Published: September 23rd 2008September 23rd 2008
At the end of the day this farmer takes his buffalo home, chatting on his mobile phone.
There are forty-five million people in Guangx Province. Most of them are not engaged in the tourist industry. Many are peasants, pursuing the cultivation of rice, sugar and fruit but, despite its rural base, Guangxi has many towns and cities. It is still regarded as a backward province. In China, as everywhere, much of the pleasure comes from experiencing the usual rather than the phenomenal. Guangxi is a beautiful province with charming people. Nanning
is the provincial city of Guangxi. It is a clean, modern city of spacious streets, which I have heard equally praised and reviled by travelers. We saw nothing of the old China there, but we met many of the friendly modern Chinese. The Chinese live in small apartments, so in warm weather their activities spill out into their city parks, and in Nanning this means the Chaoyang Park. They do ballroom dancing
in the open air. They make calligraphy
into a performing art. They form community orchestras
, flute group and sing the old revolutionary songs, crammed side by side.. Neibouring Bands
shows the flautists and the revolutionaries performing simultaneously side-by-side.
We stopped off in Chongzuo
on our way back to Nanning from Butterfly
A saxaphone player.
Valley so that we could view the leaning pagoda. Unmentioned by the Lonely Planet
, it was lauded in Graham’s Chinese guide book: The Zuo Jiang (Left River) Leaning Pagoda … was built in the Ming Dynasty following the order of a local magistrate and was constructed to lean out approximately one meter. According to the evidence of professionals the builder pondered how to design the heart of the river, the strength of the wind, the shape of the land: how to capture the essence of all these… It has gone through 370 years of attack by rain and wind, and it still remains stable and unmoving.
Although they are both leaning towers, the fame of the Leaning Pagoda is far from that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and of course the two cannot be compared, and neither can their environment or surroundings be compared. However not being able to go overseas, taking a look at our own leaning tower isn’t a bad idea.
We became sold on this not-bad idea. We spent a night in nondescript, pleasant-enough Chongzuo and chartered a taxi to take us to the tower the next morning. Unfortunately, the river was high and
Passing a lazy Sunday afternoon in the shade.
we couldn’t climb the pagoda. Nor could we walk around it to check out the local claim that it always appears to lean in the same direction wherever you stand.
We also visited Wuzhou
, a city with a colonial past. It is quieter than Nanning, but seems to be a more varied city. The British went there in 1897 and expanded it's riverbank as a port for the moving of goods and passengers. A great many commercial and residential buildings are preserved, and the modern architecture is appealing. There are extensive pedestrian malls, labelled in English “sauntering street.” There are many plaques documenting the city's past. We paid a Sunday visit to the Western Bamboo Temple and Buddhist nunnery and ate lunch in their vegetarian dining room. It was there we met a six year old who recited the Heart Sutra to us.
Travel Notes In Nanning, which is the transport hub for the area, we were pre-booked for two of our visits at the Jindu Hotel, 17, Zhonghua Road, a twin room at US$51.00. On our other visit we went to the Chaoyang Fandian, straight opposite the railway station. We were delighted to find that
for cUS$12.00 we could procure a standard room, similar to those in Malaysia. The hotel was lacking in commercial and social facilities, but the room was excellent value.
An idyllic moment in the Chinese countryside.
InChongzuo we found the Yangguang Hotel opposite the railway station. It also had excellent standard twin for US$16.00. It was here that we first noticed that internet cabling is a normal fixture in Chinese hotel rooms, and it is free of charge!
In Wuzhou we were directed to the Wuzhou Hotel, as one which was allowed to accept foreigners. This was the first time the issue had come up this trip. We took a “common room” (twin share with ensuite) for US$13.00. For US$20.00 we could have had full-size towels and control of our airconditioning. But the computer modem came free.
Transportation Nanning and Chongzuo are both stations along the Hanoi to Beijing line (international trains only stop at Nanning). Nanning is a major transport hub, and it is easy to backtrack in slower local trains. Wuzhou is currently only served by bus, but by many buses and the express ones are very comfortable.
How I’ve been
In a busy food market, one evening in Nanning,
This boy is curious about the cameraman.
I felt my camera “floating” out of my pocket. I whipped around … too late, just the usual crowd! Luckily I’d done a download that morning, so I only lost some (superlatively good) food pictures 9Eat your heart out Azam
!). We had to go to the local police station to report the loss. It was so different from how it would have been in Australia. They were smiling and joking. We watched the opening ceremony of the Para Olympics on their wide screen TV and they cheered when the Australian squad went by. It felt like we were paying a visit to friends rather than imposing paper work on them. I signed the form and verified it with a red thumbprint in four paces.
Today I intend to go into Hong Kong and buy gifts to take to my kids in Sydney: only fourteen days left. Peta
: It offers something to do when the legs are too tired to walk! Morag
: Sorry I didn't post the resident cat. Dick and Debbie
: I shan't be posting about Hong Kong (I'm here for a rest), but you'd see so many changes in among the familiarity. Merle
: Ali says you're still
A relaxed street in the small town of Ningming.
reading: what perseverance! Robert
: It seems to be down to Google Ads ... they control the changes.
There are more photos below