Posted by: nancycurteman | December 6, 2011

Step into a Chinese Painting: China’s Li River

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The Li River in Southern China traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. When we set sail on the river cruise that begins at Guilin a city on the west bank of the river and ends a few hours later at Yangshuo a 2000 year old mountain town we had very little idea of the splendor we were about to see. We felt like we’d stepped into a classic Chinese painting as we floated past tall cone-shaped karst peaks.

We watched  Cormorant fishermen float by on bamboo rafts catching fish using the traditional method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in the Li River. The fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird’s neck to keep the birds from swallowing large fish, which are held in their throat. When a cormorant has caught a fish, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up.

Along the Li shore we saw quiet, slow-moving water buffalo at work in the green rice fields as we tasted the popular Guangxi region Liquan beer and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres served by the attentive boat crew.

What a great setting for a mystery novel. Beauty. Intrigue. Tradition.

So treasured is the beauty of this region by the Chinese that they placed the image of the Li River on the 20 yuan banknote.

More travel tips:

How to Travel Smart and Save Big Bucks


  1. That’s a great setting for a mystery (though sad for the cormorants)! As a huge fan of cruises, I set my two mysteries onboard. ‘Grave Passage’ and ‘Mediterranean Grave’ recount the adventures of Henry Grave, an octogenarian investigator who investigates crimes on cruise ships.

    William Doonan


  2. The closest I’ve ever been to China was Okinawa and Hong Kong, and as you know, that isn’t all that close at all. I did study Mandarin, and loved it (by far more than Cantonese), but that’s another story.

    I’ll be watching for your China Adventure Mystery… will it be soon?


    • You studied Mandarin? you never cease to amaze me. The African novel comes first.


  3. Sounds wonderful . . . except for the poor cormorants. 😀


    • The cormorants suffer less than one might think. The strings are loose enough around their necks to allow them to swallow small fish. The large ones go to the fishermen.


  4. William, I visited your site. “Mediterranean Grave” is a great title. I really like the idea of an octogenarian sleuth. Good luck on your two books.


  5. Your photo goes a step further than a painting. This scene shows the true grandeur Li River views. Color seems almost unreal. I am glad to have had the same cruse. I know exactly what it is to see the real thing.


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