I will be posting tons of details and photos later on. But for now, a quick recap.
How long was I in Guilin? I arrived at midnight and had three full days plus a fourth almost full day before my 5:30 pm flight to Xi’an.
Where did I stay? Green Forest Hostel.
How much was my hotel? $576 Yuan = $92.20 USD. I had a private room. I paid extra for a room with a view of the Li River. Unfortunately, there were trees blocking my view.
How much money did I spend in addition to my hotel? $1058 Yuan = $169.36 USD
What did I spend that on?
Biggest expense: A trip to Longsheng Rice Terraces – bucket list item and my reason for being in Guilin. The tour, which I booked through my hostel, cost $220 Yuan ($35.21 USD) plus $70 Yuan for the cable car ($11.20 USD) plus an additional $37 Yuan ($5.92 USD) for lunch at the restaurant at the rice terraces. You are kind of obligated to eat as part of the tour.
Most Unnecessary Expense: Cabs to and from the airport. I was riding my Macau win high decided to skip the bus and splurge. From the airport, it was $100 Yuan ($16 USD.) Back to the airport, this time arranged by my hostel, it was $80 Yuan ($12.81 USD) This is a 45 minute drive, mind you.
Cabs: $53 Yuan ($8.48 USD) If I want to keep insisting that I do not like taking cabs, then I need to stop taking cabs. But I did get very lost and had a flight to catch. In order to finish out my sightseeing in Guilin, I needed to do it.
Reed Flute Cave: 120 Yuan ($19.19 USD)
Bamboo Raft Ride: 5 Yuan ($.80 USD) This was outside the Reed Flute Cave. I did not want to go on a Bamboo Raft Ride, but the guy was harassing me and I figured it was worth 80 cents to get him to leave me alone.
Elephant Trunk Hill: 75 Yuan ($11.99 USD)
Yao Mountain: 95 Yuan for the cable car ($15.19 USD)
Fubo Hill: 30 Yuan ($4.80 USD)
Bus rides: 5 Yuan ($.80 USD) One Yuan per ride! How cheap is that?
The rest was spent on iced milk tea (I drank about twelve of these, so deilcious and only 3 Yuan each), water and food.
Things I brought that are no longer with me: I am down about ten packs of tissues from wiping so much sweat off my face. Guilin was hot and HUMID. I am also down five more Cliff bars. I am supposed to be saving these for Tibet! I had one sock vanish while doing laundry.
Things I accumulated along the way: Not one damn thing!
Would I return to Guilin? If I had an opportunity to pass through Guilin ever again during a time of the year when it is not so FREAKING hot, I would arrange for a night or two. I would also stay at the same hostel absolutely definitely.
How many times did I have a Chinese person ask to take a picture with me? ZERO!
How many times did I see split pants? One! They were in use at the time. Sigh.
Did anything happen to traumatize you? How odd you should ask that. Why yes, I was traumatized walking down the steps at Longsheng Rice Terraces. I do not know how many steps there are, but it has to be at least a thousand. It is a 1580 meter hike down. It was raining on and off and the steps are not at all even. I was so scared I was going to fall and die. And then I did fall! Which made the rest of it pure hell for me. There was one part where I just gave up and sat down and scooted through it. It was ridiculous.
I sense there is more you are not telling us. Wow, you are good. Okay. So. I was walking up the steps to my hostel. It had just finished raining and drops were falling. I got hit in the shoulder with a LARGE raindrop and started to panic, flashing back to one time in Austin, Texas. I had just gotten off the bus from a fest where I had drank for twelve straight hours in 105 degree weather and I wanted water. So I stop at the gas station at the bus stop. Of course, it is temporarily closed for overnight inventory, but I decide to wait it out. Next thing I know, these ENORMOUS bugs start falling from the roof. They were so large they made noise when they landed. They looked like big roaches. I don’t really know what they were. I asked my friend who lives in Austin what the big roach like bugs that fall from the sky are and his answer was “Uh…gross?”
So back to Guilin. I know I am being ridiculous, it is just a drop of water, it just rained, there are drops falling everywhere. Why do you have to be such a frightened maniac?
So I get to my room. I am changing into my pajamas. I feel something in my shirt when I go to take it off. It feels like a wadded up piece of paper. Oh no.
I start panicking and I shake the shirt out and this WORLD’S BIGGEST INSECT EVER falls on the floor. It was BIG. Seriously. I thought it was a wadded up piece of paper. Go on, take a piece of paper and wad it up and see how big it is. I’ll wait.
So I am now going to die. This behemoth runs and hides under the over-the-foot part of the sandals the hostel gives you to use when you shower in the death trap that is a shower head in the middle of the bathroom.
I no longer have my shoes on so I grab the other sandal and try and murder the bug and maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. But I had hit the spot it was in enough times that I am now brave enough to carry it to the toilet and send it off to its watery grave.
I could not get it out of the sandal. I kept smashing it against the toilet bowl and one HUGE antenna fell out. I feel like it may have even been hairy. OH GOD I AM SCARED. I don’t know if the thing is alive and holding on for its life or what. It’s certainly not squished, it is still full sized puffed up and OH GOD THERE IT GOES. HURRY UP. FLUSH THE BOWL.
I am not even kidding you when I say it would not go down at first because it was too big. I can not even.
Finally it was gone and I flushed the toilet about fifty more times just to be safe. I also threw the sandal out so the next person does not unknowingly use it. I am also never using a sandal again, even in a bathroom where the shower is just a shower head in the middle of the bathroom.
How many pictures did I take? 313.
Can I show you one? I can show you more than one!
Reed Flute Cave:
Elephant Trunk Hill:
Longsheng Rice Terraces: