The 14 hour train ride was a good dose of birth control with screaming babies and toddlers running up the car, I was ready to throw them out the window, but as usual I restrained myself, (although, I could probably get away with it in this country).
The city of Guilin, is a mere 2 million people, famous for the limestone hills erratically popping up throughout the city, looking like tumor growths, yet ascetically pleasing . Unfortunately, as I’m becoming accustomed to in China, the city was filled with smog, so the views were less than astounding, but I could tell they had such potential.
As the city is on the backpacker trail, I ended up running into a guy that I had met in Xian a few weeks ago, as well as two Dutch guys I had met in Shanghai, the backpacking world in China just keeps becomes smaller and smaller.
The other real reason people come to Guilin is to visit the rice terraces. It was considered the off season so the terraces themselves were empty, and weren’t the awe inspiring pictures that adorn the postcards. However, It also meant we got the place to ourselves, not running into a single tourist while finding our way through the maze of hillsides. Even without being filled with water and reflecting the sky, the sheer magnitude of the labor that makes rice farming plausible, was evident as the locals tended to the fields and were busy making rice wine with the leftover harvest. This place will easily become an enormous tourist attraction (as if it isn’t already) within the next few years, as 5 star hotels and hostels are cropping up (pun intended- yes I’m that cheesy) all over the hillside. This is one of the few things, I would definitely come back to for a second visit, especially to see with the terraces filled with water.