|On Thursday we flew to Guilin. The plane was delayed yet again due to "traffic Control". We were all on board after getting on a shuttle bus as the plane was out on the tarmac when the announcement came that there would be a three hour delay. We all had to get back off, hop in the bus and head back to the airport. After about an hour we were called back to the plane but with a lot of passengers caught by surprise it was some time before the last of the stragglers were on board. In the end we arrived at Guilin about two hours late. The smog over Shanghai from the air is unbelievable.
The hotel at Guilin was very beautiful. It is set within a public park and has a moat all the way around it full of goldfish and carp all obviously very well fed. I went for a walk early in the morning and there were many people walking about, doing all sorts of exercise and some even practising their calligraphy.
We only had one night there before being picked up by our guide and heading up to Ping'an, a small village overlooking the Longji rice terraces. Our hotel room is up very high, has three walls of windows and overlooks the mountains and the village. The view is breathtaking. It's the China Greg has been anticipating.
We had a fair hike to get up here as you can't bring cars up. You can pay for a sedan chair with two poor fellows carrying you up between them but we made it under our own steam, leaving most of our luggage in the car and just bringing a back pack each. The people here are mainly farmers and they carry stuff up and down the hill in bamboo baskets on their backs or use donkeys if they are lucky. With the booming tourist industry here there is a lot of construction going on - new hotels, shops etc. The workers are doing everything by hand except for some help with a jackhammer, bringing up their materials and taking the waste down themselves.
We had dinner at the restaurant then braved the steps and alleyways managing to find a coffee and desert shop and more importantly our way back. Greg had a vanilla smoothie type thing with different fruits and sago in it. I stuck with coffee.