Greetings from Guilin!

hotel

I have arrived in Guilin and checked into this dodgy hotel smack dab in the middle of town. The cheapest room costs RMB 150 (about RM 75) for a night and if you add RMB 20 (RM 10) more you get a room with a computer and Internet! =D

slums

I wanted to stay at Flowers Youth Hostel (RMB 55 per night for a single room – get to save RM 150!) but they were fully booked. :( Thus, I went to this dubious Guilin Swan Hotel. I can’t say the view is excellant, but you get what you pay for and it’s a pretty decent hotel.

stuff

Anyway, the reason the words “dodgy” and “dubious” is being thrown around is not just from the vibe but the ancillaries in the room itself. You have to pay for EVERYTHING – only the soap is free (and even I’m not sure of that since there is a Chinese sign above it and I can’t read Chinese).

condom

There’s also a pack of condoms (RMB 10) right by the bed within easy reach but that’s not my primary concern…

genital wash

…it’s the toiletries for sale in the bathroom which prominently displays two sachets of Mei Fu Antibacterial Lotion. That in itself is not worrying, the description of said lotion is more disturbing – “Specially designed for the health of men’s genitals. Used for relieving the itching, killing germs and usual nursing of the private parts. Please apply to genital area gently. Rinse well with water“. There is a female version too, which makes me wonder what sort of clientèle this hotel attracts.

*double checks bedsheets for stains*

Posted: 1:06 PM China time (which is the same as Malaysia for Guilin)

Liushuiyin (Flowing Water Music) Herb Blend cigarettes

liushuiyin

I noticed this box of Liushuiyin Herb Blend cigarettes at a coffee
shop one day. It’s an unlicensed product – there’s no MY watermark on
it and it’s imported in by a Sarawak based company.

liushuiyin herb blend

The box says Liushuiyin but the Chinese characters read as Zhong Nan
Hai or Central South River. The actual translation should be Central
and Southern Seas or Sea Palaces. Liushiyin translates to flowing water
music.

liushuiyin china

This product is made in The People’s Republic of China; or just
China damn it, no point in typing five words when one would do just
fine. ;)

liushuiyin cigarettes

Here’s what the cigarettes look like – the traditional white filter
for mild cigarettes instead of the brown filters for full bodied
cigarettes. I noticed an array of air intake holes at the filter point.
The name of the cigarette, which is Central and Southern Seas, is
printed on it.

liushuiyi serial

There’s also a strange serial code of some sort towards the end of
the cigarette. Yes, I pack it, smokes better, lights better. Anyway,
all the serials in the pack are the same T4 – 31. I don’t know if it’s
a batch code or something.

liushuiyin herbs

I sacrificed one of them to look at what this “herb blend” is all
about. There’s something else inside besides tobacco, but not
psychoactive mind, just a flavor additive. It actually tastes like
sweet herbs when you smoke it. It’s good for a fun smoke, but I’ll pass
for daily smoking – it doesn’t pack much weight in the nicotine
department.

Preserved duck liver snacks

duck_liver_pack.jpg

Bernice passed me one of these…I’m not really good in Chinese (the
written and reading comprehension bit), so I didn’t know what it was.
She got two while visiting someone and I assumed that it was a plum or
something like that.

duck liver pack back

It looks like a plum from the way it’s packaged. Perhaps a nice, rare juicy plum, individually packaged for freshness.

duck liver

It wasn’t plum. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the tiny pack and saw what looked like meat. Mmm…meat. ;)

I only knew that it was liver after I got her to read the packaging.
It’s preserved duck liver. The wonders of food technology! I was amazed
that it was still juicy and tender, very tender, after being packaged
in this manner. It tasted fresh too, not like something out of a can or
something.

duck liver more

Well, she managed to get some more of these preserved duck livers
and I thoroughly enjoyed every single pack. It’s not available here;
she told me the person she got it off from just came back from a trip
to China. It’s really good. The texture isn’t like one of those beef
jerky types, but like an actual succulent piece of deli meat.

duck liver liver

It doesn’t taste like liver too, but here’s another shot of it
during the second taste test. It does look like liver once you open it
up and take a real good look at it. Good duck liver, with bits of fat
intact and did I mention how juicy it was?

I hear preserved duck liver is considered a delicacy in China, where this product is made.

The girls from China fiasco

kch china girls flash

I was in Parkson with my friends X and Y (names changed to protect
the guilty ;)) when we saw this group of girls sitting at Giant. I took
a photo and unfortunately, the flash went off…

kch china girls away

The girls looked at me and I smiled at them and shrugged and when I
took the second shot (without flash – better skin tone), they giggled
and turned away. One of them jokingly said to the other girl that I was
interested in her. Nothing of that sort, of course, I just like street
photography.

Anyway, by sheer coincidence, we bumped into them again, this time
upstairs. I approached them and got them to pose for a photo. I’m not a
big fan of posed photos, I much prefer candid shots of people doing
what they do. I asked them where they were from, and they said they
were from the Guangzhou province of The People’s Republic of China.

kch china girls next

Well, after that, one of the girls asked if they could have a copy
of the photos. I said sure, and gave them my number. X and Y, who were
standing at the sidelines (they’re kinda embarrassed when I pull shit
like this ;)) was harassing me to get their numbers. They were
interested in the girls, but I wasn’t, but hey, they are my friends, so
I got their numbers.

