Melissa and Mr Pan comparing muscle strength - pretty clear who the winner was!
Woke up to a very hot and humid day today, with our first stop being Yi Ma Village to visit the home of Farmer Pan (after getting Noel some tiger balm for his ankle). Thirteen generations of Mr Pan's family have lived in the house, although the last young ones have left to work in the city. The house was built by his "general" forebears so would have been a wealthy mansion in it's time - Mr Pan also has to keep up his family name and reputation for strength by doing lots of exercises so we were all challenged to lift weights with him. We were given some of his home-grown oranges and peanuts to enjoy. Each person in the village rents 600 square metres of land from the government and then has to give back 7% of the produce. We next stopped at the Meeting Dragon River, a beautiful place in the middle of hills surrounded by rice paddies and enjoying a cooling breeze.
Rice farmer near Yangshuo - all done by hand still.
The villagers were quite aggressive in their selling technique and hard to shake off! Drove back to Guilin
early afternoon before heading to the South China Sea Pearl Centre for a talk and shopping opportunity. Noel treated Melissa to a beautiful black pearl necklace and bracelet set - not actually on our shopping list but there you go! It's Melissa's birthday and Christmas present for the next 20 years! Last stop for the day was the Reed Flute Cave, quite an extensive cave system which hid local farmers during the Japanese occupation. There is some pretty garish lighting but the formations are spectacular. Banquets are held in the "crystal cavern" for up to 1000 people. The temperature sits at a constant 20 degrees celsius so also very soothing after the heat outside. You climb a fairly steep hill to get to the cave entrance, but can get a lift in a sedan chair if you so desire. Mind you, the sedan-men did not look to keen to cart big Aussies up the hill!