Travel Journal

Guilin and Yangshou (China)

(Thursday 3 January 2008) by Lynda
Time to leave HongKong and explore the countryside so we took the underground to Shenzen, crossed the border into mainland China and hopped on the sleeper bus to Guilin. Great experience, neither of us had ever been on a sleeper bus and we can recommend it, great to stretch your legs and just snooze the miles away. Just a bit of bad luck, we ended up in a traffic jam and were stuck in the countryside of China for about 7 hours, but again, we snoozed the hours away!!!!

Guilin was quite foggy and cold (bummer, I promised Joost a nice and warm holiday) but still nice to have a walk around to see the strange shaped karst rocks. We climbed the Solitary Beauty Peak and visited the Seven Star Park and we even saw a panda....ok, in captivity, but still great to see this magnificent animal so close.

He's soo cute!!!!!
He's soo cute!!!!!
Next day we took the bus to Yangshou, just one hour south of Guilin and a great backpackers hangout. And indeed, everybody on the street wants to sell you something: umbrella's, raincoats, souvenirs and other tourist stuff. Unfortunately we just had rain in Yangshou so the scenery was not as nice as it would be on a clear day. Luckily Yangshou has it's fair share of cafe's so we spent a lot of time indoors to warm up. But next day when it was still raining we decided it was time to be a bit more active so we took the cooking course in a local restaurant and that was great. We visited the market to see all the ingredients. Some of the stuff we saw in the market is quite hard to identify and we skipped the dog-section.... The cooking itself was great and the results were pretty good and we had a great time eating our self prepared Chinese food. In the evening we made a small boat trip on the Li River to see the Cormorant fishing. The Cormorant does all the work and dives to the bottom to find nice fish but because of the little rope around it's neck it cannot swallow the bigger fish and has to deliver them to the fisherman who collects them in a basket on his bamboo boat. Nowadays there is not enough fish in Li River so the fisherman earn their living by showing the old technique to the tourists and indeed, it's a great sight to see this cooperation between the fisherman and his birds. Still wondering why the birds don't simply swim away.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year
After the cold in Guangxi province we decided to head further south-west to Yunnan province to find more subtropical temperatures. We got back on the bus to Guilin, boarded a hard-sleeper train to Kunming, got on the bus to Xiaguan (often called Dali city but not the real thing) and took a minibus to Dali. When you write it down it doesn't sound like a big trip but it took us 26 hours to reach Dali but we've made it and indeed, a lot warmer here. That is.....during the day..... at night I'm very glad Joost is here.....my private stove!!!! But it makes sense the altitude here is 1900m!!!!

We celebrated New Year here in Dali, completely different from the big celebration we have in Holland, now big fireworks and no champagne here but still a unique experience to celebrate it together in China.

Happy New Year to you all and may 2008 bring lots of luck and happiness!!!!

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