Day 1 – 6 January 2010, Wednesday
I stayed over at Ah B’s house so we could get to the airport together and share the cab cost. After meeting up with May and Lil at 5.10 am, we proceeded to check in for our 6.40 am flight and had our coffee break.
Air Asia AK102 was on time much to our delight. When breakfast was served, the kanjiong air stewardess – whom I recognized from my trip to Bangkok last September bypassed us and didn’t give us our pre-booked meal. Sibehtulan! We were sitting on the sixth row and she just pushed the cart hurriedly right to aisle 15. I looked fucking stupid waving our boarding passes at her. May was very amused with my tulan-ed face.
After having our meals, the nasi goreng (with satay) tasted like overnight rice and I almost broke a tooth chewing, we slept. It was not a good sleep though as there was a guy sitting behind me, nicknamed Fuyong tan (stories later) sneezing repetitively and blowing his nose away.
Port where we embarked our boat for a cruise along Lijang River
We got down to a rather chilly weather. Before getting down the plane, we were advised to get back on the plane because there was no officer at the thermal scan and also, I think at the immigration counter, which was super ridiculous lah. Lucky for me, I had time to put on a jacket otherwise, I would be freezing to death.
The Elephant Trunk Hill
We were greeted by our tour guide, Ms Tan Li from Guilin. Gathering the group of 26 seemed like forever because everyone somewhat suffered from uncontrollable bladders that made them going to toilets a few times within the 20 minutes wait, we were set to go to our first stop – a cruise along Lijang River.
I love China!
We were quite excited with the cruise initially but then, when some inconsiderate people behaved anally by smoking in the boat, we were fucking pissed. Then, we went up to the boat deck for some fresh and freezing air. It was damn cold!! So, we had no choice but to go down to the hell hole of smoke and increased our risks of cancer.
Wolf-dog running along the river
Negativity aside, it was quite interesting to watch the inhabitants along Lijang River going about their daily activities unfazed by cruising boats of camera trigger-happy tourists. Most of the pictures were pale as the skies were in perpetual grey and dark shades due to winter. January is the coldest month in Guilin!
We also visited Banyan Lake & Cedar Lake and that’s where the famous twin pagodas that made were the backdrop of Guilin’s landscape in tourism brochures. Here, the elderly danced, exercised with swords, doing qigong, played chess, etc to wile the day away. It’s really stress free for the elderly here.
Elderly chatting away the coldness
The twin pagodas – Gold & Silver towers
Then, we went to some silk shop. I think. I could hardly remember anything about this trip as most of the time; I closed my eyes the moment I got on the bus. Haha! Lil bought a silk quilt and the only one in the group buying silk! I think Suzhou probably has the best silk. Of course, followed by the tea factory, etc. You know. Those typical China tours packed with shopping, shopping and more shopping at selected places catered for gullible tourists like us. A note though, I think the pu er tea at Dr Tea is worth buying. You can get a box of 15 year old tea leaves cake for CNY200 – and bargain for other little freebies like Osmanthus Tea and Tian Qi leaves. We were told that, only unmarried girls are allowed to climb the tea tree to pluck leaves. So, in Yunnan province where most pu er tea trees are grown, the young ladies as young as 15 climb trees.
The plain meehoon – quite ok tasting
Mee hoon is their main staple, other than rice. We were served meehoon on several meals. They could be cooked in soup or kon lou style. I bought a few packets home for my mom to cook for the family. I think I am going to eat the mee hoon later for Sunday lunch. Haha.
It was an exhausting first day. We went to watch Dream Like Lijang after dinner. We were sort of “coerced” into buying this package together with the trip to visit a cave for CNY250. The tour guide said if we don’t go for the cave tour, we might be stuck in the bus doing nothing. I felt somewhat tulan about this but let it go. Since we were all there, we might as well use our time to the fullest and be cincai a bit lah.
At the Dream Like Lijang show, I think the acrobatic performers watched us instead as most of us were sleeping. I woke up only to clap whenever the crowd clapped. It was something that you usually watch on tv, so nothing surprising. Unless you haven’t been to China before, or maybe, totally no exposure on Chinese acrobatics; you might probably be impressed by this show.
We called it a night at Guilin Licheng Holiday Hotel. It was quite ok hotel. The only complaint is probably there is no bidet to wash your ass if you don’t feel like taking a shower in the cold weather. Haha!
A very cheap and nice supper!
We bought some instant noodles for supper. It cost only CNY3.50 (about RM1.75) for one big bowl compared to RM5 to RM6 back home!