Wednesday, December 31, 2008

South China

Day 7:  In the morning, our friendly minibus driver took us to a wharf to catch a Li River cruise.  The river is really famous for all the craggy karst mountains around it, but unfortunately it was raining.  It was pretty cool to have the mountains rising out of the mist, but it would have been nice to see them on a clearer day.  There were locals on little rafts formed from 4 pieces of bamboo (very tippy-looking) who would attach to our boat and hawk their souvenir wares. Some even gave fresh fish to the kitchen on the back of the boat.  We arrived in Yangshuo at 2 in the afternoon.  West street is really narrow and full of touristy shops and cafes.  There are neon lights all along the second story, giving it an especially lively look at night.  We finally made it to our hotel, which was 30 minutes from the main part of town (again, the travel agent is not too bright) after a long walk in the rain.

Day 8:  Made it back to Guilin in the morning, and went for a walk around town.  The town has a lot of inter-connected lakes with little park areas around them.  Eventually we made it to Fubo hill, which has a cool cave and a great view from the top.  Lots of mountains.  Next was seven stars park, an area with 7 hills and various other attractions, including a panda, fake waterfalls, a hill shaped like a camel, and lots of peacocks.  We walked along the lakes at night when they were all lit up, and saw the largest man-made waterfall in the world cascading down the front of a hotel (10 min at 8:30 every night).  It was quite impressive. 

Day 9  We caught a plane to Shenzhen, and a train to Hong Kong.  The cross-boundary busses involve getting off for an hour at the border to go through two different customs lines.  Unpleasant.  But you get stampys.  We finally made it to Kowloon and treated ourselves to the outrageously expensive, but delicious Haagen-Dasz while watching ice-skating children pushing little penguins around (like the chairs used for balance, but way cooler.)  Huge bright lights in Hong Kong, little lanes filled with salespeople.  We had noodle soup, and went to temple street night market.   Really cheap cool looking oil paintings, which Eric and I bought a lot of.  

THe hotel has TV channels from around the world, including French TV Asia.  It currently has little gazelles running around with the narrator talking in a soothing French voice.  Somehow fascinating at 6 in the morning.  Have a happy new year.

No comments: