After breakfast, the routine is for me to take a shower, then either spend some time doing research or hit the street for an adventure. Besides for the Fubo Mountain hike, most of my adventures in Guilin haven’t been blog worthy. I’m traveling full-time. I know not every adventure can be epic. So, here is a montage of some of my less-than-totally-awesome Adventures In Guilin… with your lovely host, Jeeeeennnn Lowry! *queue the theme music
Adventures in Avoiding Bird Flu at the Bird and Flower Market
One of my adventures in Guilin that I was particularly excited about doing was the Bird and Flower Market. It is located a little ways Northeast from where we are staying. I made a couple of travel errors, so it took me a bit to get there. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I found there was nothing particularly special about the place. The Guilin Bird and Flower Market was more of a collection of plant and pet shops than a “market”.
As with any pet shop, some were nice and I could tell the animals were loved and well taken care of. Others (most) were quite difficult to see, with cages packed to the brim with birds or tanks so full of fish that they were constantly getting flicked out by other fish.
The most noteworthy part of the walk happened while I passed a middle eastern food truck. I, of course, walked by just as the stall worker decided to kill a large sheep right in the middle of the sidewalk. I have a good appreciation and understanding of how my food is made, but I’m not sure if I will ever get used to seeing the moment of passing right before my eyes. Not the best way to end an adventure.
Adventures Among the Guilin Street Markets
I caught Josh’s cold the following a couple days later, so stuck pretty well to bed. I still got up for meals, though. We went for several short walks through the side streets near the hotel to get some air. I particularly enjoyed one of our accidental adventures in Guilin where we stumbled across the wholesale food market.
Markets are so much fun! I love looking at all of the interesting fruits and vegetables, the dried herbs, and the variety of meats. As someone who has had a food handler’s card for the last 20 years, I also find the food safety to be quite… interesting. Meats are stored on the same table as vegetables, and fruit baskets may or may not be stored directly on the ground. It is a nice reminder of just how resilient to germs the human body can be.
Adventures in Guilin Botanical Garden
After a couple of days, I was feeling better and back on the road. I spent most of my time researching and filming a walking tour (get excited), but I did take a break to hit another new stop: The Botanical Garden.
Guilin’s Botanical Garden is located at the South end of town and costs ¥32, but apparently that only applies to me. I watched everyone else just walk through the gate. They didn’t flash a pass to the guard or anything, they simply walked in like it was no big thing. I, of course, got stopped and was forced to pay. This is one of the few times being a foreigner in China didn’t pay off.
As a garden, I would say the place was pretty “meh”. It did make for a decent park, though. It was quite large and had quiet little hide-outs all over the place for people to be loud in… yes, that is what I meant to say. Everywhere I went, there was a little courtyard or hidden picnic bench with someone either practicing the trumpet, singing into a microphone (with the speaker turned on full blast, of course), dancing to loud music, or jamming with their friends. I do have to admit, it was the perfect place to find a quiet spot and fill it with noise.
I would guess the place is quite nice and full of flowers in the summer time. In the middle of January, it mostly just looked like bushes to me. I did enjoy the long walk through the park, and managed to get in some people watching and bird spotting.
Adventures Along Guilin’s Rivers
My favorite of the frequented adventures in Guilin was walking along the rivers. I walked at least four miles per day while we were in Guilin. Most days my walking was done along one of the many rivers or lakes. Where the rivers run through the city, there are beautifully decorated water-side paths. I really enjoyed checking out the variety of bridges, the excitement of the tourists (mostly from other cities around China), and watching the occasional fisherman. If it wasn’t for the air pollution, I would guess these river walks would make amazing river runs.
Also, have I mentioned we’re famous? There are still many Chinese people who have either never seen or met a foreigner. We are still a pretty rare sight outside of Shanghai and Beijing. We get a lot of stares and children shouting “Look, foreigners!” On some rare occasions, we even get asked for pictures… which usually leads to more people asking for pictures… which turns into a full-on paparazzi moment. It is a little weird, but kind of fun.
So there you have it, my less than successful but still noteworthy adventures in Guilin! I really enjoyed Guilin. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to live somewhere so beautiful and full of adventure. Stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures with Jen! *theme music fades out
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