Guilin, contrary to where it says on the map!
Today I visited the Seven Stars Park, so called because of the 7 hills that are included in the park which make the Plough constellation..
I wasn’t that hopeful of it but some travellers say that it is the ‘star’ attraction so I thought I’d give it a go. Walked there in blistering heat, bought my entrance ticket to the caves at the same time.. As soon as I walked in a strange sight greeted me, Teletubbys. Made of wood. But they just looked slightly wrong, these strange wooden figures of popular childrens characeters peppered the park, also included were Pokemon, and some I had never seen before.. made me laugh though, specially the alien Vs Robot ones.
I then proceeded to visit every single attraction in the park (it’s quite large). Started off with the Camel Hill (which actually looks like a camel! Unlike most other Chinese named things like Elephant hill…..no). To get to most of the attractions you have to walk through the main boulvard, quite pretty lined with trees and alongside a small river. All along this boulavard were people hawking several products.. most of them pictures with various things (mostly animals.)
One guy had 3 little monkeys that he kept putting on me every time I walked past (they were very cute but it was so sad to see them on a chain). I was stroking one on the head and scratching its head. Then I felt a wetness on my toes.
I looked down.
The monkey had weed on me! It was dripping down my dress. All the Chinese people were watching ( because I am a rare being round here) and then laughing thier heads off!! I laughed aswell though, it was quite funny.
Also included in the park was an extremely depressing zoo. Concrete and with little or no greenery in each cage. I saw some incredible monkeys that I have never seen elsewhere and believe to be quite rare…They looked so peed off, they really had almost had enough.
The most sad part though (which I must admot did actually bring tears to my eyes) was the animal show. It was with tigers,a lion, monkeys, a goat , a dog and a bear. Most of these animals were chained and forced to do innane things like ride bikes or do a tightrope. I watched in horror and felt so helpless in sucha situation. All the Chinese tourists were just laughing and clapping, even when the monkey fell off his bike after being striken with a large metal rod. That did it for me. The bear also was a sad sight, it had been chained around it’s body, was wearing a muzzle type device. I had to get out of there qucikly.
I then made my way to the caves, which were indeed spectacular, I have seen some incredible caves since I have been in China, really hidden gems. The CHinese like to light thier caves with garish neon lights. It looks very unnatural but is rather exciting. It would be a great place for a party!! Some of the stalactites and stalacmites were amazing, and the halls of the cave were vast ( fit 1000 people in ).
After some ancient rock carvings and copious amounts of stairs I made my way back to the hostel, to wash the moneky wee off my leg.
So tommorow am taking a river cruise down the Li river to Yangshou ( the famous backpacker hangout of China). I’m going with a Chinese tour group ( as it is about half the price of an English tour) which should be interesting judging by my previous experiences with Chinese tours!!!
Hoping that is a nice sunset tonight to get some nice pictures of the fantastic karst scenery!
posted Sunday July 2008