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Brian’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 27 Jan 2007

Location: Last night in Guilin, China

MapWhen we got back to Guilin we met up with the Mandarin speaking Belgians again and went to go claim our train tickets for the next morning. They didnt have them, but they did still have Y1,750 of our money! Conveniently, the guy who spoke English that sold us the tickets was not there. Lots of yelling in Mandarin... Wo bu ming bai. The Belgians got the original sales person on the phone and began to yell at him in various languages to get down here to give us our tickets. They finally sent someone with 5 tickets for hard sleepers for our 18hour ride. That would have been fine but we paid for soft sleepers and refused to give this guy the satisfaction of screwing us over. Did I mention that Guilin is the Chinese capital of dodgy tours? We wanted our money back. We were six strong now (+1 more Belgian) and there was only 3 of them. We werent leaving the office till we got our money. The woman that showed up with the hard sleeper tickets said she would go to the ATM and get the money. We graciously offered to go with her. There was no way we were letting her out of our sight. So when we said we were coming with she all of a sudden had to go home first. Great... I get to see a Chinese home! But she eventually backed down. She was clearly just trying to get away from us and keep our money. But she must have realized we were going to take Y1,750 worth of stuff from her office if we didnt get our money. So 2 of us followed the woman to a corner store where she got the money. The other four stayed in the office despite several attempts to be kicked out by the remaining employees. In the end we got our money, but we had to take a different route that brought us through Nanning with a 5 hour layover to explore the city famous for its dog cousine.

Our last night wondering around Guilin gave us a feel for what southern Chinese food is like. All the "good" restaraunts have their main dishes in cages or tanks on the front steps of the entrance, like carp - the boniest fish possible thats still edible, snake - I have no idea what kind, and bamboo rat - which looks like the reproductive result of a guinea pig that mated with a hedgehog. I didnt feel like topping the Capivara I ate in Brazil so the bamboo rat was off the menu for me.