Unfortunately, my computer is dead…or the power button is anyway. We have tried every suggestion on the Dell site and still do not even get a whimper out of it. For now, I have Da’s computer and will until April 21 when he leaves to the US. I am hoping that the Dell Service center in Beijing that will be able to repair it, otherwise I will be without a computer for 3 weeks. That will be difficult since I have been relying on skype for communication with Da! (Da is buying me a iPad when we get home! Yes!)
Another issue is that I can no longer access Facebook. Da has a VPN on his computer through work, but because it is through work, FB is disabled. So much for $50 on a VPN that I will not be able to use for 1/2 of my trip. Darn it!
I have several days worth of photos trapped on the other computer too. I am not too worried about losing them, but it also means that I will be unable to post several days on the blog. I will catch them up when I get home.
On Monday we hired a “Mian Bao” to take us to Guilin. The drive is about 1.5 hours and really not bad. I enjoyed seeing the countryside that we missed on the way in because it was dark.
It only took a few moments to get our luggage put away and then hire a “business car” (as they call a minivan here in Guilin) and a guide. We hadn’t really figured out how to get around Guilin at that point and a guide for the first day is a good place to start. He told us about Yao Mountain and the girls jumped on the idea of taking a chair lift up to the highest point in Guilin. We are so glad we did! Even though it was hazy, the view was incredible! (I hope my photos do it justice!)
On the way up we learned from the guide that Yao Mountain is considered “good luck” if you climb it, and even more good luck if you bury a family member there. The number of grave sites (identical to the ones we saw in Yangshuo) is immense! 100’s of thousands of grave sites climb the mountain sides and fill the forests.
After Yao Mountain our guide took us to his favorite noodle shop in Guilin. He order 5 bowls of Gui Lin Min Fan (Guilin rice noodles) with condiments (peanuts, shallots, bamboo shoots and peppers), 5 bottles of soda and a bottle of water. The entire meal came to Y20 or $2.90. It made a Y2 tip seem very justifiable! (Most people in China will not accept tips, but we have found the opposite here in Guilin…it is expected!) The noodles were fabulous and only wish we could trust all the street vendors to not make us sick! We would be eating them every day!
After lunch we headed to Reed Flute Cave. I can honestly say that Timpanogos Cave holds little in the way of interest after seeing this place. (Though I will continue to climb to the cave every summer with my kids…it is a tradition!) The formations are so large I can hardly describe them. They are stories tall and as big around as cars! At first I thought that the lights inside were a little too “Disneyesque” but after taking a look through my photos, I decided I liked it!
I have to run to see Elephant Trunk hill now, so I’ll post the photos and be done!
(Click on the first image and you will get a slide show you can control. This is the best option! PicLens works very well, but it shows all the photos and can be distracting.)