This has truly been a trip of a lifetime. Today is Tuesday and we are at a Mountain Retreat outside Shangshuo and I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a more beautiful place. The bamboo trees frame the river with mountains sticking up all around us. On the river are rafts, originally made with bamboo, now with PVC for their durability, transporting those who make their living by working the river. On one side you can see people working in a field, possibly a rice field, clear, fresh air, small waterfall, mountains, incredible!
We got here after a river cruise on the Li River The pictures all look hazy but there was a fog/haze over the river and up into the mountains throughout the 4 hour cruise. There were many sights and rock shaped creatures, none of which I could really see, but the fact they remain untouched for 1000's of years just increases their beauty to me. We also had a delicious meal on the cruise, which was nice.
Yesterday, Monday, seemed to be mostly travel as we left the hotel early in Chengdu. It took over an hour to drive to the airport, but the airport was clean and modern and the plane was in great shape. They served a hot meal on a 1.5 hour flight. Quite a bit different than a US trip of the same length and there was no extra charge!
We arrived in Guilin and met a new guide whose love of the area was contagious. After quickly checking in she wanted us to see the park the city is most known for Elephant Hill. The only problem, while the thermostat might have said 80-90 degrees, the humidity was over 1000! and I'm not exaggerating. The mosquitoes tried to carry some of the smaller children off, so the beauty of the area was somewhat lost.
After a great meal, we took a quick tour of the night market and enjoyed seeing the sights and sounds of the nightlife.
The evening before we had a hot pot meal in Chengdu. We had watched an episode of Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Food where he had a hot pot dinner at Chengdu. It was on Annabel's most wanted to do list and we did it. They serve it red, white, or a combination of red and white oils, either diffused with peppers or plain. My girls chose the red and all manner of goodies was fried in the hot oil and 4 bottles of water were quickly consumed.
Time for dinner and a show tonight. More later.