We left right before school started back up. I had been begging for one more trip. Guilin is three hours by speed train from Qinzhou. Northern Guangxi province is lush and full of the mountains that stand above the skyline. It is on the back of the 20 元 bill. We stayed in Guilin the first night in a hotel pre-booked for us by our dear friend who studied there. We blindly hiked through the city and found the back of the famous elephant mountain from the wrong side. The writings were still vivid on cave walls from thousands of years ago. There were looming clouds ready to pour, but we hiked the other small mountain for a picnic. The view was outstanding and we could see each definition of each mountain range While leaning against an ancient tower, going straight up just like the mountains.
At night the city and the clouds were lit up artificially christmas lights along the four rivers and two lakes running through it. We found a coffee shop with coffee to warm our hands as we walked and a playground where our daughter played. We found a bookstore with actual foreign publications with covers not like the original Hemingway and Vonnegut. We left the bookstore with a souvenir magnet of the famous two towers. We saw a Buddhist women letting fish go free while chanting “A mi tou fu” and we joined her.
The next morning we had to be ready early for the Lijiang River Cruise. Nothing has been more breath taking besides the birth of my daughter. It was the best part of the mountains and covered in trees and waterfalls. Chinese people love to find pictures in nature. They looked like fingers reaching out of the ground but the tour book pointed out horses an goddesses, people and animals drinking from the river. I wanted to Never leave.
We arrived in Yangshou with our suitcase and backpack and walked three kilometers through the City to the famous West Street to our hotel. We checked into our hotel on the third floor in the midst of the mountains and homes of the locals. My husband fell asleep and I made some tea and wrote. My daughter and I took a shower before going out to find some dinner.
The second day we walked to Romance Park in the morning before our train took off that afternoon. One day only, but we ate it up. We had an espresso before catching a taxi back to get a dark beer on a balcony and walk people walk by.
Back in Guilin we stayed at the same hotel and took more City strolls. We Met a bartender named Easy and hung out with her for a While on the river.
The next day our train went back too soon, but we climbed the front of elephant mountain andsaw the famous caves. We had seen Seven Star Park the day before with its lit up caves and its ancient stones and dug up tomb relics, monkeys that stole oranges out of our hands and many temples. Five days was too short. It was plenty though, with much gratitude.