buses and hills

Thursday, July 29, 2010 | |

buses and hills

Guilin, China, June 2009.

Guilin was our first planned destination on the mainland. Flying in China is cheap—Europe, RyanAir cheap. A ticket for the two hour flight from Shenzhen to Guilin was $30.

The Guilin area is known for its scenery (an ancient Chinese proverb is "East or west, Guilin scenery is the best", as we were constantly reminded by tourist promotions), especially the karst peaks that line the Yi River and, here, punctuate the cityscape. It's really quite surreal to see these craggy green pillars towering over their surroundings in the middle of the city. I pictured them being pulled up out of the ground by some sort of transmutation or black magic. Sadly, Wikipedia dashed my alchemic fantasies by informing me otherwise. Luckily, the truth is almost as cool—the peaks are formed by particularly hard veins of limestone that remain standing while the rest of the ground erodes away around them.