The one constant in China for us has been the excruciatingly slow internet. This has made blogging an unexpected challenge so I'm trying a new method this trip. We'll try for shorter posts along the way rather than trying to publish a novel at the end of the trip. We began on February 24th with a 24 hour train ride from Beijing to Guilin. Guilin is a pleasant departure from the pollution of Beijing. It's best known for the towering karst formations, scenic Li River, and all around natural beauty. We took a boat ride down the Li River 83 kilometers to the town of Yangshuo and visited the nearby village of YuLong. This tiny village has a small tributary running through the rice fields. The village, mostly inhabited by elders and a handful of children, still has structures built during the Qing Dynasty in the late 1800s. The parents of the children were no where to be seen and were most likely away in major cities working. We watched the fisherman with their Camarand birds and small bamboo boats go to work. These are apparently some of the last Camarand fisherman in China.
We tried the local fare. Beer fish and beer duck. Not bad but not memorable. We've realized we are far away from our Northeastern noodle based cuisine of choice. Down south they eat rice and rice noodles. Also interesting was the noticeably high rate of English speaking locals in Guilin. According to one local, its not all due to the recent explosion of tourism. Guilin was one of the first cities opened to foreigners during the reforms of the late 1970s. Unfortunately, a cold front and rain moved in so most of Day 3 was spent inside keeping warm and sipping the local brew. We departed Guilin for the Guangxi provincial capital of Nanning in the morning.