In the late morning of the 18th, we headed to the Taipei airport on our way back to China. First we had to fly back to Hong Kong and then from there we flew to Guilin. As of this time, there are no direct flights to or from Taiwan from China. To our surprise, when we boarded our plane in Hong Kong, we found that we had been upgraded to business class. We were very happy as we had some delicious Thai food on the flight. It was such a treat as Nancy hasn't had any Thai food since leaving the U.S. and Bryan has had only had one bad Thai meal since leaving. We arrived in Guilin late in the evening. We hailed a cab to take us from the airport to our hotel. The cab driver asked Nancy a million questions trying to get us to spend more money with his friends' establishments. First he started with, 'Do you have a hotel?' Nancy had already told him the name of the hotel that we were going to go to. Then he went on to say, 'Do you want to stay at another hotel that I know of? How much are you paying?... That's WAY too much. I can find you another hotel for much less. Did you already give them money for your hotel? (Nancy lied and said yes) Well, they will refund your money when you get there. You must ask for a refund and come to my hotel. You are paying too much, you will definitely be given a refund. Are you hungry? You sure you don't need to eat something more? What are you doing tomorrow? Do you need a car to take you around?' Then when he was dropping us off, he claimed that he couldn't park in front of the hotel, but, instead parked behind the hotel. He said, 'Why don't you two leave your bags in the car and go check out the hotel.' Hmm...that sounded a little suspicious. So we hopped out of the cab and walked to the entrance of our hotel only to find that there was very good access to the front of the hotel. We weren't sure what to make of the taxi driver. Was he just trying to be extra nice or was he just trying to make some extra money. We spent the night at the Taihe Hotel in Guilin and the next morning we awoke ready to explore the city. It was a little damp out, but that didn't stop us.
Guilin is a unique city because it is surrounded by karst formations. Karst formations are made of limestone. Years ago, the entire area was under water and as water began to flow, the karst formations were formed. Currently, Guilin is undergoing a major facelift. The entire city appears to be under construction. Residents said that the construction has been going on for about two years and is due to continue another five or more years. The results should be quite nice.
Views of Elephant Trunk Park.
Here's a panoramic look at the garden at the front of the park.
|Up, up, up we go again. We were headed to the top of the 'Elephant.'|
This panoramic shot shows how developed the Li river has become. It also shows that it was a foggy day in Guilin. You can barely see the karsts in the distance.
|Now it's time to go down, down, down.|
|This is why the park has its name. Looks just like an elephant dipping its trunk into the water.|
Some ethnic minority ladies, in traditional dress, from around China will pose for photos if the price is right.
The view from outside the Reed Flute Cave.
Inside the Reed Flute Cave. Check out the reflection in the pool.
Some beautiful scenes around the city of Guilin.
|Beautiful karst scenery in Guilin. Look at the reflection!|
|Nancy in front of Camel Hill at the Seven Star Park in Guilin. We didn't notice that it was a camel yet.|
|Ah ... the camel.|
On to: Yangshou (Part I)
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