Thursday, June 28, 2018

Detain Waterfall and Mingshi Scenic Area - Gangxi, China

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We arrived in Nanning for a four-day stay.  Nanning is the capitol of Guangxi Provenice.  There are 22 provinces in China, , four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two Special Administrative Regions.  Our goal for this visit was to enjoy a few "down" days and to visit the Detian Waterfall on the Vietnamese border.

The waterfall if 140 miles to the southeast and the only way to get there is by bus or private car.  There are no English speaking tour services as this is one of the places in the world rarely visited by westerners.  We booked a Chinese speaking tour group and joined in on the fun.

We met at a local bus station...far enough away from the glitzy shopping malls, high buildings, and international business....older and a bit run down, no lights on in the lobby, and a true representation of what regular Chinese tourists get for their money.   There is no international image to project here and it is good to be able to see the reality of Chinese life.  We booked this tour online for $98 per person which seemed like a very fair price for a 15 hour day.  We received a notice of where to meet, that we would be visiting the waterfall and touring a scenic area.  We were told where to show up and at what time...and that was the extent of the detail.  We later discovered that the local folks has paid $49 for their tour.  So doing busy through an English speaking exchange created a nice profit for the booking
The local guide met us at the station, was sweet and charming, and through a series of hand gestures, our name printed on her manifest, and a bit of English and Chinese on both of our parts, we got seated in a nice, comfortable local tour bus...reclining seats, air-conditioning, and a pleasant group of local tourists.
 As usual I quickly made friends with our fellow travelers.  This here is a group of mature women, traveling together for day trip outside of the city.  There were really funny and animated.  They hung together throughout the day.  We used them as a way to keep track of where our group was heading.

It was a four hour drive out of the city, through farmland, and into the mountains.  Along with corn, rice, banana, and other recognizable crops, we spotted several that we are still trying to figure these cactus looking things that grow from the top of the plant stalk like leaves.  They are obviously a food item but we haven't seen them in the stores the mystery will continue a while longer.
  There were hundreds of folks harvested corn and squash, and melons.
Once into the karsk mountains the road got narrower and more winding...and more uphill.

To our surprise we were given a nice included lunch at a local restaurant.  This was served to our table of eight.  Fish, beef and cabbage, and lot of other veggie dishes, a large bowl of soup, and of course loads of rice. 
We reached the park and the main gate.  It was a beautiful area, well maintained and landscaped with lots of signage, clean paths and stairwells, and plenty of attendants to control the crowd.  We were the absolute only westerners in the park...easy to tell us from the rest...and we got constant requests for a photo.

The falls were in full force, this being the rainy season and we were treated to lots of falling water, vapor clouds, and roar of the rapids.
 The river is the natural border between China and Vietnam.  That is Vietnam on the other side.  There were cameras everywhere and I'm sure plenty of plain clothes security watching every move.

The river was so high and moving so fast that the rafts that take folks up to the falls were not running...and for good reason.

A Buddhist temple on the Vietnam side.

The border marker between two sets of cascades.

The path wanders to the falls at river bank level and then up the hill to some really awesome viewpoints.

We left the falls after a two hour visit and headed over to the Mingshi area.  There we were surprised to find our tour included a canal boat ride and afternoon snack of tea, local fruit and nuts.
 The rafts are steered by boatman using bamboo sticks.  It was truly beautiful and peaceful.  Along the way were flute players and singers on the banks, each alone offering their own performance.  This was all part of the ride and we loved it.

Our guide was charming as ever and kept a good eye on us.

 Flute player sort of hidden behind the bamboo.
Gold dredge.
Check out this outboard used to tow empty rafts upstream for the next float down.

At the end of the boat ride we were were dropped of at a tourist village complete with local singers, a group of performing kids, and lots of shops.
 Picture postcard beautiful!

A great musical review by a group of young performers.

Our day ended with a four hour drive back into town.  All in all a great 15 hours of stuff most foreign tourists were never see.