Guilin, Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces & McDonald’s

I feel like this post is going to be a mixture of a few gross things and some exciting coincidences.

Let’s start with the scandal.

It was time to leave Xi’an and headed down south. I jumped in the train going to Changsha where I had to change for Guilin. There is a direct train to Guilin, but it’s a slow one and takes 26 hours. I couldn’t afford to waste so much time on the train, so I took two fast ones and I think it still took me around 9 hours to get to Guilin.

When I arrived to Changsha I had a bit of time in the train station and thus I thought I’d get some food. I went to McDonald’s as there were not that much choice and they told me that the only things they had were coffee and cakes. Seriously??

I got to Guilin quite hungry and one of the first things I saw there was McDonald’s. I was really tired and couldn’t be bothered to look for anything else so and I thought I’d just go there, as I had a plenty of time later on in Guilin to be creative and experiment with the local food.

And they did not have any beef burgers again… What is going on??

It turned out that the meat supplier from Shanghai which was providing a vast region in China with the “finest” beef, was actually selling rotten meat, way past expiry date. Well, I definitely had that at soe point during my trip. A few times I’ve chosen McDonald’s against local food, as I was really fed up with occasional unpleasant surprises. So getting McDonald’s seemed like a safe idea. Apparently it wasn’t.

Anyway, enough about that. Let’s go back to the story about Guilin now.

It was hot and crowded, as I expected, but beautiful. There are some “must see” things in town and one of them is Elephant Trunk Hill (guess why it is called like that…).  You have to pay if you want to get into the surrounding area and on the top of the hill. And while the view from the top is quite nice, I am not convinced if that is worth the money though.

DSC_0603Elephant Trunk Hill

DSC_0590The View from the Top

DSC_0584Pagoda on the Hill

One afternoon I decided to leave the city centre and I went for a walk near the river. There were kids playing in water, women doing their laundry, boats passing and then suddenly I saw this:

DSC_0620

DSC_0617

Holy sh*t!

It freaked me out at first as I thought maybe it was a child’s body, but then I realised it was a dead pig. Gross (the last “gross” I promise).

Yes, China…

Anyway, let me tell you something a bit more exciting.

I was supposed to celebrate my birthday in Guilin. I remember it was still a few hours until my actual birthday and I was just sitting in my hostel room thinking what to do. Then my roommate came back, saying that he had to go out but could not be bothered to. I asked him why he was going out in the first place and he said it was his birthday in a few hours! No way!!!

We had a few drinks in the hostel with some people and then two of us went clubbing, as everyone else was too tired. We got a taxi and went to basically the first club we saw. I don’t remember how it is called but it was quite an expensive place (£5/beer) and we met couple of Brits who said it was one of the best places to party in town (I don’t think they did anything else apart from partying there).

We came back past two o’clock and the hostel was locked (whooopps). We managed to wake the guard up and he let us in (It was Guilin Wada Hostel if anyone’s wondering. Very nice hostel though). It was a fun night, but I had to get up super early in the morning as I was going to Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces.

The trip was definitely a highlight of my China experience. I booked it through the hostel, so I didn’t have to worry about getting lost on my birthday.

It was so peaceful around! Also, the region is famous for their long haired women (they usually hide their hair though). I also had a really nice fish and rice dish in one of the tiny houses. Happy Birthday me!

DSC_0061   DSC_0036DSC_0070   DSC_0058 DSC_0011   DSC_0013 DSC_0102   DSC_0005

DSC_0083   DSC_0079   

The trip back was something like a dream. I was actually really tired and fell asleep a few times, but when I was awake I was observing how massive buses were trying to pass through the tiny roads. I thought it was a proper art.

When I came back I had three new people in my room. They were all French and when one of the girls was in the bathroom two others started whispering. I told them they don’t have two as I can’t speak any French (it was a joke of course).

Then they told me it was the girl’s in the toilet birthday. I said it was my birthday as well. I couldn’t believe the coincidence!!

We bought loads of cake and shared that with the entire hostel. I think that’s been my favourite birthday so far – seven hours longer than usual (due to time differences in China and at home), with beautiful rice terraces and two parties 😉

DSC_0115  Our fancy cake selection

DSC_0114 Birthday girls

Next day I left for Yangshuo, but ~spoiler alert~ I’ll be back to Guilin again next week. However, I will finish telling my Guilin story in the next post.


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