Third Guilin post in a row..starting to feel like I'm being productive with these vacation photos! The photo above was taken when we were inside the bus. The hotel we stayed at was located in the city centre/downtown so we had to drive quite a bit everyday to visit some other places, as most of the "attractions" of Guilin are the nature, river cruises, etc. I always looked forward to driving through their beautiful countrysides.
Guilin is very mountainous. One early morning, we visited this park at the foot of a mountain.
Those men sitting there were all playing music..I really felt like I was in a movie at this moment because they were playing that traditional Chinese music you always hear in old movies (like background music in Chinese films). Very serene and peaceful atmosphere.
Then we walked alllll the way up the mountain to take in this wonderful view. All I remember was that there were a LOT of steps. Tiring but it was worth it.
Then driving again..we saw lots of homes/food places like these along the way. Are these considered slums? Don't mean to sound ignorant but I previously received a rude comment when I referred to them as that..
I was thinking if buildings like these were in Toronto they would most likely be boarded up or abandoned. But here, people actually live in these buildings. I guess these places would be like the equivalent of our suburban areas. I find it interesting to see how people in other parts of the world live. Really puts things into perspective.
Next we went on a cruise along the Li River. This is considered the most famous landmark of Guilin (though personally I don't think it's all that special) It's supposed to resemble an elephant & its trunk.
I took so many photos on this river cruise but my photos do not do it justice at all, so I'm going to suggest you CLICK HERE to get a better idea of what it looks like. I don't want to show my bad-quality photos as you'll get the wrong impression lol
After that we went to a tea tasting and lunch:
Some more photos from when we were on the road. I couldn't resist taking photos every 5 seconds! Hope you're enjoying all these posts :D
Continuing on with my Asia vacation, here's a bunch of photos from when we visited the Longsheng rice terraces in Guilin. This was the highlight of my entire trip - I've been looking forward to visiting rice terraces for years. It's definately one of the most memorable days of my life..I really loved it. I guess it changed my outlook on life, after I was able to see and experience a totally different culture than my own/any I've ever experienced before. I love watching documentaries, and I've seen many of rural China - whenever I watch documentaries showing other parts of the world, it's hard to believe they actually exist (like all those from the Planet Earth series which I LOVE). I mean of course I KNOW the places exist, but sometimes before seeing them in person, it's like they only exist on-screen. Then actually visiting such a place in person, it's like you're stepping into another world. It's hard to describe & I have a feeling I'm being repetitive here lol..
I barely have any pictures from this day because my camera suddenly decided to die on me halfway through the day. I was so upset. It was the worst possible day for me not to have my camera. There were so many things I saw that day I wish I could've taken pictures of. But it's alright because I'll always have the memories, and not worrying about taking pictures allowed me to actually take in all my surroundings in a different way.
First we had a long drive from our hotel to this little village at the foot of a mountain. As I said in my previous post, it was a very very low-income area. The people who live on the mountain have been living there for the past few thousand years (I mean their ancestors) and their lifestyles have remained the same. I felt like I went back in time.
When we arrived at the mountain, we went for some food at the only restaurant there. I have to admit I was kind of nervous about eating their food, but it wasn't too bad. Everything tasted different though - the potatoes didn't taste like regular potatoes, rice didn't taste like normal rice, etc..
Live entertainment: those girls in the pink hats sang for us while we ate...
After eating, we continued on up the mountain. We had to take these vans up because of the twisting & turning roads on the sides of the mountain..and I guess you have to be a very experienced driver to navigate through them. I decided to sit at the front seat. It was such a fun ride but kind of scary as well - he drove pretty fast, and there were quite a few turns and bumps on the road..such an adrenaline rush. I managed to not go flying out the window!
This was as high as any vehicle could take us. After that, it was a final 45 minute walk/hike up to the rice terraces. You could hire one of those people to carry you up but we walked up. It would probably be scarier sitting in one of those things, you'll see why later..
Here's what we saw along the way up the mountain:
Started off with a smooth, flat road..then it became steps for the remainder. Imagine sitting in one of those chair things as the guy carrying it trips and throws you over the side!
This is the final picture I was able to take before my camera died :( The next ones were found on Flickr, of the exact same place and things we saw along the way..
(photo credit: andreelau @ flickr)
Those local villagers would help tourists carry their luggage up on their backs. There were little motels along the way but no, we didn't stay in them. I wouldn't have minded though. Maybe next time when I go I'll stay in one -- live a few days like a local villager.
(photo credit: sigurdsson @ flickr)
(photo credit: rietje @ flickr)
Here's some of the villagers..I think they're part of the Yao minority group. The black things on top of their heads are actually their super long hair wrapped around.
(photo credit: rietje @ flickr)
(photo credit: chinatravelsavvy @ flickr)
(photo credit: benbeiske @ flickr)
By the way, I wore flat shoes that day hahah. It was probably the only day I was glad I wasn't in heels! But they were Dior shoes - a little bit of luxury maintained. Needless to say, they were quite dirty and muddy at the end of the day. Totally worth it though.
Finally at the top!! This was the view - very much worth the hike up. This is actually a picture of a picture. It's from a book I bought, about the Longsheng rice terraces and the villages along the mountain. Once again, so disappointed my camera batteries were dead...
The terraces are all man-made. Since the people lived on a hill, they didn't have a lot of flat available land to grow crops. So this was the alternative to a flat piece of land; the terraces allowed for larger surface areas.
I am so so so slow with these vacation photos from Asia. Here's another one of Guilin. Every single time I go to a new city (NOT in North America) there's always that initial "shock" -- or more like, a surreal feeling like I'm in a dream or something. It's the best part about travelling. I've seen lots of pictures and seen movies about China, but it doesn't compare to actually being there. The entire bus ride to our hotel, I pretty much blocked out everything else and just stared out the window in awe.
I wrote this part when I was there: "Apparently their yearly salary here is like $2800 yuan/about $500 cdn? I feel like giving them money. It's good to know I can so easily give them a month's wage but it also leads me to wonder..does it even matter? They seem to have a good life, if you don't compare it to other parts of the world. It's just a different way of living and money has nothing to do with it
We drove through some of the poorest areas of the city (or even all of China). I kind of felt like I went back in time because of the way the people were dressed and their simple lifestyles of mainly just farming. It's like they never advanced themselves to modern life (as we know it)."