Our time in Guilin (and waiting for Kate and her new tooth)
October 30th, 2009 by Jeff

After a brief trip to the Chengdu Panda Reserve in Chengdu, and a “soft” lunch at KFC (Kate felt she had better stick with a known food choice with her newly repaired, temporary tooth, and she figured KFC’s mashed potatoes and fried chicken would work), the girls and I donned our backpacks, walked down to the corner and tried to hail a cab for the train station. We had ample time to get to the station when we left the hotel, but 20 minutes later we were still trying to find a taxi. Kate eventually stopped one, and Phoebe, Tessa and I drove off into Chinese traffic heading to the train. Fortunately, the station wasn’t too far and we managed to get there with a few minutes to spare before the mass boarding of the train began. Usually, we get there a little earlier and are able to board with the “soft seat” or “vip” pre-board. Phoebe and Tessa didn’t let the hordes of Chinese get in their way as we made their way to the platform.

The train trip – 25 ½ hours – was mostly uneventful. We were lucky enough to meet a lovely young Chinese tour guide. Jane spoke very good English and helped us with our questions regarding our departure and ensured we got off at the correct stop.

Our accommodations in China jumped up a notch or two with our arrival in Guilin. I had discovered a couchsurfer who also ran a contract manufacturing facility. Jenny; her husband Jonathan; her two children, Albert and Phoenix (ironic huh); Jenny’s parents and the nanny lived outside Guilin in a gorgeous 7 bedroom home in a gated community. Jenny had their driver meet us at the station and bring us to their house. A delicious Chinese home cooked meal prepared by Jenny’s mom was waiting on the table for us.

The day after we arrived we had a “recovery” day, as Phoebe was a little under the weather – motion sickness from the train. So the girls did homework and read. That night we were treated to Beijing Duck as our gracious hosts took us out to dinner. The next few days were spent with rather slow starts in the morning (Tessa and Phoebe into good books and me researching Yangshou and Vietnam) with site seeing in the afternoon. Tuesday we went to the Tiger and Bear Park in Guilin. There we saw over 500 tigers and probably 150 bears, all fairly well cared for in a huge reserve area. We stayed for the circus act, but decided to pass on the tiger feeding show (live bull put into a pen with 10-15 hungry tigers) as I thought this was a little more than the kids needed to see. Wednesday we explored the local shopping area ate some good pizza and sheppard’s pie at an expat restaurant and walked along the river. Thursday I was treated to a tour of our hosts business (a contract manufacturing plant) and the girls and I took a tram to the top of a local karst (a cool limestone mountain structures) at a large park. This park also has a toboggan like the one we rode at the great wall and this time Phoebe was not to be denied her own car!

Group of Tigers (waiting for the bull?)

Group of Tigers (waiting for the bull?)

Phoebe, Tessa, and Jeff at the top of karst

Phoebe, Tessa, and Jeff at the top of karst

Friday was the real day we had all been waiting for because Kate was getting back into town with her new tooth! But in order to pack in a little more site seeing (and so Kate could not say I was slacking on my duties to keep the educational tours going in her absence) we went to another large karst park in town and toured a large cave there.

Phoebe and Tessa in cave

Phoebe and Tessa in cave

From Gulin we made our way down to Yangshou on the Li River. But that exciting story will come with the next post.



6 Responses  
Auntie Krissy writes:
October 30th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I think you are an awesome dad and I can’t imagine that Kate, for one minute would think you are slacking!!! Kudos to you!!!
Great decision to skip the lion feeding! xoxo kg

Auntie Krissy writes:
October 30th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Are those leg warmers on Tessa? You travel diva you!

Nana Wells writes:
October 31st, 2009 at 7:51 am

Back in the states= Pappy’s retinologist said, “no” to Phoebe seeing him give the right eye it’s shot, so good thinking to you son as to the – tigers and their meal.
Enjoying all the news.

Nana Wells writes:
October 31st, 2009 at 7:53 am

Now Kate, Don would have enjoy the KFC with you. So happy for your dental care.

Cricket writes:
November 4th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

(KFC in China, hmm….. that’s disturbing, somehow. I’d hate for other countries to think that’s the best that American food and culture has to offer for export. Perhaps Coronado Cafe can open a satellite restaurant there….)

The kids?, certainly but I do believe the tiger feeding is a bit more than I myself would want to see, as well. It might make a vegetarian out of me.

Leslie writes:
July 9th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Pappy asked me to say hello from Dawson City. I’m a goldsmith here and have known he and Anita for several years. Pappy seems fine!

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