27 Nov - 30 Nov 2012 Guiyang

Guìzhōu Province
Baoshan Beilu 176
20th Floor, Jiaxinhuating Bldg.
Crapemyrtle Hotel +868516764268
Sizeable, well-kept double room (no. 216) on the 20th floor, with wifi, private bathroom, comfy bed and panoramic views of the city, for a heavily discounted CNY 140.- or US$ 22.50 per night. Indifferent staff, no English.
Beer: 518-ml bottles of cold Snow Beer Premium Light (3.3 % alcohol) for only CNY 3.50 from any of the small mom-and-pop stores round the corner.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Crapemyrtle Hotel in Guiyang, which we would recommend, and for directions:
Note the random 0 - 500 m misalignment between Goggle's maps and satellite views of the motherland, courtesy of the paranoid Chinese Communist Party.

Enduring more than a week without sunshine, seeing with our own eyes the heavy air pollution (which resembles nuclear winter) in Guiyang, a rapidly growing 5-million-people city, and reading on the internet the official Chinese statement at the U.N. climate talks in the Qatari capital of Doha, which confirms that China’s carbon emissions won’t peak by the year 2020 CE: "We are still in the process of industrialisation and we are also confronted with the enormous task of poverty eradication. In order to improve the living standards, certainly we need to develop our economy. So the emissions will need to grow for a period of time..." - almost 1.5 billion people in this overpopulated country plus a lot of monkeys, pigs, dogs, cats, sheep, goats and rats; their farting alone makes global warming inevitable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, the monster began, this country had become a place of industry. Factories grew on the landscape like weeds. Trees fell, fields were up-ended, rivers blackened. The sky choked on smoke and ash, and the people did, too, spending their days coughing and itching, their eyes turned forever toward the ground. Villages grew into town, towns into cities...

Going on a day trip to heavily sanitised, commercialised and disneyfied Qīngyán Ancient Town (city bus no. 1 for CNY 1.- from our hotel to Guiyang’s Hebin Park bus stop and hereafter city bus no. 210 for CNY 3.- to Qīngyán, c. 30 km, 1 hour), a former Ming-era military outpost, dating back to 1378 CE, with more than 30 monasteries, temples, caves, courtyards and palaces, and, being the only long-nosed barbarians amongst all those civilised people, becoming immediately the number-one attraction to the prying eyes of friendly hoards of domestic tourists (i) who incessantly wanted to take dozens of souvenir photos together with us foreign devils, (ii) who unrestrainedly pulled on Matt’s underarm hair in order to test its genuineness, and (iii) who nosily bombarded us with hundreds of private questions, luckily always in Mandarin, Cantonese or in some other Chinese dialect.

Watching, for the first time in Red China, a fantastic lion-dance performance, a 3,000 -year-old Chinese tradition that symbolises prosperity, luck and happiness, performed at a store opening in downtown Guiyang, and learning that lion dance had been labelled as “bourgeois and decadent” and subsequently banned by the communist regime during the Cultural Revolution.
“As I gazed at Mao’s face wearing what was intended as a benign expression but was in fact a smirk of self-satisfaction, I wondered how one single person could have caused the extent of misery that was prevailing in China. There must be something lacking in our own character, I thought, that had made it possible for his evil genius to dominate."

Catching Guiyang’s double-decker city bus no. 2 (CNY 1.- per person) to Guiyang’s main train station, taking the (overnight) a/c fast train no. K394 (796 km, 12 hours, CNY 197.- or US$ 31.60 per person for comfy “hard sleeper/lower berth”; sharing the compartment with shouting, spitting, snoring, smoking and copulating mature mainlanders; listening all day to their phlegm clearing aka "Chinese singing") from Guiyang to Guilin, famous for Guangxi’s otherworldly karst topography, and thereafter catching from Guilin’s bus station a public bus to touristy Yangshou (c. 70 km, 1 ½ hours, CNY 20.- or US$ 3.20 per person) and connecting immediately with a local bus to ATM-free, low-key Xingping (c. 25 km, 1 hours, CNY 7.- or US$ 1.10 per person), a traditional Chinese one-horse town situated at the confluence of Li River and Dayuan River and surrounded by stunning karst mountains and a mind-boggling scenery. 

Facing China
© Konni & Matt

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