Once Around The Sun

19798 km

GUILIN, Guangxi Province

Beijing was nice and warm. We are told that the weather worked out really good for us, as it was still warm, but with a bit of breeze, so the smog was blown away from the city and we had clear blue sky almost every day. I could have spent a few more days in the Hutongs, but it was time to take the bullet train again. We are heading south towards Hong Kong, with a stop over in Guilin, where we have arrived at 8 in the evening, on Thursday 15.October. Our hostel, The Cyan Box, gave us very straight forward instructions and by 8.45pm we have been checked in, upgraded to 'de luxe' room and staring at each other with disbelief of how great value this hostel is!

Guilin itself I'm being told is not too exciting. The reason of our visit will be a village called Xingping, about 85 km south by Li river. This village is home to Mr. Huang a 74 years young cormorant fisherman. One of my Facebook friends, Michael Steverson, who I was hoping to befriend in person, hooked me up with him. He's been photographing the area and Mr. Huang for years and he's behind the inspiration of travelling to this part of China. But you already know about this...

As it turned out the first evening in Guilin, it is finally flip flop weather on our journey. Majka and I are very happy about this, specially after the unplanned detour to Mongolian winter. The next morning we set out to disproof the statement about Guilin being boring. The city itself is alive, set in a beautiful scenery of mountains, 2 rivers and 4 lakes. Our first stop is The Moon and Sun Pagodas on lake Liu. Next we are getting lost in the streets of downtown Guilin and have stumbled upon some hidden gems of local gambling activities, fishing and people minding their daily business. We have finished the day at Elephant Rock, which for my disappointment is turned to a paid attraction, but it was still nice to see. I must say, after one day of walking around the city, I'm looking forward to come back here from Xingping...

Few days later, on Tuesday afternoon Majka and I are once again on a local bus, this time heading back to Guilin and The Cyan Box Hostel. Same room, same special price, same ease. £8.50 for a room with king size bed, wifi, tv en-suite bathroom and 10 Yuan laundry service? Majka wanted to stay forever, but our Visas are expiring on 23.October, which leaves us with 3 last nights in China. For the next day we've scheduled a trip to Dazhai terraced rice fields, which was a bit disappointing as all rice has been harvested about a week ago. No water or rice in paddy fields, smog has been covering up much of the view and the sun was in wrong place for photos. Anyhow, a must see, right!? Our last day it was time to go and try to get lost in the city again... And this was the day when I finally got it. All parks, or oddly shaped rocks are turned into Disneyland like attraction with a pretty steep price tag. It's like you need to pay every time you have an idea to sit down in the grass. Wait, I forgot, you can't sit in the grass! So, as many said before, Gulin has not much to offer, but it still is a great springboard for the destinations nearby and we have still managed to 'get lost' nicely a few times.

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