Travelogues .............................................................................................................................

Lucy Corne's footstep in Yanghuo and Guilin
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Editor: Lucy Corne From UK     Edited Date:2005-11-22 15:37:19   Visitors:3752   
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   Against all odds, the missing guidebook turned up and we went happily on our way to Guilin, not quite believing our luck. For some reason, Guilin has been dubbed the 'most beautiful place on earth'. The surrounding scenery of lush green limestone peaks is gorgeous, the town itself is an ugly place and we headed for the smaller town of Yangshuo, one hour south.

  Yangshuo could be compared to Pucon in Chile. It's a tourist town set in simply stunning surroundings. The town is clean, tidy and well looked after and the Western cafes that inhabit the traditional Chinese architecture co-exist well with the bustling nightmarket whipping up Chinese specials. The raw ingredients are laid out on a table and you choose whatever you fancy, overcoming the dilemma of menus in Chinese. Yangshuo has rekindled our faith in Chinese cuisine! Despite the sweltering heat and irratic car drivers we decided to hire some bikes to explore the beauty of the area. A couple of rolls of film later it was time for a cold cold shower! Mid summer heat is intense here and I have crimson arms to prove it! We opted for local food at lunchtime and though it was delicious we craved something familiar and so headed to the 'Hard Rock' cafe for pizza, burritos and cold beer. Heaven!  
 
 After learning that the local travel agents charge a 30% service fee for obtaining train tickets, Hector jumped on a 1 hr Guilin-bound bus to fight through the crowds and buy them himself. All did not go to plan as all hard sleeper tickets had already been snapped up as had all numbered hard seat tickets. This left Hector to choose between buying tickets for a later day or buying a ticket without actually buying a seat and hoping to secure one once on board. As much as we'd love to stay in Yangshuo for several days, we want to be in Beijing in time to get Russian visas and be on the train to Mongolia in time for Naadam festival. So hard seat without a seat it was. Not a particularly pleasing thought - 25 hours standing on a Chinese train (or any train for that matter!). More or less happy with our decision we walked down to the river (the only cool place in town) where Hector spent an hour giving Spanish lessons to the locals. I have never seen people so keen to learn or so determined to master pronunciation before moving onto the next phrase! We found ourselves some delicious street food for supper before turning in for a good night's sleep before the marathon train ride. 

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