Chopsticks and Travel Shoes

Hi, I'm glad you stopped by.

My name is Lizbeth. Grab a panda and join me as I leave Las Vegas in pursuit of adventure in China's tea houses, classrooms, dirt roads, and industrial cities. I shoot with a Nikon D3100 and am sharing my journey through it's lens.

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Photography by Lizbeth Arias is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Day 8 - Guilin Reed Flute Cave, Entrance

Finally, we have arrived at the last day of our spring break adventures. We chose to check out Guilin’s caves in the early afternoon before our late night flight. These particular photos were taken in one of my favorite types of environments to photograph/ inhabit. Places coated with a fresh coat of light rain, enough to make the ground beneath you reflect the colors above you. Places with natural, bold shades that we work so hard to replicate. 

Spring Break Day 7 - Water Buffalo on The Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxi, China

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 7 - Let’s Get Married

Our travel guide explained that the Li River is a hot spot for couples to have their wedding shots taken. I don’t know how they manage to keep her clean but, the bride gets on the raft in her gown while the photographer takes care of the rest.

Day Seven - Li River in Yangshuo

When most people think of China, they think of the mountains surrounding the Li River in Guangxi province. The scenery is so famous and well known, that the mountains are printed on the back of Chinese currency. We took a bus ride from Guilin to Yangshuo, and boarded a bamboo raft. 

Spring Break - Day 5 and 6.
China Midnight Train Ride from Hell

As stated in an earlier post, Day 5 started with us taking an unexpectedly long train ride from Dali to Kunming. Eight or nine hours later, we arrived in Kunming and immediately inquired at the train station about a late train to Guilin. We figured we’d be able to relax in Kunming for the evening, then board the night train and sleep for part of the next 18 hour ride to Guilin. It turned out that the only train lo Guilin was leaving in less than two hours. Even worse, there was only one hard sleeper left which meant two of the three of us would have to bear the journey on a hard seat. We accepted the circumstance, bought our tickets, and rushed to find dinner before boarding time. 

Kunming was cloudy, grey, and lacked the friendly locals that Chengdu is known for. We picked a restaurant close to the station, only to find that the food was ridiculously overpriced (to locals and foreigners alike) and was served by exceptionally inhospitable men. We chose our dishes out of a cart whose heat lamps warmed the aesthetically displeasing food. While doing so, a local man came up to me and starting pulling at my arm aggressively and awkwardly. Needless to say, our dinner was gross, uncomfortable, and irritating. 

We rushed back to the train station to take our seats and formulated a plan to keep our sanity in tact. For those that aren’t aware, a hard sleeper is a mattress on a three section bunk bed. The train’s small compartments has two of these three part bunk beds - each compartment has six beds each. We decided that we would trade off every few hours so that we could each get a few hours of sleep… our plan did not work.

Somaya and I took to the seats first, while Mary slept in the hard sleeper. After shift one, Mary ventured ten carriages over to the seat section to trade with me.  She said it felt like she had ventured into the poorest section of the Titanic.

Our plan to continue trading off failed miserably as the train attendants were rude, uncooperative, and unwilling to let us switch spots. This resulted in Somaya and I sitting in the seat section for the greater majority of the ride, where it’s freezing cold and smells of sweaty hair, dirty socks, and billows of stagnant smoke courtesy of China’s many chain smokers. 

We estimated that we would arrive in Gulin by Noon the next day. When 11:30AM rolled around, I was anxious and excited to jolt out of those train’s doors with promises to never meet again. When 11:31AM arrived, we were told the train was actually not to arrive for another three hours… if ever in my life I’ve known depression, it may have been at 11:31AM. >_>

I didn’t take any pictures during said train ride, as my hostility and irritation prevented me from engaging in conversation or photography. I’ll always have my journal though, in which vicious updated were periodically penned.

Eventually (one decent but cramped 8 hour train ride, an uncomfortable 2 hour break, and another horrible 21 hour train ride later) we tiredly and gladly abandoned those train tracks in search of comfort. In efforts to leave you on a more positive note, pictured is our first purchase in Guilin. Mary bought us these coconuts, which were imported from Hainan. These were fantastic. 

Next up: bamboo rafts, water buffalo, and better days on the last days of break.