Saturday, December 27, 2008


When we were in Thailand, Marty and I were joking that our image of China was that it was gray and dismal. This image, of course, was derived from a period in time when China was closed off to the outside world and the portrayal that the US government gave of "Big Bad China" was bleak. Thank God that was just government propaganda and it wasn't really going to be that way.

So here we are in Yangshuo, freezing our butts off in the gray and dismal land of China. We left 90 degree and balmy Bangkok and arrived in Guilin where we had to promptly don our jackets. It's OK; it's night time; it will be better in the morning, right? - NOT! We awoke to unusually cold (freezing) temperatures, wind and gray skies. We transferred to Yangshuo where we will be staying the next two weeks but unfortunately, it's not any better here. Everyone keeps telling us how just last week it was warm and spring like (which it is suppose to be) but that doesn't do us a bit of good since we are here this week (and next) and it's cold! We are not physically nor mentally prepared for this and don't have the proper attire. We were going to southern China to stay out of the cold, not to be in it!

Yangshuo is a city of about 300,000 people. It is in the region that is known for it's karst formations - limestone hills that dot the landscape for about 1000 km. in Southern China. These karst formations are famous throughout China and are featured in many Chinese paintings. Because of Yangshuo's natural beauty, it is a popular tourist destination for the Chinese. Many westerners find their way to Yangshuo as well. It is a very picturesque city.

We have lovely accommodations here complete with a western flush toilet (versus a squat toilet which is standard throughout China) and heat, which even most homes in this area do not have. All of these will make our two week stay here much more comfortable. Shops and restaurants also typically don't have heat but many (not all) restaurants will set up charcoal pits next to the tables to make it warmer. It has become one of our criteria of whether or not we will eat at a particular restaurant.

Yangshuo is not big and gliltzy like Bejing or Shanghi nor is it rural China. It's in between the two and would be just perfect, if someone would just return the sun.

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