Jul 08

Yangshuo to Shenzhen to Hong Kong

Wednesday, July 23rd to Thursday, July 24th We set out from our hotel (baggage getting increasingly heavy and weather increasingly sweat-inducing) to our pre-appointed bus meeting spot. Upon arrival, Jeannette inquired about the bus at the hotel lobby we had arrived at and they did not know what she was talking about. The hotel graciously called the CITS agent and figured out that we should be waiting across the street from this hotel on the side of the road (by now we should have known), not in the lobby as instructed. The bus arrived soon thereafter and we were swooped up and on our way.

The bus to Shenzhen is an 11-hour journey through the night, to conveniently and cheaply get us to the Chinese border with Hong Kong. After boarding and getting situated, it became clear that the “sleeper” bus would prohibit most sleep. Each passenger is given a bed that is affixed in a semi-reclined position with the footwell of the passenger behind you under your back. Accordingly, your footwell is a tiny, enclosed space for your lower legs, encasing them in a rigid, plastic tube up to about your knees. If you are any taller than the very tallest Chinese person, in this case approximately 5′-6″, you could not possibly fit into these beds. Josh could not even get his legs inside of the footwell compartment and thus was a tangled mess of protruding and gangly limbs. In addition, we had a few too many “precious” pieces of luggage we didn’t want below the bus, making all of this more difficult. The best description we could come up with for the bed compartment was something like the experience of chaperoning a young child onto an amusement park ride in the kiddie-land section. You squeeze yourself into a very awkward position to fit into a very hard and unforgiving container that you will then be jostled in and bruised for approximately 1.5 minutes, only in this case that lasts for approximately 11 hours. Continue reading →

Jul 08


Wednesday, July 23rd Finally, a day of our vacation when we can actually relax and sleep in a bit. We got out the door by about 11am and headed to a nice little cafe called Kelly’s for brunch. Yangshuo is a pretty touristy little place, maybe at a different time we would have enjoyed it less, but right now a little English and a nice western brunch were welcomed treats.

We rented bikes from our hotel and had an experience that fondly recalled biking through Chianti or Martha’s Vineyard hills. It was beautiful and we were quickly in the countryside and surrounded by the steep narrow mountains. This terrain is perfect for a scenic ride, the land between the peaks is completely flat, so you get all the beauty up close with no extra effort required. We rode about 15 km on our rickety old bikes. Continue reading →

Jul 08

Guilin to Yangshuo

Tuesday, July 22nd Today we got up early for our big river cruise down the Li. The cruise was amazing. Just wait until you see the pictures (many posted after the jump, and we have exponentially more if you ever want to see them)! It also completed the range of every possible form of travel city to city in China for us. The cruise ended about 4 hours down river, through the karst peaks, in a much smaller town, Yangshuo. By the way, Chinese refer to Guilin as a small city; it is a city of about 5 million. Yangshou is about 600,000 (miniscule by China’s standard) and honestly has a real small town feel. Continue reading →

Jul 08

From Beijing to Hong Kong

This is where we are headed…

I can’t tell which mapping program is better so I have included two maps.

We are headed in a counter-clockwise direction, beginning in the upper right (i.e., Northeast) corner in Beijing.  Since the green and red push pins are not labeled with the appropriate city names and do not tell us “geographically hindered” people what cities they are “tacking”, here’s the list in chronological order:  Beijing, Datong, Pingyao, Xi’an, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shenzhen and ending in Hong Kong.

Map #1


Map #2

Map image

Here is the first map zoomed in a bit differently.  The map of the states beneath it is set at the exact same scale just so you can get an idea of how far we will be traveling.