Crazy night out at Soho Bar

Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
Trip End Apr 31, 2007

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Well here we are in China, in a city called Liuzhou. It's a largely industrial city with about 1.5 million people living here. It's strange to think that there's about a quarter of New Zealand's population living in a place I've never even heard of and is barely on the map.

We crossed the border from Vietnam (Langson) to China which was an interesting experience. At both sides we got the usual pursing of lips, waiting around (as we were all foreigners - the Asian's got through no trouble) and suspicious looks. At one point the official was closely inspecting my passport and asked me how many countries I'd been to. I readied myself for the rubber glove treatment but I guess they were just trying to earn their wage and after about half an hour waiting we all got through. Vietnam's border offices were bland and dirty, whereas China's was almost majestic. Large buildings kept spotlessly clean, and a massive friendship bridge to officially welcome you. Impressive stuff - all in aid of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The thing that struck me immediately about China is the beautiful hills - the limestone karsts that you see in the paintings. Apparently we haven't seen anything yet, but the scenery so far has been lovely.

The next thing that struck me about China was the queuing system - there was none. Just shove to the front and use your elbows if you have to. The next thing that struck me (and will unfortunately stay with me for life) was the state of the public toilets. I won't go into details but let's just say that I think I'll need a few therapy sessions to get over the post traumatic shock.

We stayed that night in Huashan, a little town not on the map but with a lovely guesthouse and friendly owners. When we arrived there was a party going on with some locals - celebrating "Woman's Day". Apparently the other 364 days of the year are already "Men's Day" so no wonder the ladies were celebrating. They were playing musical chairs and we went to watch and got included in all the celebrations. There were party games galore, a lot of laughter and so much good will towards us. Everyone who participated in the games got prizes so we all walked away with either a tea-towel or some toothpaste. They also sat us down next to a barbeque and cooked us beef and fish on skewers. It was very tasty although very spicy. Luckily they also presented us with beers and the inevitable shot of rice wine. Rice wine is lethal stuff - it has nothing to do with wine and lot more to do with vodka. Andy (being a guy and always up for anything) had many shots of rice wine and many glasses of beer to wash down the delightful Chinese lunch.

That afternoon we went on a river cruise to see cliff paintings that are over 2000 years old. They covered a large area on the cliff and were incredible to see when you try and imagine who painted them. The weather was cold (around 8 deg. C) and the boat didn't provide much shelter so we shivered our way up and down the river for a few hours marvelling at the beautiful scenery. This really was quite off the beaten track, and the locals we saw on boats or on the rivers edge all called out and waved.

The next day we boarded our first public bus and had a 2 hour journey to Nanning, then a 3 hour journey to Liuzhou. Our hotel in Liuzhou turned out to have heating and lovely showers (and sit down toilets) which is always such a luxury. 

That night we went out to the Soho bar after a dinner of noodles, dim sums and (for some) quail eggs. Soho Bar is the popular nightspot here and Sharon (our tour guide) had some of her local friends meet us here. They were very friendly and we were playing paper-scissors-rock and the local dice game in no time. The vodka and tiger beers were flowing and Andy made friends with the locals who loved downing shots of beer with him. Singers would pop up at different points in the bar and sing along to a backing track to western pop songs, getting the crowd going. At one point I saw most of our Intrepid group dancing on a stage in the middle of the crowd, and I have the photos to prove it. Most got home around 3.30am so it's lucky we've got the late bus to Chengyang today. There's bound to be some sore heads.

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fox_777 on

Hello,Welcome to Guangxi.I have the reason to believe that you like the city moderate breezes view of Guangxi very next time take trip with take risk go where?good luck and happy in China.

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