Leaving the Sea for the Mountains of Guilin

Day 28, Grand Asia 2017

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 – Guilin, China

The morning dawned hazy and foggy in Shanghai in sharp contrast to a near-perfect day yesterday. The sun tried and failed to break through. I was surprised to see the Volendam still docked ahead of us. Apparently the ship has a problem with its water purification so it is staying in Shanghai until the issue is fixed, or so I hear.

Guilin mapI joined 14 others this morning to leave the Amsterdam for four days. We will catch up with the ship in Hong Kong on Nov. 1. Today we flew to Guilin, a city of about 1 million people in southern China that is known for its spectacular scenery. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations.

Despite the light Sunday traffic, it took us about 45 minutes by bus to get to the main Shanghai airport. The city of 23 million never stopped. Our two-hour flight on China Southern airline was uneventful except for the fact that we were served a hot lunch in coach.

IMG_0649During the drive from the Guilin airport, we saw the frenzy of construction that we had seen near Beijing and in Shanghai. Our tour guide joked that cranes are the national bird of China.

We made two stops in Guilin after arriving. The Fubo scenic area along the Li River features caves filled with carvings of Buddhas and texts in the limestone. Some are more than a thousand years old. Temples large and small seem to be everywhere.

IMG_0684Our next stop was at Elephant Trunk Hill further along the river. I couldn’t really see the image of an elephant’s trunk in the shape of the rocks reaching down to the river, but perhaps others did. Anyway, it was a nice stop before we arrived at our hotel.

After a good dinner from the hotel’s buffet and another good Chinese beer (which for some reason is dedicated to Bill Clinton), we were glad to retire for the night.