Saturday, August 05, 2006


Arriving in Guilin, the touts descended and I embarked upon the customary hotel finding mission. After going up 6 flights of stairs with my backpack I found a room, and upon returning to reception and some commotion. Eventually I was handed a phone with someone who spoke a little English and I was told I couldn抰 stay there! It was for Chinese tourists. I said I was a tourist in China, but to no avail. Yeah thanks for that, you couldn抰 of told me that before seeing the room? Anyway I found somewhere to stay. I had hardly slept a wink on the train with the air-con blasting in my face all night, I now had a cold. I dumped my bag and went out for a look about, and shortly afterwards decided to go back to bed!

It rained for three days at the remnants of a typhoon reached Guilin. When the sun came out it was quite a pleasant green city with a few parks and rivers. Lots of electric bikes, silently whizzing along the roads (and pavements). In reaching a bridge a pagoda or two was revealed to be hiding round the bend of the river. Underneath the bridge in the cool shade a group of woman were dancercising. In a park some of the structures seemed a bit tacky such as 揟he Crystal Bridge?made out of clear plastic, still the Chinese tourists seem to lap it up, cameras snapping away.

Back in the city, there is a pedestrianised walkway containing lots of cafes and shops, and fast food joints. A bit further on, in the North of the city lies Solitary Peak a limestone karst thrusting up 150m. At the bottom of the peak is a few caves and some chinese writing carved into the rock. After a some steep stairs a good view of Guilin can be had from the top. You can see more of the limestone outcrops in the distance and that would be like my next stop Yangshuo.

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