June 18, 2018, Monday
Today is the Dragon Festival day in China. Because of this festival, the whole country is on holiday, in a celebratory mood.
We arrived in Guilin last night. The city is located in the autonomous region near the South China Sea. In this medium-sized city, Zhouan is the prominent ethnic group and their language is close to Vietnamese. They understand each other. We are pretty close to Vietnam anyway. We are in the sub-tropical zone of China and experiencing incredible heat and humidity. The reason why we came here is to see the Li River, which is often regarded as the holiday resort of the Chinese, and to observe hundreds of small, cucumber-like hill formations around this river. This trip can be carried out on a ship traveling on the river for 4 hours.
After the big, crowded, fast-paced big Chinese cities full of communist-style high-rise apartment blocks and skyscrapers, it is of course a nice change to see the country’s pristine nature and to breathe its uncontaminated air. Unfortunately, however, this region is known for another reason also; for their taste for eating turtles, worms, crocodiles and dog meat. They grow dogs and crocodiles in farms for consumption! When I heard this, I felt blood draining from my brain. According to the Chinese, they eat everything with wings except airplane, and everything with 4 legs except for tables and chairs. This habit is based on the great hunger and drought that they have experienced. Today, wild animals are protected by the state, but unfortunately they have not given up on their habits of eating other animals.
The last stop on the river cruise is a holiday town named Yangshuo with a population of 30,000. I can never say that this place is as clean as the other places we've seen so far in China. In fact, the opposite. I am not sure if it is because this is a smaller residential area or an autonomous region. It is possible to visit paddy fields, see water lilies in ponds and even see old-style Chinese houses in the villages of Yanshuo. Of course, these houses are far from the comfort and hygiene of living spaces today. It is common to spot the Chinese and even Western tourists cooling off in the river in Yangshuo and in the center of Guilin. Water buffalos and fishermen with their comrates (fishing birds) can also be observed.
June 19, 2018, Tuesday
Guilin Airport, Shanghai Airlines Aircraft
We spent our day in Guilin visiting other sites at high humidity and high temperature as our flight for Shanghai was in the evening. Camel and elephant-shaped hills, parks, Reed Flute Cave and lakes. Strolling in the park was nice as it allowed us to observe the daily life of the Chinese. For example, the pensioners play cardboard or ball games with friends, play instruments, sing, and of course, a very common sight in China, look after their grandchildren.
But I can say that the extra days we spent in Xi’an and Guilin were unnecessary. We didn’t need to be in Guilin today. In Xi’an, the City Wall visit could have been combined with the previous day. So I could get to my kids 2 days earlier. Even though we try to video chat several times every day, I can not sleep at night as I miss them so much.
Our flight from Guilin to Shanghai is going to take a little longer than two hours. China is really a massive country.
Although there are more options for tourists in terms of food compared to ten or even two years ago, Chinese food is naturally more dominant everywhere, including in hotels. Fortunately, I was prepared for this situation with canned vegetables. If I was unprepared, it would have been very difficult for me, because Chinese food in China is much different than what is offered in Western restaurants. Not up to everyone’s sleeve.