Monday, 17 December 2007

Yongshau and Guilin

China was amazing. I was very lucky arriving in Guilin with my luggage as they were having trouble transfering it from my flight from Hong Kong/London. But made it safe and had no problems as my guide was waiting there to pick me up.

The first real day in China started by a lovely view in the morning. Guilin is a small town of 5 million, and is surrounded by karst stacks. This was the view from my hotel room. After getting up headed off for a cruise down the River Li. Which definately is, one of the most scenic areas in China. The river cuts thru the karst stacks which are amazing. Its really hard to describe the feeling you get in such beauty, the fog gave the area an errie mystical feeling. Very nice trip.

After that headed to Yangshao. Here I did a bike tour thru the countryside (thankfully very flat). It is amazing the difference between the countryside and the city. Much prefer the countryside for the absolute quiet and beauty. The lifestyle there is completely different. The lifestyle is very hard, with people growing and producing everything for themselves. Something really amazing was the building of their own houses, making the bricks and mortar themselves in some cases. A unique fact abut this area is that size is of all importance. If a farmer wants to show that he has money he will build a big house, like 4-5 storeys, but this usually results in the lack of funds to complete it. SO you just get these massive shells of houses everywhere in the countryside. Its all about status. Went shopping that evening down the West road which is the one of the oldst in the province. Spent a bit too much of course but oh well. Only there once.

The next day we headed back to Guilin (by we I mean me, my guide and the driver, I LOVE private tours). There we saw the elephant truck hill (legend goes that a giant elephant was drinking the river water when killed and turned to stone, hence the mountain looks like an elephant drinking from the water). At the top of the hill was a really small pagoda called Guilin Buddha. Altho not many chinese are religious these days.

From there we headed to the reed flute caves. The lighting in these caves were amazing. Look spectacular (I urge you to look at my facebook photos). This cave was also used by the resistance back in the day. Then headed to Xian that late afternoon

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