How we discovered the real face of China

After our bike trip in Guilin and its surroundings the other day we decided to explore the town by foot. At first we found local market with many street vendors. We bought salty pancake and we also wanted to buy sweet rice milk. The pancake was strange and little bit spicy but it was eatable. However we apparently didn’t choose the right rice flavor because we got overcooked salty rice in some chicken broth. We ate that delicious breakfast and continued walking through the town until we reached big park with Chinese temple.

“Those Chinese! They want 70 Yuans for entrance to the park!” In China they learned very well how to make money in tourism and so you have to pay entrance to every park, hill, cave or temple. The entrance usually consists of many smaller amounts which makes you feel that you are not paying that much.  The total amount is quite high though because you are taking the money out of your pocket all day. We were trying to avoid paying for entrance as much as possible. Because of that we decided to go far from all tourists to untouched parts of town.

When we got hunger we went to a small street restaurant where we pointed on some noodles in the kitchen. We again got traditional Guilin noodles that were served almost everywhere. We were very surprised by the price. The man asked only 9 Yuans for two noodles and a drink which was not even 2 EUR. We went further until we came to small village under the mountains. We noticed immediately that the life here was passing by slower than in the busy and polluted city. The people were sitting on the ground, selling different kinds of vegetables, mushrooms, spices and other things they probably found at home. We passed by a hairdresser who was razing someone’s face under the tree right next to the path. “Look over there! He is pulling her teeth!” Karel shouted out and he was running closer to have a look. He found out that there really was a dentist working in one of the open stalls on dusty road!

Later we walked to a big cave in front of which there were many wooden tables. Locals were playing cards on all of them and a little bit further we saw groups of men standing and playing different games for money. They were waving to us not to take pictures and they were still checking if someone is not looking at them. In another street shop the customer had some bulbs sucked on his body and the masseur was slapping his shoulders with fly flap J Suddenly we heard some music playing so we walked through the groups of older people and we found Chinese open air theatre. Couple of actors in colorful costumes and red cheeks were playing probably some kind of tragicomedy because they were shouting and falling on the ground. It was maybe some kind of musical as well because they were singing most of the time.

The atmosphere in the village was really great! Next to the theatre we found more groups of people playing different kinds of instruments. In the middle of every group there usually was older Chinese lady dancing or singing. They all were very friendly and all the time they were pointing out that we were much taller than them and they wanted to take picture with us. Right there on the edge of town we discovered the real face of China!


Copyright © 2014 | | Karel Stepanek |