Friday, September 5, 2008

A little climbing and cave dwelling

Because we were trying to cram as much sightseeing as possible into our very busy summer Jon and I were already needing to move onto the next city on our itinerary. We had an afternoon train booked for July 14, but wanted to see a few more things before the wheels started rolling on to our next destination.

Our hostel arranged for a cab to pick us up in the morning, drive us around to the things we wanted to see and then take us to the train station later in the day for a reasonable price.

The first stop on our list that morning was a park in the middle of the town. The main reason we wanted to go there was to climb this tall hillside located in the middle of the park that apparently provided the best view of Guilin. We went to the park, made a beeline for the hillside, took some photos from the top and hustled back to our friendly, waiting taxi driver.

Our next destination was the Reed Flute Cave. I'm not big on caves, because they drum up ideas of bats flying around and bats are like birds that had babies with rats. And everyone knows I hate birds. But, the cave was supposed to be really cool and the photos in my book looked pretty great so I thought I'd give it a shot. I loved the cave! I can honestly say that I didn't think most of the stalagmites and stalactites looked like the description, but I still thought they were pretty interesting and the bright lights installed in the cave (although poorly hidden) did give them a cool effect.

There was also another cave within the cave that I paid an extra 10 kuai to check out. It was lame. There were these huge turtles everywhere and giant signs telling me that they were "1,000 year old turtles." Obviously. Apparently they were really like 140 years old or something, which I thought was still pretty cool.

I returned to the main cave and made my way through the last bit of the cave where I finally agreed that one of the formations actually looked like it's description ... it was supposed to be a lion standing on a rock.

After exiting the cave we made our way back to our taxi driver who took us to a pearl factory to have a look around. We had absolutely no interest in doing this, but we knew that our driver would get a commission just for bringing us by and he had been really nice so we played along. He then took us back to the hostel and waited patiently while we had lunch and grabbed our bags.

Apparently the train station we were leaving from is pretty much abandoned and was on the outskirts of town so it took us a little while to get out there. We still got there pretty early and it became even earlier when our train was delayed about half an hour. At any rate we boarded the train and said goodbye to Guilin.

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