Somewhere around Guilin, China

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TRAVEL

Guilin is a huge city of 5 million people and one of China’s most popular tourist destinations. Yet no one in the West has really heard of it. After a couple of weeks in Hong Kong, S. and me decided to book a 20 hour train ride from Shenzhen to Guilin and explore Mainland China from there. Shenzhen is another major city with a population of 7 million. Chinese dimensions and the sheer size of everything never failed to amaze me throughout my entire trip. You just don’t get used to it.

IMG_6046S. on a mission. You really need to get your elbows out to get anywhere in China. 

IMG_6052Our charming little Soft Sleeper carriage. It really wasn’t too bad – I had experienced worse in India. After the first hour or so, we even dared touch the pillows and got quite comfortable in front of a movie with our packed lunches. Somehow our two male fellow travellers were scared off by English speaking white girls and did not return until our arrival in Guilin 22 hours later. 

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IMG_61007 am, Guilin. We made it. You have no idea how much of a challenge it can be to get off the right stop. Luckily, S. is a little pro in Mandarin. In China you will find hardly anything written in English. About an hour later, we checked in at our hostel, dumped our bags and hopped on a bus that would take us to Yangshuo. 

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IMG_6168Li river sidles through the beautiful valleys of the karst mountains. The area is known for its amazing landscape, so clearly we were not alone. It’s big in Chinese tourism, but I only spotted two or three other proper foreigners. Compared to my experiences from South-East Asia (which is being flooded by Europeans at the moment), I was surprised by how little Western tourists I saw. Whether we went to Shanghai or a little mountain village – it was always full of tourists, but mainly Chinese. 

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IMG_6184Cruising on a bamboo raft. It was such a hazy day, which was a shame for the photos, but absolutely stunning nevertheless.

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IMG_6276On the road again.

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IMG_6315Yangzhou.

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IMG_1458You gotta keep them busy somehow…

IMG_6449Teach me master

IMG_1459Makes apple pie look boring, doesn’t it?

IMG_1465On a rainy afternoon, we thought it’d be funny to have a Chinese cinema experience. It was weird. China is weird. I keep going back and forth whether I like it or not, but it certainly is fascinating. Even the simplest things like cinemas, McDonald’s, supermarkets or (trying to) sit in a park become completely outlandish. 

IMG_1570Call me a weirdo but I find foreign supermarkets exciting. Like everything else in China, supermarkets are also out of all proportion. You feel like you’re in a video game walking up and down the corridors.

IMG_6476Elephant Trunk Hill. Somewhere around Guilin.

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IMG_6532Street food. A hefty Mongolian clay pot with burnt rice at the bottom, which I love. 

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IMG_6551 IMG_6479I had many photos taken with strangers throughout the trip, but this little series is by far my favourite. Chinese people don’t shy away from anything and can generally be quite rude. And they certainly don’t refrain from posing with you.

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IMG_6604Gloomy day in Guilin.

IMG_7220We found El Dorado.

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