Monday, October 5, 2009

China Beyond the Masses

When you think of China, you think of the 1.3 billion people that live here...or at least I did before I came. I never imagined rolling hills with winding rivers and lush greenery, but that's certainly what I saw. On Friday we left Li Jiang and headed to Guiling, which is in the southwest part of China, We were in Guiling for one evening and I was glad to leave because it was overrun with tourists. We took a boat to Yangshuo, which was absolutely breathtaking. And in Yangshuo we traveled to the countryside where we were able to get away from the masses of people and the beauty was just overwhelming.

But the people were unbelievable. I'm not sure if it's being white or foreign or whatever, but the only thing they see when they see you is dollar signs. There were women carrying their children in baskets over their shoulders waiting along the roadside asking for money for pictures. And they bombard you. It's not like they ask one time. They follow you and ask you a million times for money. Others parade their water buffalo and as soon as you take a photo, they ask for money.

I did give in to this one though because of the cute little baby buffalo.

I only paid for one other photo. It was of this beautiful Chinese girl. She was selling some trinkets but she was really more interested in us than in selling her stuff. She was the only one who wasn't aggressive, so I gave her 10 yuan to take her photo.

Our guide told us that some of these people in the countryside don't even work. They just make a living off tourists. It's amazing to me. It's especially insulting since everywhere I go, the Chinese are photographing me! If I were making them pay, I would have made money to buy souvenirs! Daughter

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