"Guilin's scenery is the best under heaven"

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Saturday, August 13, 2011

We woke up rejuvenated and ready to hit the streets. We left the apartment around 10:30 and started walking down the street. We are completely clueless on where to find breakfast. Unlike all our other darker complected counterparts, we weren't really feeling the whole spicy noodle thing that early. We were completely out of our element. Some random Chinese guy gets out of his car and yelled down the street at us. He said he spent some time in the states and was quite fluent in English. He said we looked lost and offered to help us find our way around. We told him we were looking for somewhere to get breakfast and he gave us an answer I wasn't looking for. Something along the lines of, we Chinese don't eat breakfast like Americans, we have noodles and rice soup. Quite different than the iHop I had in mind, but then he said his friends had gone to a bakery down the street and offered to walk us to the bakery they had gone to. Heidi and I grabbed way too much to eat, I don't even think we ate half of it. Not that it really mattered it was less than $3 worth of stuff. After that we just started wondering around the city. We grabbed a steamed dumpling called baozi, it's a specialty around here, tastes amazing, then started strolling through a small shopping district off the beaten path. It was interesting, I don't know how else to describe it. In there we bought a map of Guilin and took it to an officer working the entrance of the area. I pointed to Seven Star Park and made hand gestures for him to direct us which way to start walking. His blank stare told me nothing. Seven Star Park is supposed to be a huge tourist attraction in Guilin but this guy apparently knew nothing of its whereabouts. Nor did he speak a drop of English (though he was listening to Michael Jackson through his cell phone speakers). Haha. We walked back to the other entrance and the guard pointed where we should go; it was the wrong direction. We kept walking and pointing for directions. It wasn't working out so well but we didn't really mind because we were getting to see several different parts of the city. After several hours of walking, and going through a musty market with live animals, we stopped to ask these two guys on motorcycles where the park was. They pointed in the direction and offered to give us a ride. Heidi jumped on the back of one and I the other. They charged 8 Yuan each, which is roughly $1.25. We now know that was way too much; it should have been no more than 4 Yuan each. We made it to the park payed our way in and started exploring. No wonder there is a famous saying in China that "Guilin's scenery is the best among all under heaven." The place was beautiful. My camera died about halfway through exploring the park. I got some good shots though. After that we did a little shopping and grabbed another motorcycle taxi to take us back. We made it back to the apartments and met up with Robbie, the program director. After a quick chat he told us riding those motorcycles is super dangerous but he has been known to take one on occasion. Haha. That night we went to eat at a Sichuanese restaurant in a hotel. The food was awesome for the most part. There isn't a menu they just bring a bunch of random stuff and it sits on a glass top on top of the table. Everyone just slowly turns the glass top grabbing what each person wants to eat from the plate with your chopsticks. Afterwards, we went to a Guilin club called Joy. It was pretty awesome. They played almost all English music, though nobody in there really spoke English. They played more Latino music than Chinese. So after we got there we found a bar top and stood around chatting. It was so loud it was almost impossible to have a conversation. After we had been there for a bit caught eyes with this girl at the table next to us. She immediately looked away. That happened several times over the rest of the time we were there. So I finally asked her if she spoke English. She shook her head, nothing. Before we left I gave her my email address, that's the only mutual form of communication I have thus far in China. Haha. She emailed me later that night and we've been messaging ever since. This should probably drastically improve my Chinese. It has to be amusing on her end how bad my Chinese grammer must be. The next day we did some shopping and exploring. We went to the big mall in town and walked around. Normal daily life is starting to set in, at least with Chinese characteristics.  

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