Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Guilin Travel Blog

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Us at the Elephant Trunk
Guilin is where we are meeting Phil and Mike our friends from England.  To allow for cockups with logistics we are a day early and I have booked a hotel in Guilin for all of us and have emailed Phil the details.
Our 1st experience of Chinese train travel is good, once we have overcome our initial fear when confronted by the surging masses in the ticket hall in Nanning.  We go back after dinner and find the hall much quieter and the guy at the window very helpful.  With a bit of sign language and guide book help we quickly have 2 tickets to Guilin on the morning train.
Guilin is much more of a tourist city than Nanning as it is on the Li river and surrounded by the famous "karst"scenery which makes this area some of the most popular in China.  Nevertheless we still see few western tourists on our first walk around town.  Our plan is to spend some time in Yangshuo about 80km down river.  There are plenty of cruises to Yangshuo on offer but we decide to wait until Phil and Mike arrive as all are relatively expensive and we are not sure if they are keen to take the boat.
Already I am most struck by the contrast between China and Vietnam.  Everything here seems very western and civilised (bright shops, fast food outlets, VW's, paved roads etc etc) and apart from the language barrier it is actually quite easy to visit (so far anyway!). 
We have a day to see Guilin and use the time to check out some of the attractions. One of Guilin's major sights is the Seven Stars Park walking distance just across the river from the city centre.  It is pictureque and pleasant but doubtful whether it is really worth the 35Y entrance when this excludes the cave (another 30Y) which is the main reason most people go there.
Afterwards we hire a bamboo raft to see the Elephant Trunk hill (it does look like an Elephant's trunk) and although this is Ok it doesn't blow me away either.
In the evening we discover a string of restaurants on the river front near to our hotel.  On the pavement in various tubs and cages there are fish, crabs, ducks, pheasants and in some cases snakes and what look like Guinea Pigs.  We order beef with pepper and I am certain the meat isn't beef and I notice when we leave that all the Guinea Pigs seem to have gone.
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Us at the Elephant Trunk
Us at the Elephant Trunk
photo by: davidfeng