The cities in the South of China, are modern and well, pretty dirty because of the factories and no pollution control. They remind me very much of what the US was like back in the 60's, or at least where I grew up in Cleveland. Back in the 60's and early 70's you would get a face full of soot from the steel mills, just walking around downtown. It's very much like that now in the South of China. You can't ever even see the full sun, because of the pollution haze.
Guilin is different. The air is clear and the scenery is vibrant. Instead of tall modern buildings, there are pagodas and huts. There are a few modern hotels and restaurants, but mostly Guilin is full of history and a sense of what China really was in the past.
The Chinese treasure their past, so much more than we do. I think that may be, because their history is so much longer than ours is. Even their soap operas on TV are based in historic times, not the present. If' you've seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and thought it was kind of odd, that's the sort of show they have on TV every day. It's not unusual in China to see that period of costuming and magics. It might have seemed strange to us, but to the Chinese who see it every day, it's a beautiful part of their culture. I'm sure they think our westerns are quite odd too.
One of the days on our trip to Guilin, we went to see the sights. We climbed mountains and saw the view of the city from up high, went into the vast caves, and saw an art exhibit at a local school. The mountains are tall and it's pretty tiring climbing, but the view was spectacular and the caves were amazing. One was natural with glittering minerals and rock formations. It was vast. I wish I had pictures, but the camera didn't really work well there. The other cave was a cave of Buddhas It was filled with all shapes and sizes of Buddha, carved in rock or other materials and placed there. It had, in the past, been a place of worship.
Modern Chinese don't openly worship, but because religion was so much a part of their history, it has been transformed to mean luck and prosperity. Many traditions are still held, but more as ceremony that faith.
This last picture is hard to see, because of the rock colors, but if you click on it, you can see many figures carved into the recesses of the rock.
This will be my last post on Guilin. I am going to have a hard time letting go of it. As I said in the first post, Guilin is where I fell in love with China. It's where I could see how the Chinese could love their country so much. There was so much more to my trip, and it was for only 3 days. I've never been so saturated with a culture in such a short time. I haven't been to Beijing, or the Great Wall, or the Stone Soldiers, which are famous tourist areas, but I don't think that I could have learned as much about China there, as I did in beautiful Guilin.
There was a show on the river. It was at night. The show depicted the famous movie of the young lovers of the area and their life on the River Li. There were literally thousands of performers on the river, in boats and rafts and pontoons. All carrying lanterns, or with lit costumes. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. I would recommend that you visit Guilin, if you ever find yourself in China.