This was our first Road Scholar journey and visit to China. The seasoned leadership, faultless management, grace, and humanity of National Guide Liu Hao (and the intern who assisted him, and several local colleagues) made this trip invaluable for perspective on China. Mr. Liu selected and spoke of places, events, and people to make them our own. We found ourselves talking about what we saw and looking at notes and handouts every night before falling asleep. Now, several weeks later, I recall in detail much of what he said and showed us: the lectures and demonstrations, the conversations that he mediated and translated, people that he pointed out on the street, the constant chore of keeping us together and on schedule - missing nothing - and his frequent humor. He was always ready for our questions, probing impressions when we sought to fill out our understanding. The same applied to our appetites - restaurants near our hotels or between locations that we visited, in walking range wherever practical. He spoke often of Chinese families, dynamics, and prerogatives. We came to see his family and community through his eyes. Anyone considering this program - I recommend it highly - most highly if you can schedule with Liu Hao as guide. The classic icons and spectacular river of the program title are realized. So as well are intensive and attentive food growing, art, performance, architecture. But so also is China and Chinese as they are now, and whatever they will become next - 1.3 billion comprised of 55 tribes sharing a huge expanse of country that sustains them. We were present at a time when U.S. and PRC were having words, military posturing, and tariff fights with one another. China shows strong economic ambition in various parts of the World. None of this seemed to affect Chinese in their everyday doings and regard for us. In some locales, Americans are well regarded for fighting the invaders of China during the 1940s, and as trading partners now.