I also took a photo with them, got Y to take the photos. X was the
most interested party and I gave him the number and he got Y to call
the girl. I’m not interested in anything beyond this point, I just like
to take photos and that’s it. It’s for the XX Chromosomes category,
see. ;)

kch china girls me

Well, Y called up the girl and the girls asked us to take them to
another shopping center and walk around with them. I’m not falling for
that shit, so I said I’m going to bail, but X insisted that I stay
around a bit. Well, I told X that I’ll just stay till the duration it
took to get me home, and the girls talked to us a bit.

Classic dodgy stuff, standard modus operandi, but X was interested,
so hey, wtf, I talked to them until I got home. X and Y later went out
with the girls to the shopping center, and later that night, they
called me and told me about what happened. It’s the characteristic ruse
that these girls pull; I know coz I asked them about their line of work
and why they’re here while in the car. I laughed so much I was in tears.

Somehow, “I told you so”, just wasn’t quite enough. ;)

Ice Sculpture Exhibition

ice sculpture fest

The Ice Sculpture Exhibition is dubbed “The Coolest August Festival”
and they mean it literally – the temperature inside is -8 degrees
Celcius. That’s minus eight degrees below zero to prevent the ice
sculptures made by the ice carvers from Harbin, China from melting.

ice sculpture tickets

The ice festival feature amazing works carved out of gigantic blocks
of ice and is housed inside a temperature controlled room. I managed to
get a half priced ticket (RM 10) by using my old uni student ID card.
;) The normal admission price for adults is RM 20.

sweater change

That’s inclusive of a free sweater, and an unlimited time inside.
The coats are handed out before you enter the freezing enclosure.

ice 2004 kuching

The first thing that greets you (besides the blast of freezing air)
is this huge cat made completely out of ice. I was amazed by the size
and finesse that must have gone into this piece of work. It’s based on
the Kuching cat, one paw raised in greeting.

ice nativity scene

This is a nativity scene showing the birth of Jesus Christ
(bananas). Look at the intricate design of the hay in the manger
interpretation. The cot itself has a lot of carved patterns on it. It’s
amazing!

ice eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower of Paris is also featured in the ice sculpture exhibition. The scale of it is amazing, it towers above people.

ice gates me

Here’s another massive ice sculpture to show you the scale of the
interior. This is me standing in front of the Beijing Ceremonial Arch.
The entire interior is made out of ice!

ice pheonix sun

This is another design I like – it’s a piece of work called Phoenix Facing The Sun.

ice turtle

Turtle: OMG, the world has frozen around me and I can’t get up!

Here’s a mini tour of the ice sculpture exhibition, a longer video will be available at the end of the post:

ice inside

Download: Ice Exhibition Interior [sixthseal.com]

ice an pergola

This is another marvelous piece of art – the An Pergola. I give this Best of Show. The design is impeccable.

ice chairs

Lest we get tired, there is ice chairs located inside for people to
rest their weary legs. The entire bench is made out of huge blocks of
ice.

ice barren trees

The side of the interior is decorated with barren winter trees and
small piles of ice. It really contributes to the ambience of the ice
sculpture fest.

ice 12 zodiac

This is a long display of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. I have a movie featuring the ice sculpted animals here:

ice zodiac

Download: Ice 12 Chineze Zodiac [sixthseal.com]

ice me rooster

I was born in 1981, so that makes me a Rooster.

ice maze

There is also an ice maze made out of blocks of ice in the middle of
the exhibition. It’s wonderful, the variety of interactive sculptures
available inside.

ice palace

Speaking of interactive sculptures, this is the ice palace, with
steps leading up to a balcony which overlooks the entire exhibition…

ice slide structure

…and an ice slide down to the bottom! :)

ice slide

I went down the ice slide twice – they charge a nominal fee of RM 1
per slide, and you get a mat so your pants won’t get wet and make your
underwear all soggy and all that.

ice longhouse

There is also an intricate ice sculpture of a longhouse – possibly the most complicated sculpture inside.

longhouse detail

Look at the detail the ice carvers put into this one – it has a proper structure, with rooms!

longhouse very detailed

It’s very detailed – steps going up into the longhouse and windows on each room.

ice slideway russian 1

Here’s another complicated ice sculpture – A Slideway Russian Style Building.

ice slideway russian 2

It also features a mini ice slide, this one is free, but the slide
is too short for most adults. I would recommend giving the long curving
slide a go instead.

ice liuhe pagoda

This is the Liuhe Pagoda – a massive structure that competes with
the Eiffel Tower in size. I liked this one more, the lighting is better.

Here’s a video tour of the ice sculpture festival:

ice tour

Download: Ice Sculpture Exhibition Tour [sixthseal.com]

ice snake end

I would highly (no pun intended) recommend a visit to the Ice
Sculpture Exhibition if you’re in Kuching. It ends on the 15th of
August and it’s located at the MBKS grounds. I’ll rate it as a must
visit – you won’t be disappointed, it’s beautiful in there!

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