I have definitely had enough of the alarm going off at 7AM everyday, I am starting to wonder if I can ever have a 9-5 job again this is torture! Today is our last day in Guilin, we fly to Xian at 16:05 so wanted to make the most of the morning. We were both really looking forward to breakfast but I think the anticipation of unlimited free food is always a little bit more exciting that the actual food, especially in a Chinese hotel. A plate of noodles, a couple of boiled eggs and we were ready to go. We checked out, left our luggage with reception and for the first time in 120 days of travelling, we got a taxi. You can probably guess that taxis must be really cheap for us to fork out, and they are. It cost us just £2 to our destination, the Reed Flute Caves.
The caves were amazing but like most Chinese tourist attractions everything is in Chinese and all the tour guides only speak Chinese. The caves stretch for 500 meters and are lit by very vibrant multi coloured lights. I should imagine the tour guide was saying that these stalagmites and stalactites were formed over millions of years… As the water from outside runs through tiny channels in the rock it picks up minerals… Once it reaches the roof of the cave it drips, leaving a small amount of minerals behind, this is how the Stalactites are formed… When the drip hits the ground more minerals are deposited and this forms stalagmites. After millions and millions of year these stalagmites and stalactites get so big that they touch and form a single pillar of rock… At least that is what we remember from our other cave tours back in Europe.
Half way round the cave we heard someone speaking English, then we as investigated we discovered a whole tour group of (we think) Americans. Latching on to the tour we tried to get some free information. This one looks like an elephant, this one looks like a lion, and this one looks like father Christmas. Right, so no history at all then, just looki looki games! One of the Americans said this one looks like a man wearing a hat with his finger over his mouth saying “shhh”, to which the tour guide replied (imagine a thick Chinese accent) “if yaw say so” , this had the whole tour group in fits of laughter.
After we had exited the caves we tried to get a taxi but they all wanted double what we paid to get here. After haggling with three of them we managed to agree on £3.50, still nearly double what we paid to get here, but I think these taxis were the dodgy kind, the car was falling apart. Getting back to the hotel we collected our bags and sat in the lobby for an hour whilst Hayley tried to renew some buildings insurance back home and I caught up on some blogging. We then took a walk down to the Aviation Hotel where we took the bus back to the airport. We were quite early but had a look around, got a delicious grilled chicken burger from Each Burger that had really cool wooden chairs with smiley faces on them (it’s the simple things in life that make us happy). The flight got delayed for an hour and a half due to congestion but we was on the fastest internet connection we have had in China and was blitzing through uploading the new website so the delay was welcome.
After landing in Xi’an we got to the bus stand and had to pick what route we wanted to take. I had done some research online but proceeded with asking the lady behind the counter, well actually I just looked at her and pointed to where I wanted to go. She put us on bus 4 but we had just missed it and had to wait an hour for the next. Bus 4 terminates at Xi’an hotel, which fortunately showed up on my Google Map screenshots that I collected before we set off. Whilst walking to the hotel we came across a 12 meter high wall that was very old and decorative. The wall turned out to be 12.5 miles long and had amazing communal spaces all the way along which was beautiful to walk through. We saw three groups of people dancing, people playing badminton and ping pong.
Finally we arrived at the hotel and check in was straight forward, phew. Another huge room, so we unpacked and got ready for an early morning!