Asia 2005 Journey Day Seventeen
                                   Guilin, China to Bangkok, Thailand
                                            May 20, 2005: Overcast with intermittent rain showers.  Last day in China and scheduled a
                                            natural dénouement that has inspired painters for years.  Yesterday's Reed Flute cave was
                                            dramatic; however, the creation above the cave is even more of a visual feast.  It is the Li 
                                            River and it's spire shaped mountains running like "a silver snake amongst Dragon's teeth". 
                                            All Li River cruises start at a port south of Guilin.  A flotilla of different companies start at
                                            about 9:30 a.m.  This makes for an interesting sight since one transverses planks across 
                                            the bow of each ship to arrive at the correct cruise line.  Most quickly secure a location on 
                                            the top deck to watch the departure and see the oncoming mountains.  Each bend brings 
                                            forth another range, another chance to use imagination on mountain formations, and 
                                            yet another chance to see endless mountains as if they stood before mirrors.  
                                            A Chinese lunch was served on the ship and consisted of soup, egg, fish, chicken (with 
                                            the bone since this denotes freshness), spicy tofu, vegetable medley, and plenty of Guilin 
                                            beer.  The table seated six and included new acquaintances from Germany and Hong Kong.
                                            Looks like another group visiting due to business and enjoying holiday sites.
                                            Since the river was high and created a fast current, our cruise lasted 3.5 hours and landed
                                            in the town of Yangshuo.  Another picturesque town with the infamous tourist based markets.  
                                            Many backpackers use this town as a base for hikes and journeys in the locale.  Thus, hotel 
                                            room rates tend to be very reasonable and accommodations are sparse at best.  
                                            The drive back to Guilin was just as scenic with various agricultural crops in the foreground
                                            of the mountains.  One last stop at a Pearl distributor showroom was arranged with successful
                                            negotiations for the "just-the-right-price" dark pearl earrings.  Before returning to the hotel,
                                            we requested a stop at the walled inner city that contains the Guilin University.  Many of the 
                                            local guides received their language skills here.  Interesting to listen to Guilinese guides 
                                            at local sites narrating in Spanish, Italian, and even German.  
                                            One last memory was an infamous foot massage.  Before leaving for the airport, the facility
                                            next to the hotel provided a list of therapies.  For only $80 RMB ($9 USD), an hour of foot, arm,
                                            and shoulder massage is included.  The room included several large scale chairs and 
                                            ottomans with low light levels.  The large plasma screen on the wall with remote control
                                            allowed for CNN updates while the feet were enjoying a paraffin soak followed by a rather
                                            vigorous massage.  Yes, one does have Gene Kelly moves afterwards.
                                            First of many flights on Bangkok Air followed.  Very polished flight attendants and superbly
                                            dressed.  An article in the inflight magazine relayed that proper dress is a sign of politeness
                                            and contrasts with certain countries that have embraced being a slob as a expression.
                                            Arrived at the Bangkok airport and converted the remaining Yuan to Baht monies.  So, now
                                            the adventure starts with "one night in Bangkok".


                                           Travel specs:  Flat bottom Cruise Boat, Bangkok Air - Air Bus 320
                                            Return to Asia 2005