Wednesday, July 6: We had another fun-filled day in Guilin. After morning classes, we went to have a delicious lunch of soup dumplings! Mastering the art of eating these hot morsels is not easy, but worth it. Afterwards, students were given free time to wonder around Guilin before we attended a formal tea ceremony. We tried many different kinds of tea — including oolong, red, and green. We even tried tea that had been fermented for 15 years! Afterwards, the students went on to have dinner at a Buddhist monastery, where the cuisine was all-vegetarian in honor of the religion of Buddhism.
Thursday, July 7: We had a fun-filled day touring the Li River and the tourist town of Yangshuo! Taking a break from class, we took a river cruise to see the most famous of Guangxi’s unique hills — the 9 Horse Hill and the hills featured on the back of a 20 yuan bill, to name a few. Fruit sellers came along on bamboo boats to sell fruit to the ferry passengers, and students experienced the phenomenon of being famous just for looking like they come from another country!
Once we arrived in Yangshuo, we were immediately immersed in the market stalls and restaurants of this tourist town. To take a break from the hustle and bustle, we rented bikes to go see some more of the natural sites. Afterwards, students tried their hand at haggling for souvenirs and some learned the key to a successful negotiation is to walk away to get the price you want!
We wrapped up our long day at the show Impression, a performance on the Li River (with the Guangxi hills as thebackdrop) featuring the culture of the different minorities in the autonomous region of Guangxi. The show was director by famed film director, Zhang Yimuo, who also directed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.