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June 13 - 24, 1997

In Tibet, Yves and I decided to head to Hong Kong for the handover. We recruited Angelo to come along, since he spoke Mandarin. It made the trip so much easier.

We flew from Lhasa to Chengdu, in Sichuan province, on Friday the 13th. The worst thing that happened was they showed America's Funniest Home Videos on the plane.

Chengdu is a big modern city, full of KFCs, and other western staples, but with nice green spaces. There's a big statue of Chairman Mao, and behind it, large, neon billboards for Coca-Cola, and Marlborough cigarettes, and other American products.

We took a day trip to see the world's biggest Buddha statue. We took a boat to see it, but ended up not taking the walking trail, because they were charging too much. And, of course, the foreigners price is much more than the Chinese price. For a supposedly communist country, they sure love money. They're more capitalistic than the capitalists.

We took the train and bus to Yangshuo. On the train we met Chris, an Australian who had spent the last year studying Mandarin in Beijing.He was traveling with his 16 year old son Reed who had spent six months in Beijing. Chris figures there's going to be a peasant revolt soon.

Yangshuo is very touristy. Full of backpackers, and restaurants serving western food, and showing movies. It's like you're not in China anymore.

The scenery around town is amazing. There are these hills that jut straight out of the ground. Chris, Reed and I rented bikes to see the countryside, and swim in the river.
Then Angelo, Yves and I hooked up with four Brits, and Angelo took us to a little village that he'd been to before. We were in a bus accident on the way there. But it was great. It was like a village in the Swiss Alps. Except that the hills were all terraced with rice paddies. It was like they were sculpted.

And there were no tourists up there. In the guest book, several people wrote that they hope it never gets in Lonely Planet.

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Last updated: March 8, 2022