Tomatoes

May 27, 2009 at 8:27 am 5 comments

Guilin is a cute little city with a population of under a million, replete with parks, lakes, ponds, hills, mountains, fashion boutiques, chick eateries, and department stores. There are over a dozen bridges linking the islands as well as a good local bus system. In the center of the city, there is a huge tree-lined boulevard and every night there is a night market until midnight. The city possesses the same air of sophistication of Guangzhou but minus the traffic and heavy pollution. And the people here seem more friendly, chatty and willing to help.

I visited a few sites, one of which, Solitary Beauty Peak, involved a climb of 152 meters from which I could see the whole city.

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I visited Seven Star Park, a splendid landscape of greenery. The only thing I didn’t like about the park was its zoo. The site of the bears was the most gruesome. There were four in total in three separate cages. All trotted back and force in their empty cages, the floors of which were covered in shit. I remembered a cartoon I’d once seen, in it a little boy and his mother are visiting the zoo when the youngster points at an animal in a cage and asks “What did he do?”

The panda had a better deal, although he too was alone in his cell. But he had toys and a backyard full of grass!

I visited Reed Flute Cave which was lit up with gaudy lights, a style I’ve come to associate with China. (If it’s dark, the Chinese love lighting it up … parks, bridges, roofs) At first regretted my decision to come all the way here and spend $8 to see this theme park cave. But then, despite the frequent and noisy groups of Chinese tourists I got lost in my thoughts as I stood still watching the looming rocks curling hither and wither, the coolness of the air, the height of the cave. It was so peaceful!

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I stopped by exhibition at an art school. Although there were many interesting paintings on display, I only photographed a few.

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Instead of sleeping in a guesthouse I stayed with a Chinese host family whom I met through couchsurfing. Yesterday I bought vegetables at the market and made a salad. My hosts had never eaten raw vegetables in a salad before and their reaction was not unlike the amused perplexity with which the women of the house looked upon me in Burma and Cambodia when I chopped vegetables for salad. Once, a pretty Burmese college student told me she loved tomatoes but never ate them raw. Before this trip, the word tomato always induced an image of rawness in my head… despite the triviality of tomatoes, it’s an example of how much our perceptions vary and depend on our culture.

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Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , .

Guangzhou Yangshuo

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dina  |  May 28, 2009 at 11:17 am

    You look tanned.
    You shouldn’t.

    I like the rest :)

    Reply
  • 2. Yelena Shuster  |  May 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    The sun’s kiss on my skin is impermanent like all things, but like all things it leaves its mark.

    Reply
  • 3. new look  |  June 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    hi
    i love your pictures ,if you can go to tirupati temple – Richest temple in the world and take more pics ,it is my dream to viste this temple . i sure you will get a free haircut and strat new look .. let me knwo

    Reply
  • 4. Christopher  |  June 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Hi, I’m reading your travels. Great reading. Quick question: The hair, is it shaved in stripes? Why? Your such a pretty girl it doesn’t attribute anything towards that beauty.

    Reply
    • 5. Lena Shuster  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Christopher,

      It was shaved in stripes last year for two months or so. I liked it ;~)

      Reply

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