Scenery, Dumpling, and Friendly People - Welcome to Guilin

Guilin Travel Blog

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Buying some orginal art work from the Professor.
Before and even during my travels in China I’ve heard much about Guilin and Yangshuo.  Everyone said you’ll love it there, you‘ll end up spending more time then you planned.  Everyone was right!  I ended up spending about 6 days in and around the Guilin/Yangshuo area.  

All this fuss about these two places is because of the out of this world scenery.  For those that have never been, its similar to what is found in Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Thailand’s Krabi region, the scenery in this area is dominated by limestone karsts, that line the main rivers like the back of a sleeping dragon as they say.
Cell phones everywhere!
  However unlike in Vietnam and Thailand, the karsts here look more like a jagged mountain range, rather than individual peaks, very beautiful.  This is a place I can relax and enjoy, get away from everything that is China.

Getting away from China was definitely on my mind, so it was funny when getting into the Guilin city centre and interacting with the people there, I felt like I had taken the wrong flight and got off in Thailand! It has a different feel then the rest of China, people are actually friendly, definitely something I appreciate after the last few weeks bitchy people everywhere. I think the friendly feel of this town is because it’s a tourist town.  People from all over China come here to visit, I’ve been told Chinese people dream of visiting this region, because everyday they see the karsts of Yangshuo depicted on the 20 Yuan bill.
At dinner with Li and Emile

Funny, also just like Thailand, Guilin seems to have a bit of a seedy underbelly to it!.  For example, walking around late at night you constantly get asked if you want a dirty massage, a sexy massage, or sucky, sucky.  Usually to get rid of them I say NO, but if they persist I would say I was gay, funny even that sometimes didn’t work! So my next tactic was to ask if they had little boys.  Yup that does the trick, they would be totally thrown off and just walk away!  Of course in Bangkok its not about massages, its about ping pong shows.  For those that don’t know, I’ll leave it to the imagination. All I’ll tell you is there is a girl and there is a ping pong….

We ended up spending 3 days in Guilin.  Backpacking around, sleeping in hard beds, taking public transit, non-pressure showers all starts to take its toll, so you need to find time to relax and just chill.
Getting a lesson in the different types of tea. All good for your skin it seems.
  So we did.  

For 3 days, me and Emile basically ate, drank, and shopped around.  Emile was/is obsessed with chow mien (aka fried noodles) and I became obsessed with dumplings! I would eat dumplings for breakfast and lunch and even dinner!  My favourites being the pan-fried dumplings.  Calories I know everyone is thinking! While traveling around I’ve not thought too much about the food I eat or how many carbs are in it.  I’m eating bread and rice like there is no tomorrow! Frankly its like 40 degrees everyday, you sweat about 2-3 litres of water and all you do is walk around, so I’m not too concerned.  In fact its only been a month and I’ve already lost at least 10 pounds.

As I’ve said, the one thing I really appreciated about Guilin were the people.  We met one man, Li, who quickly became a friend to us.  Initially we met him in a local art gallery.  Beautiful paintings in there, I actually ended up buying one of the works of the “Professor” as he was called.  He literally just finished the painting and I said I wanted to buy it! Li also helped buy our local transport on a bamboo raft down to Yangshou.  

We found out that he was a high school English teacher and it was summer holidays now, so he was just working a part-time job for the summer.  Great guy, we took him for dinner one night and drinks and we chatted about life in China and how people lived.  He told us that in Guilin, people on average made about 2000 Yuan a month, about $350 CDN, while those in Shanghai and Beijing made about 8000-9000 Yuan.  Most of the Chinese tourists in Guilin were from these more affluent cities  Anyways. it was really cool to hear about life in Chinese from the local perspective.  Makes you realize everyone’s daily lives are generally the same no matter what part of the world you are from.    

So other than eating dumplings and fried noodles and drinking beer, we spent some time trying to find a new battery for Emile’s ancient cell phone.  No easy task I must say! To make a long story short, we never did find a replacement battery, but what we did find were, no joke, were department stores FULL FULL of cell phones.  One place was call Cell Phone City and it had at least 3 to 4 floors all filled with cell phones on display! Cell phones everywhere! Heck they even have “new” Apple products like the Ipone Mini Air! ;)

Next stop Yangshuo.  

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Buying some orginal art work from …
Buying some orginal art work from…
Cell phones everywhere!
Cell phones everywhere!
At dinner with Li and Emile
At dinner with Li and Emile
Getting a lesson in the different …
Getting a lesson in the different…
photo by: davidfeng