Monday, 14 September 2009

Guilin - Day 1 - Touch Down, Check in

Seven Star Hotel

semi-overcast 37 °C
                    
Our carrier was HongKong Airline and we arrived Guilin ("Osmanthus Forest" 桂林) about 2PM.
A cruise boat took us to our hotel .

Instead of the usual road transportation in tourist coaches, We boarded a cruise on Li River (Lijiang. 'Jiang' is 'river' in Chinese) heading for our hotel. There were many genuine sights where locals carrying on their daily lives, totally oblivious to our presence.

Here's a quentissential fisherman wither his working partners commorants. This wasn't done for the benefits of the tourists (although that would be arranged for our benefits in the trip).

Fisherman with cormorants, Lijiang, Guilin, Guangxi, China
Fisherman with cormorants
After an hour of sailing and passing a local beach, we were graced by the city's most famous landmark - the Elephant (Trunk) Hill, which looks like an elephant (with a Mohawk) dipping its snout into the Lijiang. Not a great leap of the imagination, especially if you're a hair stylist.


Angler, unconventional fishing withhout
 the help of cormorant



Too many anglers spoil the sport ?


Sydney time, takes me right back home

The water level on this part of the Li River was quite shallow, I could spot the beautiful pebbled riverbed quite well. Most locals sail on this Li River on bamboo rafts with bamboo poles, which propels the raft by pushing it against the river bed than using like an oar to push it against the water.
 
Raftsman pushing his raft, Lijiang, Guilin
Raftsman pushing his raft
Guilin is often covered in mist, but the view in the river bottom is clear. This shallowness produced the most cliché image of the Li River of Guilin - the fisherman on the bamboo raft with or without a file of soldiers of cormorants.

The tour guide told us that during low tide, he has to ask the tour group to get off the boat on shallow section of the river to walk along the river bank in order to lift the boat, and return to the boat in deeper section of the river. It didn't happen today.

The Elephant (Trunk) Hill is a major tourist attraction of the Guilin city where you can get there and walk around and through the cave and touch the elephant trunk and take cliche picture of you inside the hole. Unfortunately, it wasn't on our itinerary, and we could only contend to watch it afar from the river. Our hotel turned out to be less 10 minutes by boat after The Elephant (Trunk) Hill and 5 minutes from the Liberation Bridge, which spans the Li River in the city centre.


Elephant Hill, Guilin, Guangxi, China
Elephant Hill

The hotel locates in Qixing ("Seven Stars") district in Guilin city (actually county) and was 5-star by Guilin standard. It would probably only be rated a 3.5 stars by international standard.

After dinner, we went on the famous Two-Rivers Four-Lakes Cruise. It would be more enjoyable if it was not so hot and humid. I packed only early autumn clothes, not a pair of shorts in sight. What was I thinking? Why not pack a couple of shorts? Not that it will break my bag or back. HK was more hot and humid than Singapore, and Guilin is more so than HK. It was unexpected (for me). As soon as the cruise was over, I went for shopping for a pair of shorts. The hot spells must come rather sudden, the locals was walking topless in pants while holding their shirts. That was a sight not mentioned in the brochure.


Live performance in a theatre by the lake, Guilin, China
Live performance in a theatre by the lake
Pagoda by the lake, Guilin, Guangxi, China
Pagoda by the lake


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