Wednesday, February 16, 2005

i've been to paradise, but i've never been to...

the hotel of modern art, which is just up the road from the Yangshuo Paradise resort, which was the home of kate and i for 2 deluxe nights and one standard night, we were demoted on the last night and were sad; no safe no bathrobes, no free bottles of water.

yangshuo was amazing; described by kate's friend's sister as one of the two pretty places of china; "people think that china must be beautiful, but it's not, it's just because they just show pictures of the only two pretty places..."

kate and i arrived at guilin airport after all the regular shuttle bus services had ended; we went to the information counter and asked about buses to yangshuo; "too expensive 450yuan, you get bus to guilin and get yangshuo bus from train station," and we were pushed onto the guilin shuttle bus. arriving in guilin we got off the bus in the deserted city centre, where all of the signs are helpfully written in chinese and the streets are as wide as football pitches...
"is this the train station?
yes, yes.
[complete absence of building resembling train station]
where do we catch the bus to yangshuo?
over there, turn right.
[broad wave of the hand encompassing wide empty streets, most of southern guilin city]
over there, turn right?
[look of irritation, talks to a couple of passengers from the bus, then tells us;] they go yangshuo, go with them.
we followed the two girls south and turned right, stood for a moment on an empty street corner, undistinguishable from any other corner nearby, and then a bus veered round the corner and we all got on.
when we arrived it was very dark and cold [2 degrees], and all we could see were the streets that were lit up and some dark spaces inbetween, we checked into the hotel and went down western street for some food.

the next day we woke to discover that the dark spaces from the previous night had been filled with huge, improbable mountains while we slept; sheer cliff faces rising straight up from the pavement, mountains very much like the one from supergirl, but instead of evil castles they had trees and pagodas (and television transmitters) on top. it was like waking up in the middle of the most cliched chinese painting you could imagine and discovering that they hadn't been making it up after all...


Anonymous ronan said...

sounds excellent dude. very adventurously romantic.

12:16 AM  

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