Saturday, January 05, 2008

Guilin, China


Not really much history to worry about here. Just some beautiful scenery, some good food, and some country style living. About that "country style living" I just mentioned. This is a big fat warning not to click on some links later on if you are squeamish. Seriously, I'm gonna give you another warning when it comes up, but I'm not responsible. If you are a vegetarian or member of PETA, then you've been doubly... no triply warned!

There are 9 horses on the side of this mountain. Can you find them all?

If you've seen a Chinese landscape painting, you've probably seen Guilin. The mountains here are made of limestone, so the rain washes parts of them away, leaving sheer cliffs and lush terraces.

It's strikingly beautiful. We took a flat bottomed boat down the Li river to admire the mountains. We stopped in a town called Yangshuo to spend the night.

Yangshuo is weird. There is a street called "West Street". It's lined with counterfeit clothing shops, bars, cafes, and even a tattoo shop. A little countryside vision of what magical America must be like. And of course massage parlors.

Pervert trivia for you! Massage parlors and barber shops (hunh?) with pink signs = hooray!

Kevin, our hilariously random guide filled me in on that nugget of wisdom.

Ooooohhhh, caves are pretty.

Wow, wouldn't it just be magical to live in a cave like this? Well this is Reed Flute Cave, and during WWII, some number of people in the thousands hid in this cave from the occupying Japanese. They lived here, while on occasion some would go outside under the cover of night to gather food. They were never discovered. Another cave in the area, Seven Star Cave I think, had the same use. It was, however, discovered by the Japanese who decided to gas it. Take that women and children!

This rock looks like an elephant.

This motorcycle has Jet Li on it.

Ok, bye bye.

Still here?

Oh, you want to see some freaky shit?

You sure?


Of course there are stereotypes of what people eat. Germans eat sausages. French eat frog's legs. Black people eat watermelon. Mexicans eat beans. What do Chinese eat? Dog of course! So I wasn't too surprised to see dog meat for sale. But this was the countryside market, not built for foreign eyes. So it was a no hold barred murder fest. Buy a chicken at one end, have it slaughtered at the other. Ditto for the dogs. Here's the links if you want to see. The first one is the most profound.

Three, safest of the 4

So there you go. Behind the slaughtered canines were cages filled with live dogs. I asked myself why. Not, "Why do the poor doggies have to die." People eat meat, animals die. But I wondered why some animals elicit such an emotional response. I think it's based almost solely on their facial expressions. Dog's show love through their smile, fear with their ear posture, and anger with their teeth. When a dog farts in your presence, he either hangs his head in shame or gives a big fat grin. The still living dogs I saw in those cages had some grim looks about them.

Next: Shanghai, the last stop on my tour.

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