Day 11 We were awake before the alarm went off and I checked out the view. It was absolutely stunning, and I am glad I paid a little extra for a view. We got up and ready and then headed downstairs. Breakfast is officially served from 7:00, which was when we were due to be collected. They set up a little early and we were able to grab some fruit and cake for an early breakfast. I even managed to score a couple of plain steamed buns and some sausages. Once we had our quick breakfast, we headed for the lobby. Our driver was waiting for us. We walked to the car and we were on our way. We got to see some very interesting side streets. We also got treated to rush hour Guilin-style. The town is absolutely packed with scooters. However, there was no sound whatsoever. It turns out that all the scooters and even most of the cars are electric. I was absolutely fascinated by this. We got a god overview of the town on the way as well. We pulled up to the hotel and our driver made a call. He then handed the phone to Graham. It was our tour guide who advised that she was running behind schedule and that we should wait for her in the hotel lobby. She advised that she would be with us in about 45 minutes. The hotel was gorgeous, but I still preferred our hotel. After a while, we were joined by another group of people who were staying at this hotel. In the end, Jenny turned up about an hour after we arrived. We could have had a proper breakfast after all. The bus was waiting for on the other side of the road. Getting across during morning rush hour was a little scary, but we managed. We picked up people from two further hotels and then we headed to the port. We got a good idea just how big Guilin is on the way. Jenny told us a bit about Guilin and the surrounding area and also about what to expect of the day. We arrived at the port shortly afterwards. We had our passports checked and went through security. Then we headed for our boat. Port is overstating things a little. Apart from the building where we went through security, there were a couple of moorings with 4 to 5 boats moored abreast. We head to go across two other boats to get to ours. Once we were on board, we went to find a table. We were initially sent upstairs and then were sent downstairs again. There was a tea pot and traditional tea cups on each table and as soon as everybody had settled down, hot water was brought around. Unfortunately, the tea came in the form of tea bags, but the tea still hit the spot. Then came the time for the upsell. A buffet lunch was included, but you could purchase fresh fish or seafood from the river to supplement lunch. We passed. We did however purchase an excursion for the trip back, which took in two local villages. The return transfer was included, and we could have gone straight back to Guilin after the river cruise, but the excursion sounded interesting and at 150 Yuan for both of us, it was a bit of a bargain. While Jenny told us about the excursion, she also pointed out various highlights along the river on a map that was on the table and gave us a rough timeline. Soon we were on our way. Initially the area was quite urban even though there did not seem a lot around when we drove up to the port. It did not take long until we reached more rural parts though. The urban landscape was replaced by greenery and the pleasure boats by bamboo rafts. I say bamboo rafts and they look like they are made from bamboo, but I am pretty sure they are made from fibreglass. It was raining quite heavily when we got to the first of the mountains. Fortunately, this was only a passing shower and once it eased off, we headed upstairs to the open deck. There we met a fellow traveller from Texas. He was in China with his grandson and this was their first visit. His grandson goes to school with a boy from China and his family had invited them to stay with them. I thought this was a lovely story. We admired the scenery for a while until the next shower came through and we went back downstairs. Once the rain eased off, we headed back upstairs until the next shower passed through. When I came back downstairs, they had started to serve lunch. Lunch was a buffet. It smelled and looked delicious. The problem was that nothing was labelled, and I assumed that a lot of it was probably fish, which I don’t eat. I played it safe and only had food that I could clearly identify. I had rice, sweet and sour pork, vegetable noodles and plain steamed and fried buns. I also had a selection of tropical fruit and the best cookies I ever tasted. They were like a shortbread, but with sesame seeds. I kept going back for more. Graham tried a bit of everything and enjoyed his lunch. I decided to stay inside after lunch. Graham went upstairs one more time. I think at some stage I must have fallen asleep as time seemed to be passing awfully quickly. Once we got closer to our destination, the river got busier again with boats passing us and also coming the other way. The scenery also changed and there were now fields and small villages along the river. Soon we got to our destination and the first part of our adventure was over.