Laura's World Tour
25th Jul 2012 - 27th Jul 2012
Guilin - Karst brilliance
Arriving in Guilin (via plane - look at me!) was like any arrival in a new town - stressful. Off the bus and taxi drivers immediately pounce and try sheperd you into their taxi at a ridiculously elevated price. When walking away they run ahead to the next taxi driver to state clearly the price they'd gone with and that they should not go lower - backwards and forwards -shrugs and anger but eventually one will break and give a reasonable price. Next issue: where exactly is the hostel? Taxi driver must phone the hostel and then hope to make it one piece - inevitably there is some type of miscommunication and the taxi driver speeds away frustrated and cheated and me, fuming just slightly and looking forward to dump my bag.
The wonderful thing about Guilin though, up front, was that it wasn't raining! Amazing! It was such a relief!
Guilin introduced me to the phenomenon which is Karst formations. These are tall peaks that shoot up from ground level as a result of the mountains lime stone being eroded away over thousands of years - just leaving these lush green peaks behind. They leap out of the ground all over town and the town, as a result has grown around their bases in a sprawling magnificent madness. And then, let's throw a river down the middle of it all. You will need to look at pictures to understand.
On my first day, I went to visit the Elephant Truck Hill which is one such Karst formation which rises out of the river on two sides and land and the others. It is quite something with the elephant trunk being a part of the Karst that has eroded away leaving a semi circle of hole on the water. I walked around it, admiring it from all angles including from the top with a view of the city stuffed into gaps between the hills. And then you will never guess what happened... It started to rain.
On the way back to the hostel, now that the rain had come (following me?) I noticed a small lake so went ot investigate. Quite unexpected there were 2 pagodas (tall and majestic) coming straight out the middle of the lake. More spectacular is the juxtapositioning of this ancient site with the glass city gnawing at its edges for a bit more space to exhale.
It rained the remainder of the day and night and all I hoped was that the rain would subside the next day so that. I could enjoy my bamboo boat ride down the river to Yangshuo. And it did! Apparently the first day it hadn't rained in a week - good hussle.
Yangshuo is only 70km away but takes a couple hours by bus due to bad roads, and as I mentioned, I threw a bamboo boatride in there so it took me the better part of the day to reach Yangshuo and meet up with Kev - do you remember him from the scooter trip around Bali? He is now living in Yangshuo while learning Chinese.
The boatride was spectacular! Bamboo is a bit of a stretch to describe the boats as they are shaped like bamboo reeds connected together however, they are plastic. And not pushed down the river like old school days but with a motor.
The river weaves through the Karst formations which are so intimidating from the water as some of them literally hang over. And there are thousands of them, all covered so lushly in trees and shrubbery with the occasional glimpse of a cave going inwards (the way that they erode create plenty caves).
I shared the trip with an English girl who had just had brain surgery which made for pretty intense conversation but all good. The scenery was beautiful, the weather perfect, holding out until the minute we were reloaded onto the bus when it started raining so also, perfect timing. Such a cool day drifting.
And then I was in Yangshuo which makes Guilin seem ugly due to its incredible beauty and make up. But that will come in the next blog...
|778 Words | This page has been read 16 times||View Printable Version|