Emily and I are in Southern China! Woot Woot! So far this has to be one of the easiest trips we’ve taken. I guess because in Guilin here and possibly the rest of Guangxi that we’ll be going to, the infrastructure for tourists is quite well developed, but it’s still a place that has so much wild beauty that it attracts some more adventurous tourists than other places might.
Anyways, we called the hostel to reserve a room in advance (which is, by the way, an absolutely fabulous idea, especially if you can get Emily to do it and thus avoid your irrational fear of talking to people on the phone), a lady from the hostel met us at the train station, and we were soon safely ensconced. Much better than our usual plan of “wander around near where a hostel should be with all our baggage and then cry.” Day one was really only an afternoon, so we took in Elephant Trunk Hill, and walked around in the city, taking in the sunset at Ronghu lake, and watching Chinese people doing line dances.
Day 2 started off with a trip to Reed Flute Cave, which you have to go into with a tour group, since it’s a famous AAAA scenic site or whatever. So we got directions from the hostel, rode the bus out, and tagged along with a Chinese tour group. It was very large, and beautiful of course, but with so many scenic sites here, whoever is in charge of it is always trying to make it “better.” So, in the Reed Flute Cave, all of the rock formations are lit up with Technicolor lighting, and each formation has a little neon sign telling you the name of the formation. Which was all okay, a little strange, but okay. And then you get to the main part (The Crystal Palace of the Dragon King), and a little light and music show goes on, and then there are bubbles from a bubble machine. Very odd. It was pretty cool though.
In the afternoon, we went to the Seven Stars Park, which was a wee bit disappointing. It was okay, I guess, but it was really just like any other Chinese park. Except that I think June 1st might have been some sort of holiday here, and the park was absolutely overrun with people. And we didn’t see any golden monkeys in the trees.
Day three (today) we went to the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, which was an adventure and a half. I think it needs a separate entry, don’t you?
Day four (tomorrow) we plan to float down the Li River from Guilin (ish) to Yangshuo (ish). Should be awesome, although I shall remember to wear sunscreen tomorrow. My shoulders are a little pinker than they really should be.
More pictures to come soon!