Round the World Trip 2005 travel blog

Since I last posted on the website we've left Hong Kong and been to a few cities around the south, starting with the port of Guangzhou, 2 hours north of HK. The town was a massive sprawling metropolis, with hundreds of concrete high-rises and shopping centres. After spending the morning spending loadsa money (Nico's just bought a swish new laptop for uni) We caught the high speed train over the border to the town, and with a bit of help from a friendly, English-speaking businessman, managed to get ourselves over to a little sand island called Shamian Dao, on the banks of the river. We only stayed one night before catching the 10 hour bus Yangshuo, in Guangxi province, northwest of HK. The bus was probably the scariest part of the trip so far - maybe even worse than the skydive! The driver weaved in and out of traffic, overtaking on blind bends and even when it was on a straight, we'd only just be able to dive back into our lane out of the way of cars on the other side of the road! That, plus the fact that the bus seemed to have zero suspension and the roads had massive bumps, meant that the 10 hours went very, very slowly! Yangshuo was the perfect antidote to the journey. The town was just the right size, there were no high-rises in sight and it was just seriously chilled and laidback. There was a high backpacker presence in the town, so it was easy to get chatting in the bars and to meet people. When we walked down any of the streets, the local school children were out in force, and we seemed to be the guinea pigs for their english - we'd have to give them our autographs and they would then say a few words in English and they would take photos with us. Was quite funny at first but after the 20th autograph, we were in severe need of a beer! The scenery around Yanghshuo was spectacular - huge limestone peaks and rivers snaking in between. On our last day we took a bus north to Xingping, a small village, where we got on a small fishing boat to take us upstream for incredible views of the peaks and the river (Li Jiang i think it's called), and went a bit snap-happy with the cameras. When we returned back to the town we caught the bus to the nearest city - Guilin - a little less peaceful but it still has some stunning landscapes surrounding it. While we we're trudging to the hostel a Chinese man started talking to us in English, and at first we thought he was the usual tout trying to get us onto a bus or into a hostel, but after a few minutes we realised he just wanted to practice his (very good) English. We met up with him later that evening for a beer, and then today he showed us around Guilin - we had a look around some caves set among some amazing gardens - with traditional pagodas and bridges, then in another park we looked around the old courtyards and houses of the ancient local rulers, then climbed up a limestone peak for incredible views of the area. We've just said goodbye to Wen, and in an hour or so we catch a train to Kunming, in Yunnan province, way out west. It looks like we're in for a long haul - the journey takes somewhere in between 20 and 30 hours, aaaaaaaaaahghg! and we have only managed to get a ticket that lets us board the train - if we're lucky and someone gets of then maybe we will be able to get a seat. Oh well, it's all an adventure!


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