Sunrise Over the Li

It was our last morning in Yangshuo and since our attempt to experience the sunrise on our first day proved unsuccessful, we thought we’d try again. To get out of our hostel which was situated right on the Li River we had to wake the young man sleeping there to unlock the door. As it was still dark outside we opted for a familiar route down to the river.

The first thing we noticed in the darkness was the bright crescent moon.

The water was also covered with a constantly shifting haze as it got lighter. We sat on a stone wall to watch and listen. We could see small bats flying around and hoped they ate all the mosquitoes before the mosquitoes ate us. Eventually the bats changed to birds as the moon became less vibrant.

The karst limestone peaks were very faint in the distance, some closer ones being only slightly more visible. Closer still was a layer of bamboo trees on the opposite bank of the river. Taken together the scene looked like a Chinese watercolor painting that changed ever so slightly with each picture we shot.


Then in the stillness, save the rushing water of the river, we saw a tiny fish jump out of the water. Then another jumped a little further off. Still another then another. Before we knew it little minnow-sized fish were jumping out of the water like popcorn.

The last layer to our sunrise experience was a woman coming to the river’s edge to wash clothes. Much like the fish this one woman started a slow trickle of women coming to hand wash clothing.

To our surprise there were no bright pinks, oranges nor yellows we associate with sunrises. In this sunrise, the sun was not the lead character and instead took its humble role in the background as it simply lit all of the other things going on. What a wonderful beginning to what was to be a long travel day to Beijing.

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