Guangxi - Journey Began in Guilin

Trip Start Oct 22, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Guangxi,
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

24/10/2012 (Wed) - Arriving in Guilin

Departure: Haikou Meilan Airport (海口美兰国际机场), 8.25 am
Arrival: Guilin Liangjiang International Airport (桂林两江国际机场), 10 am

After checking-in to Guilin This Old Place Youth Hostel (桂林老地方国际青年旅舍), I spent the remaining half a day walking around Banyan Lake (榕湖) and Fir Lake (杉湖), which were the only spots that were free of entrance fees in Guilin City (桂林). Visit to the Sun & Moon Twin Pagoda (日月双塔), on Fir Lake, had an entrance fee of ¥35. The Moon Pagoda (月塔) was seven level high and Sun Pagoda (日塔) was nine level high. I regretted paying the fee and went in because both pagodas had some Buddhist functions in them and the highest two levels of the Sun Pagoda were off-limit to non-believers.

Guilin This Old Place had a dumpling-wrapping party on every Wednesday and guests was invited to join in - need to pay for the ingredients. I and a French guy joined in. After we finished wrapping and eating the dumplings, a hostel staff led the guests for a walk around the city along the lakes. The scenery around the various lakes were prettier at night - there was always a light mist hanging in the air during the day during this season.

25/10/2012 (Thur) - Sights in Guilin

Rice noodle (米粉) was the most common staple in Guilin and the cheapest eat. I had rice noodle for most meals, especially breakfasts, until I got sick of it after a few days.

I walked through Zhenyang Road Walking Street (镇扬路步行街) to Jingjiang Princes City (靖江王城) but did not go in because of the steep entrance ticket (¥80). I also skipped the next spot - Fubo Mountain (伏坡山, ¥35). At Folded Brocade Hill (叠彩山), I decided to go up this hill because it was slightly taller than other hills to have a better view of the city and the Li River (漓江). It was a easier ascend, but the sunny weather made it a sweaty event. Folded Brocade Hill had two peaks and both offered splendid views of the city and Li River.

Lunch and dinner were pretty exotic for this day. I had half a kilogram - which was one jin (斤) in China - of dog meat for lunch and one jin of horse meat for dinner. Sinful? There was no guilt in me, these were what the locals ate.

As night fell, I decided to do a night photography of Banyan Lake and Fir Lake and the various bridges spanning across the lakes. There was a bridge that had an imitation of the French Arc de Triomphe on it and another bridge of a shorter version of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. There were others that I could not identify. On one of the lakes, some fishermen demonstrated traditional cormorant fishing - seemed to me they were putting on a show for tourists than fishing.

26/10/2012 (Fri) - 1,000-year Old Village

I booked a tour package from Guilin to Xingping (兴坪) the following day and also a reservation for Xingping This Old Place Youth Hostel (兴坪老地方国际青年旅舍) through the hostel that I was staying.

A Chinese guy from Chongqing, named Xia Tian (夏天), checked in to the hostel on the same day as me but we went our ways for the last two days. He joined me for this day as he was also not willing to pay entrance tickets to sights that were fenced up from public view.

We went to an old village that was miles from Guilin - a village by the name of Jiangtouzhou (江头洲). We took a public bus to the Northern Train Station (桂林北站), change bus to Lingchuan (灵川), then to Jiuwu (九屋). Jiangtouzhou was a 1,000-year old village with beautiful farmlands along the way. Entrance to the village was only ¥5.

Back in Guilin, we had fried chicken with snails in hot wok (田螺鸡) for dinner. Snails from the farmlands were another specialty in Guilin. We also tried the oil tea (油茶), which was to be consumed with oil-fried rice and nuts soaked in the oil tea. It was really an oily tea.
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