For my last weekend in China, Robin and I flew to a small city in the Mountains in Southern China called Guilin
and finally saw what we expected China to be like! The first day, we took a trip with our hostel to the rice fields. Our tour started in what they call the "Long Hair Village" and the people, called the "Long Hair People" (not kidding) are an minority in China. In this village, the men stay at home and take care of the kids and cooking while the wives go out and earn the money. The first time they saw a car was in 1997. We got to eat lunch there, bamboo rice and chicken is their specialty, and watch the "Long Hair Lady" show! The bamboo was really good (I felt like a panda) and while watching the "show" I felt like I was on the Discovery channel! It was so cool to get to experience such a unique culture! Our tour guide told us that if they liked us, they would pinch our butts! They must have really liked me.
Robin and I with a Long Hair Lady...this one is married and has a kid!
..I have bruises! He also told us that their hair smells so bad because they wash it in special rice water so it doesn't turn grey...he was right, it was not grey and it did smell! They only cut their hair if they get married or have a kid and the way they style their hair lets you know if they are single, married, or a mother. Then we hiked up a little way and got to see the rice fields from the top of a mountain. They were breathtaking! They were definitely one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in my life!
The next day, we took a boat tour down the Li River and saw amazing mountains. They were very different from anything I've ever seen before, and looked very mysterious. On the boat, we had lunch with a girl who is currently a grad student at Georgia Tech! It was so cool to get to talk to her about home, and ask questions about grad school.
It was also very weird that on the other side of the world, in a remote place, on a small boat, we met someone who goes to our relatively small school! At the end of our tour we ended us in another very small town where we took a bus into the country. First, we went to an old couple's home and the man did kung foo! Robin took a video of him and when he watched it, he flipped out! I don't think that he'd ever seen himself do it before, and he was absolutely amazed! It was the coolest thing to watch. Then we took a bamboo raft to watch a guy fish with his birds. We learned about it in history class, and it was awesome to get to see! A "fisherman" trains his birds for 3 years. He sits on a long boat with birds on either end and picks one up by the neck, throws it in the water and watches for it to come up.
On the way to the old couple's house in the country
The bird takes about a minute, then pops out of the water with a fish in its neck. It can't swallow the fish because the fisherman has tied the neck so it won't fit down. Then the fisherman grabs the bird and pulls the fish out and keeps it for himself! I'd never seen anything like it! It was very smart!
On our way home from the village, our tour guide told us that his English name was "Jack" because he watched Titanic and loved the movie so much. He also said that he was a student studying tourism. He played the Titanic song ("My Hear Will Go On") and sang along with it! (He even added in the part "I'm so cold, Rose") It was hilarious!
We spent our last day in Guilin walking around to "Scenic Spots.
"Elephant Peak" (near our hostel) at night!
" We climbed up numerous peaks to look out over the city. We also went into a cave! While walking around, we met a man who said that he taught at the local college and spoke very good English. We got to talk to him about how his family grows tea, but he likes living in the city, so he runs their tea house and teaches. It was really funny when he made a comment about how "the last US Emperor, Bill Clinton" came and gave a speech in Guilin! I really love when we get to talk to the people who live here and find how they view the world. We experience the culture all day, but I always wonder what the people are thinking. This trip was probably my favorite one in China!
Here are links to videos that Robin took and posted.
Robin and I in the cave!
You should definitely check them out...they are HILARIOUS! (You have to copy and paste the web address)
Long Hair Ladies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5xV6WIwvUs
Kung Foo Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I7HHRuCgIw
Bird Catching Fish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5xV6WIwvUs