The next morning we hopped an early morning flight to Guilin. Upon arrival I immediately fell in love with the joint. The drive from the airport showed a bunch of natural rock outcrops/hills/mountain things (karsts) that dotted the entire area (titled by me as lumps). We checked into the best backpackers that we have hit so far (Wada), rolled across the road for a feed and on the recommendation of the staff we had the local specialty of Guilin mifen (rice noodles with some other stuff added). Two big bowls cost us 7 yuan throw in 10 dumplings for 5 yuan and we were both stuffed for about $2. This was followed by a walk around the local area to acclimatise and Friday night is all you can eat BBQ night at the hostel for 40 yuan a head. This got considerably more expensive as the BBQ needed to be washed down by copious quantities of Tsingtao. But at 12 yuan for a 600 ml bottle it wasn’t that bad.
Day 2 in Guilin saw us in a van and headed to the Longji rice terraces otherwise known as the “dragon’s backbone” about 2 and a half hours out of town, on the most bone jarring road imaginable. Jill and I were in the back seat of a hiace style van directly above the axle and by the end of the day, kidneys were bruised and fillings were dislodged. Ignoring the drive the rice terraces were spectacular. Basically over the last 2000 years the locals have been cutting terraces into the sides of the mountains for the purposes of crop cultivation. Needless to say you can create quite a few terraces in 2000 years.
Day 3 saw us extending our stay by another day as this place is so good. The next leg was sorted to head to Yangshuo which is about 2-3 hrs downstream from here. On the advice from the fantastic girls at the hostel they reckon the way they would get there would be on “bamboo raft”. We are not really sure what this means but at this stage we will be taking a journey on a Chinese River on a bamboo raft of some sort. On the hostel front…they have a policy that if you drink 12 beers then you get a free wada shirt…we now have a pink one and a white one.
Day 3 also saw us doing the local wander around town. Most of the tourist things are a close walk and overall it is not too strenuous as the place is flat. Today saw us visit the twin pagodas, get some good shots of the lumps (karsts), check out the elephant trunk hill and generally just wander around while I got food from almost every street stall I could find.
Now if you remember an earlier post about my ordering food when I am hungry…the rules now apply to Jill too. While I was grazing on street food Jill was not, so when we stopped she had free reign over the meal. We had the largest and the most expensive meal that we have had since hitting China. The first dish was the nobbly bits of a pig, followed by the rest of the pig in round 2, and then the duck turned up, the whole duck, on the up side Jill has worked out the sign language for doggie bag. Below was what was left after we had eaten for about an hour.