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Published: October 15th 2010
Up early today, unfortunately, as we found out late last night that we're leaving at 9am. Mind you, half of the teachers were out for the evening and most likely didn't find out until our 730am wake-up call. Really, is there anything more annoying than a phone jarring you awake? We'd heard rumors that we'd be getting the morning in Yangshuo, and it was voiced loudly by everyone--and I do mean everyone--that we were not happy with the decision.
I didn't eat the Chinese breakfast today because it's either got meat, is greasy, or it's all sugar. Not exactly my idea of nutrition. I opted for a snack roll (okay, not really healthy, either, but at least it tastes good) and some juice from the supermarket next to our hotel. At 857 people started appearing in the lobby, clearly only out bed by a few minutes.
I'd been told it would be a two-hour drive to Guilin and was hoping for a nap, but we arrived in one. So much for the anticipated traffic. We got a little tour of the city (that none of us cared about) and then stopped at a park next to Rong Lake. The
lake itself was beautiful with numerous bridges. Next to the lake was an 800 year old banyan tree, supposedly the oldest one standing. And just next to that was a Tang Dynasty city gate. It was all pretty, but not terribly exciting. Being rushed through didn't help with the enjoyment.
After losing and recovering one member of our group we ate a lackluster lunch. More fish and rice for me. They also served sugared taro balls, which we found stick together if you don't eat them fast enough. It usually took two people and multiple utensils to pry them apart. But since they were the best thing on the table, it was well worth the effort.
Then our group split up. Most decided to be dropped off in a shopping area with coffee shops, a movie theater, and massages. A few of us opted to take in one last sight. Our twenty minute bus ride took an hour and a half thanks to one of the worst traffic jams I've ever seen. We laughed hard when we saw they were digging up the road directly in front of a university, since the road in front of Peizheng is
always being reconstructed somehow.
We finally made it to Yao Mountain. At over 1000 meters tall and boasting a rickety-looking-chair-lift-termed-cable-car, how could we go wrong?
I rode up with one of my bosses who, it turns out, is afraid of heights when there isn't solid ground under his feet. I tried my best to not shake the Chair of Death, as we called it. Meanwhile, our friend in the chair in front of us was leaning every which way and taking photos.
The views from the top were a bit hazy but spectacular; one might call them magical or mystical. I could see so far in the distance, little towns almost dotting the earth with large rocks and mountains jutting up in all directions.
We didn't get to stay as long as I'd have liked, thanks to the stupid traffic jam. But I did manage to take quite a number of photos.
We were late picking everyone up and rushed through dinner. It's the first time I've ever had a full Chinese banquet dinner with all the food on the table before I got there. We ate in twenty minutes, mindful that our train left
in an hour. We then ran for the bus, our FAO counting heads as we pulled away.
Near the train station cars kept blocking our turn, so one teacher got out and with one of our FAO bosses held up traffic while we turned in. When they climbed back on the bus, they were greeted with loud applause. One minute later we were there. We literally ran though the station (following our big boss), and made it to the gate with ten minutes to spare before boarding the train.
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