #1: There are tons of travelers who complain about how many tourists there are in whatever city they are in, but in my personal opinion, they are dumb. That’s like saying there are too many other boats on the lake, or saying that Perez Hilton is an idiot- as you are reading his website. (Sometimes I make analogies that nobody understands, but to me it makes perfect sense.) Some travelers get annoyed when they go to areas with many tourists, as if they are the only ones with the idea to go to a city they read about in Lonely Planet. Silly!
Moving along… There were quite a few things to do in Yangshuo, as it was listed as a popular place to visit in our trusty China book. Our first experience was the local market. We had been to many markets before this one, but this particular market was a new experience. They had dog. When I say dog, I mean live dogs barking in tiny cages and then cooked dogs (in full form, with the face still intact and everything) hanging right next to the live ones. There was even one cooked dog hanging from one of the cages. I wasn’t sure if I felt like vomiting or crying, but I think they were both simultaneously on the verge of happening at the time.
Side-Tangent #2: If there’s one thing that I have learned about myself on this trip, it is the fact that I never want to see my meat resemble the animal that it once was. For this reason, I am pondering the idea of trying out vegetarianism for a short stint. The key word in that sentence was “pondering”, so until I experience another jolting moment of meat depression, I will remain a confused carnivore (that sounds like a children’s book about a dinosaur). Granted, I never wanted to eat dog and I never will, but even seeing the dead cows and chickens gave me a colossal pit in my stomach. Maybe if it bothers me so much to see any meat before it is butchered, I shouldn’t be eating it. Thanks, Asia. Thanks for making me feel guilty for eating delicious beef. Does Korean BBQ meat count?
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