Having more than seen enough of Hong Kong, armed with our 3 month visas we headed into China proper. We fell prey to some touts at the train station and against our better judgement agreed to go with them to a hotel that would be Y180 for a double. Of course we were tricked and the cockey little shit took us to the expensive hotel that wanted Y260. Now they wanted Y230. We refused, more on principle than any concern about the cost, and told the tout what we thought of his tactics, heading for the door. The hotel were pretty good about it and let us go with our original price of Y180. Some of the hotel staff were laughing when we called the tout a bullshit artist, they may have been a bit surprised that we could speak Chinese.

The next day we decided Guangzhou wasn't really for us and we would check out a nearby city called Foshan. On the way to the Railway Station our taxi driver pulled over for a minute and raced into a bank leaving Rick and I staring at each other mouthing the word "What?". Arriving in Foshan we were disappointed to discover it was another big city and somewhat lacking in budget accomodation. It can be a bit of a problem in the bigger cities as tourists are only legally allowed to stay in hotels that are licensed to accept them. We spent a night there, and visited the Ancestral Temple (zu miao) which had some interesting displays of ancient weaponry and martial arts training.

Returning to Guangzhou the next day, I had my camera bag stolen at a restaurant near the Guangzhou railway station. When I realised what had happened, I ran out into the street, only to find.....well.....hundreds of people. Welcome to China!


Clearly Guangzhou wasn't the promised land so Rick and I resolved to head for Yangshuo, a well, known backpacker haven. The scenery around Yangshuo is quite beautiful. The area is known for it's limestone crags and is the inspiration for a good deal of Chinese paintings. We spent a couple of nights in Yangshuo. While we were there we got to see the cormorant fishing, a curious business by which the birds are used to catch the fish.

As Rick was in a hurry to see all of China in one month we continued west. From Yangshuo we took a local bus into Guilin and then another on to Longsheng. In Guilin, as the bus pulled away, I realised I had left my "Let's Go: China" guide behind. Setting off after the bus, fully laden, and clutching a bag of fruit, I stumbled and pitched forward, almost auto-corrected before hitting a particularly slippery spot and landed face first in the mud. Apparently though, I'd caused enough of a disturbance to stop the bus, from which I retrieved my book. A bystander handed me back my glasses and I picked up my pack and the bag of fruit. Rick, all the while, just stood there watching the spectacle and wondering what the hell was going on.

Longsheng itself it not particulary interesting though it is handy to some nearby attractions. At the hotel we met a young Danish girl called Angela who had come into China overland through Russia and Mongolia. On the first evening we noticed some activity across the river and wandered over for a look. Some oldies were doing some kind of line dancing which Rick managed to pick up rather quickly much to the bemusement of the locals.

The next day we were all set to go on a bus ride at 9a.m. only to discover that the bus was "broken". This was to become a recurring theme, during my travels in China. Pretty soon thereafter I coined the phrase "Zhongguo huai diao le" (China's broken) which gained currency pretty quickly thereafter. Finally getting underway at about 11.00 we arrived at PingAn, a Zhuong village, on the way passing by Long ji ti tian (Dragon's backbone terrace), a spectacular example of terraced rice cultivation. Nearby the village were some long haired Yao women selling their wares. The village was nice and we took a swim in the nearby reservoir.