Guilin Travel Blog› entry 36 of 48 › view all entries
After missing my original flight to Guilin, I waited 10 hours in Chengdu until the next one departed. On this flight, I shared the plane with a group of people I'm pretty sure have never ridden a plane before. My two seatmates spent forever figuring out how to buckle the seatbelt (I eventually reached around to demonstrate), people were taking pictures the entire time, and the group even clapped when the plane took off! It was all very fun and entertaining, even though my seatmates smelled : )
I finally arrived around 1 am to find Eva already checked in to our strange hostel room, which had three mattresses mounted on a brick platform for beds. Additionally, the floor around the sink dipped lower than the rest of the bathroom, so that water from the shower wouldn't drain properly and instead puddled around the sink. It generally wasn't bad, but we had no idea where the original puddle came from.
Luckily, Eva's amassed tons of Starwood points from all the travel she does for work, and noticed a Sheraton hotel literally across the street from the hostel. She booked a room online, and we moved into our new room the next morning. We had clean towels to use, free shampoo and conditioner, air conditioning, AND super comfy beds. Wowow : ) There were even fast, functioning elevators that fit more than two people in them! I took pictures of the hotel room and Eva next to the "Starwood Preferred Guest" sign hehee.
After our move, we spent the day exploring Qixin Park in the center of Guilin, then booked a Li River cruise to Yangshuo for the next morning. As cities go, Guilin is really very nice - tons of trees and other greenery around, less traffic-prone than most, and with these amazing karst mountain peaks dotting the cityscape. The Li and Yulong Rivers also run through the city, and we saw a number of people swimming in the river waters, higher than usual due to recent rains.
For our first meal together, we went to a place called Good Aunt, recommended both by Lonely Planet and our first night's hostel. The restaurant is basically an indoor collection of food stalls offering different kinds of small eats. You choose what you want by pointing, and the cooks will stamp your ticket, then bring the food freshly cooked to your table when ready. Looking at nearby tables, it seemed we ordered (and ate) enough food to feed a table of five. Volume-wise, dinner was pretty much the same.
Since our boat departed at 8 am the next morning, we turned in early that night, only staying up long enough to eat some delicious mangosteen bought from a fruit seller near the hotel. By the way, can somebody please start importing mangosteen to the Bay Area? I've never seen them at home, and they would really add a lot to the summer fruit selection. Import these and yang mei, please, then feel free to give me as many free samples as you want.
Speaking of fruit, I almost forgot to mention the baskets of incredibly huge loquats I saw while waiting at the Chengdu airport. I commented on their size to the airport lady, and she pooh-poohed me and said there are many still bigger. I swear, though, the loquats from our backyard at home look like gnats in comparison. These loquats are so huge they're at least the size of incredibly huge loquats. No kidding.