Saturday we saw a different part of China, Guilin, one of the four cities originally opened for tourism. The Chinese are extremely proud of this beautiful area as well they should be. It is even pictured on the back of their twenty dollar bill. We cruised forty miles down the Li River surrounded by strangely shaped limestone hills shrouded in mist. Wow! What a treat for the eyes and a feast for our lungs. Standing outside on the deck was wonderful. Beijing only has about 10% humidity so is extremely dry, but Guilin has about 60% humidity year round. Our lungs just soaked up the good karma. It was also fun to see how the people lived along the river. Hard to believe we had just left a city packed with millions. When the boat docked you find yourself in a very small city of only 30,000. It was fun shopping in their market and unlike Egypt and Istanbul they didn't force you to look.
While on the river, a small fishing boat hooked up to our bigger boat. The kitchen is on the back of our boat, so out comes the chef and gives the woman his order. She nets four or five very active fish from her containers, some snails, and some vegetables. Can't say the food wasn't fresh. They offered us turtle and different crustaceans. They also offered us snake wine. They either slaughter the snake and mix it with the wine or drown it whole in the wine. As you might imagine, no takers from our group on any of the extras.
Our local guide explained in great detail about farming rice. The most interesting fact is that under Communism a farmer could harvest only twenty-five baskets of rice from his one-sixth of an acre and once he was allowed to keep everything over the price for the land he must pay the government; he could harvest one hundred baskets from the same piece of land.
After our tour, we flew to Hong Kong. Immediately, you could feel the difference. First of all the bus driver stayed in his own lane and wasn't playing chicken with the other vehicles on the road. Traffic lights were for real and not just a suggestion. He stopped for pedestrians in the street. Once we neared our hotel, we all gave a sigh of "Oh it's like home." Next to the hotel there is an Outback, Ruth Chris's, Sticky Fingers Barbeque, etc. Tom and I went out and had pizza. It was very pleasant to not guess what we were eating. Today we will tour Hong Kong.
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.Ralph Waldo Emerson
Confucius say – He who keeps danger in mind will rest safely in his seat.
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Tom & Holly