Guilin: 19th May 2014.
They called today’s trip ‘Exploring the Guilin Countryside’, They promised to show us ‘the real China’ and certainly kept their promise. We walked through fields where we saw rice being cultivated and vegetables being grown, and snails harvested.
Linda explained that, quite often, the farms were owned by people who lived and worked in the cities, and they were actually worked by their parents in ‘retirement’.
An old woman led a water buffalo down the road. As she grew closer, we heard her chanting ‘Money! Money!’ and suspected that her primary concern was largesse, rather than getting the buffalo from A to B.
Everywhere was the most important crop, the rice. In some rural parts of China, the expression meaning ‘Are you well?’ is literally translated as ‘Have you eaten your rice?’
Then, we came to the Dragon River, a tributary of the Li, where sampans took visitors for a sail. The sampans are really simple bamboo rafts, propelled like a Cambridge punt or a Venetian gondola … but, I suspect, much cheaper.