It’s beginning to get colder here in Guiyang. Both Dave and I are wearing sweaters and slippers, and we’ve pulled out some extra blankets for the bedroom. The Chinese government doesn’t provide heating for anyone below a certain imaginary line they’ve drawn across the country, so in Guiyang, we don’t have indoor heating. We were lucky to find several space heaters that had been left behind by previous tenants of our old apartment, so when we moved this weekend, the heaters came with us. We were also smart, and brought along slippers with us. Mine are the nice fur-lined moccasins that my dad got for me for Christmas 2 years ago. Unfortunately, the fur on them has seen better days (life with cats!), but they’ll help a great deal with keeping my toes warm through the cold months. (Also, Dad, if you’re reading this…I could use a new pair :p Size 8!!!).
Our final day and a half in Guilin was most definitely not ‘slipper weather’. We developed some well defined tan lines in Guangxi (they only got darker in Xiamen), and the sun was very welcomed, after 2 months of clouds in Guiyang.
After the Rice Terrace tour, Emily dropped us off downtown once more, where we said goodbye and hugged our wonderful tour guide. We exchanged phone numbers and WeChat IDs (WeChat is a little like BBM mixed with FB). Since then, she’s sent me several messages, telling us what a great job we did painting our apartment, and even sending me links to job postings in Guilin city. Oh, how I wish I could make that happen!!!
We spent our last evening in Guilin walking around downtown once more. This time, we walked down to the Sun and Moon Pagodas, one of Guilin’s most famous sites. They are located right on the river, and are lit up beautifully, so they were really worth seeing. The river path was gorgeous and clean. People don’t spit as much in Guilin (it’s bad for tourism; the city’s main source of income), and it seems like fewer people there smoke as well. We enjoyed our walk along the river, as the sun went down, talking about our day in the fields, and enjoying the view as the pagodas began to light up.
We spent a few more hours in the market after our walk along the river, buying a few more Christmas presents and enjoying some Guilin style bbq. There is more seafood available in Guilin than there is in Guiyang so we definitely took advantage of that! As we were leaving the restaurant, we noticed a strange looking meat, wrapped around a skewer. At first, I thought it might be snake, so we asked the waiter. He looked bashful and told us it was “Zhu Rou” (pork meat). I’d seen many pork parts at bbqs in the past, but I didn’t recognize this one, so I pointed to my stomach and said “from here?”. He looked at me bashfully once more, pointed at Dave’s mid section, and looked away very quickly. The Chinese believe that whatever part of the animal you eat, the better you will become in that area. They eat brain to be smarter. They eat eyeball to have better vision. They eat pork penis, because well…you know…We did not try it, as we were very full. I imagine Dave would have probably wanted to, but I’m not upset that we missed the chance!
The next day, we head downtown once more, but the experience was very different from the previous nights’. It seemed that overnight, quiet and beautiful Guilin was invaded…by tourists! The buses were ‘standing room only’ and the streets were so full that it took ages to get anywhere. Everywhere we looked there were vendors selling food, drinks and cheap merchandise. It was all very overwhelming, so we found our way to Elephant Trunk Park, where we hoped there would be fewer people (the high admission price kept many tourists at bay).
Elephant Trunk Park, I must say, was a bit of a let down. It’s main attraction, a large rock formation that’s shaped like an elephant (I guess?) was really the coolest thing to see. Still, it is the most famous scene to see in Guilin, so I’m happy we went. And to be fair, I honestly think anything would have disappointed me after seeing the mountains along the Li River, followed by the LongJi Rice Terraces!
There were a few other things to see in the park. There were a large number of parade floats set up around certain areas of the park. Some of them were quite well done. Some of them were in some very strange positions. And a lot of them made no sense at all.
And thus concludes my telling of our four day stay in Guangxi Province! Next time, I will be writing about our stay in Xiamen; my first home in China!!