We spent last week in Guilin, China. It is an amazingly beautiful place in southern China.
The first day we went on a hike to get a view of the city and mountains that surround it. The mountains in Guilin are stone and rise from the ground in no particular order. They are breath taking and unlike any mountains I have ever seen. After the hike and lunch we visited the Reed Flute Cave. It was interesting all the signs they had throughout the cave that told you what different rock formations look like. We saw everything from a frog to a snowman, or at least we tried to (some were a stretch of the imagination).
On the second day in Guilin we went to Gudong waterfall park. It was a great hike and several of the students decided to pay a few dollars and take a big slide down. I could hear them laughing going down the slide as I walked down. After the hike we went to Seven Star park, where we got to see some monkeys and the rock that marks the spot where Bill Clinton gave a speech when he was president.
On the third day we took a 4 hour boat ride from Guilin to Yangshuo on the Li river. On the boat ride we saw the view that is painted on the back of the 20 yuan bill in China. The entire ride was beautiful scenery. We also had some tourists from India who did some Karaoke on the boat. When we arrived we spent the afternoon walking around the town and did lots of shopping.
The forth day we rode bikes all day through the country side. We saw farm fields, fruit trees and old villages that were farming communes in the past that still have the picture of Mao hanging on the back wall of the home. We also stopped along the way at the Butterfly cave.
On the fifth day we were back on our bikes, and back to the country side. Our first stop was to the see the big Banya Tree (bottom right photo) which was in a famous Chinese movie. The tree is over 100 years old and huge. The things that look like supports from the ground to hold the branches are actually shots the tree sends down to support itself, so it is all part of the tree. We then hiked to Moon Hill (bottom left), named for its shape of a half moon. It was a very humid day and a hard hike up hundreds of steps and as you can see by the group photo, we are all a little tired. It was well worth the view from the top.
In the evening of our fifth day we viewed a famous show in China. It is called “Impression of the Third Sister Liu” The stage of the show is on the Li river (literally on the river and many acts have hundreds of farmers in boats moving around) with the mountains as the background (bottom right). There are around 600 performers in the show. The picture with the red is hundreds of farmers on the river on little boats lifting and lowering long stretches of ribbon across the river. The top left photo was at the end when hundreds of people all lined up on long rafts in the river in outfits that lit up. It was really an amazing show and unlike anything we have ever seen.
We spent our last two days in Longsheng to see the rice terraces. The rice terraces have been here and farmed for hundreds of years. When the dynasties were having wars minority people fled to the mountains to avoid fighting and settled here. The rice terraces are called the dragon backbone because they look like the scales of a dragon. We got to hike on these small stone paths through the terraces. It was rainy when we were visiting so we didn’t get the best pictures.
At the end of our last day while waiting for the bus down the mountain, I asked for one last group photo. This is what I got. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know this awesome group of eight kids. We have had a wonderfully fun time in China. Looking forward to our last 2 weeks and trip to Beijing before we head home.