Here now at Guilin. Meant to be one of the most beautiful areas on earth. Probably is - if we could see it. China is one big smog pit to begin with, then throw in the first rain we've had since we set out - we can't see more than 50 metres if we're lucky. So tomorrow we set off down the river on a boat - about 120 aus dollars for the day - the most reknowned and unavoidable ripoff in China. But fingers crossed for clear weather. Then next day down to Ghangzhuo - over the water from Hong Kong - then home to the sun - but we have serious doubts if we can handle the heat. It was probably 10 degrees here today and we were complaining. Comfort levels are relative it seems.
The last day and night were spent on board the train. This time we were the only foriegners on board - and the locals were staring and laughing at our attempts to order food. But in fact it was some of the best food yet. Saying that after going out to a nice restaurant in Xian where we had chicken and pork. Well chicken the prepare by getting garden shears and basically chopping the whole thing up - I ended up pulling a chicken foot out of my mouth - yum yum. And the pork - well I don't know what they did to it, or how old it was, but geez it stunk, and tasted even worse. All part of the fun!
Xain city itself didn't have much to offer - VERY smoggy, which took a lot away from the city. Our hotel was perfect though - 4 star luxury - we no complain. Very nice city walls to stroll around though, and a few pagodas and gardens to see. The Terracotta army of course was amazing. The amount of work they have done and have still to do is phenominal. They just unearthed another 6 pits of statues this year - and have to painstakingly reconstruct them as they were all smashed hundreds of years ago.
The day of out train ride from Beijing down we visited a Lama temple (another huge 28m high Budha statue) and the Confuscious temple - it was interesting to learn the story of him and his followers. On the train we ended up in a carriage with a lawyer from Perth - bought us dinner and beers - cheers mate!
Overall have been thinking a lot about being home now that its so close - can't imagine body surfing, beach, sun, seeing everybody after two years - but it will be good. Anyway - back to it. Might visit the hotel gym tonight. try and get in shape before the beach, all this chinese food is fattening me up!