We landed and spent the night in Guilin, China…That’s right CHINA!!!! We are officially on the other side of the world! When we got here it was freezing out! So we had to buy some extra layers before we headed to the city of Yangshuo, by boat, the next day. The hostel we stayed in didn’t have heat, only electric blankets so we had to make sure they were on so we wouldn’t freeze in our sleep…an experience non the less.
Before this trip the word hostel had no meaning to me, just an odd place where people stay when they are traveling… But during this trip the word hostel has taken on a whole new meaning. Hostels are not what I made them out to be in my head; crowded tiny places where people can hardly move and nothing is ever clean. They are kind of like dorm rooms in college. It depends on the country and the hostel on whether or not they have shared or private bathrooms, which are always, clean and tidy. There is usually a common area where people can go to hang out, eat, and share their stories of the day with other people and use the WIFI. We have had some great experiences by staying in hostels and met some great new friends. My parents use Tripadvisor to check out people’s reviews before they book – they figure if they have a large number of good reviews it’s should be okay. The one we stayed at in Guilin, China was only $22 for the night for all 4 of us – and it had a private bathroom (the shower actually faced the toilet, my dad’s the only one to shower that morning). The hostel people are usually always very helpful, in Guilin they helped us set up our Li River Cruise.
We headed out the next day for our boat bright and early, while waiting for everyone to get on the bus we met a nice American family who are stationed in China for about 14 months, the dad is a Marine. They have two kids around 6 and 3yrs old, they were so much fun to hang out with on the 4 hour boat tour. The boat is basically taking you from one town, Guilin to the next town, Yangshuo, via a scenic river cruise. The river is called the Li River and the views were amazing – it looked like a fairy tale scene. The Chinese 20 yen has a picture of mountains and a river; we got to take the exact same picture on the boat! It was a beautiful way to start our experience of this new country.