After spending a week on the island of Hainan
, we took a sleeper bus to Nanning, in Guangxi province. In China there are several ways to travel. Sleeper trains are great--the beds aren't super comfortable, but they do the trick and let you get some sleep. Sleeper buses, on the other hand, come straight out of hell and are the spawn of Satan. A very small person (say, a hobbit) might be able to sleep comfortably on a sleeper bus, but not the rest of us. The bunks on a sleeper bus are very skinny--they're just barely wide enough for me, and you know how skinny I am. If you had some extra girth, you wouldn't be able to fit. But that wasn't the problem for me...the length was. Granted, I'm taller than most Chinese people (I'm right at 6'), but there are plenty of Chinese people who are taller than 6 feet. The bed was a good 6 inches short, so even if you were 5'9", you'd still be uncomfortable. I tried sleeping on my side, with my knees bent, but that was hard to do because the bed was so skinny. I didn't get any sleep the whole night on the bus, and to top it off, it screwed up my legs. I walked with a painful limp for the next couple of days. The moral of the story: if you ever travel in China, avoid sleeper buses at all costs. A regular bus with a seat is far more comfortable, or get a sleeper train.
From Nanning, we immediately took another bus to Guilin. Guilin is justifiably famous for it's beautiful mountains that surround the city. Here are some pictures from the bus ride as we were getting into town:
We didn't spend very long in Guilin--just two nights. The first day, we walked around town and saw some cool stuff--a couple of pagodas, and a nice pedestrian shopping district:
Liu Kai was born in the year of the pig, so he wanted this picture of himself on a pig.
This is the pedestrian shopping district.
The next day, we visited the Reed Flute Cave. The cave has a lot of different stalactite and stalagmite rock formations, and it's lit with some really cool lighting. Some pictures:
Looks a bit like cauliflower, doesn't it?
Deep in the cave there was this lake that was perfectly calm...check out that reflection!
The whole group, outside the cave. From the left: Me, Da Yu, Drew, Liu Kai and Jon.