For a city of five million people, Guilin is simply stunning. Its natural wonders of green hills and sparkling rivers meld perfectly with housing blocks and busy streets to create a completely unique city unlike any other on the planet. So today I decided to get out there and explore it.
First stop was Guilin’s underground markets, which are kinda like Paddy’s but with less Asians. There’s 800 stalls tucked away under the streets, and each sells the same set of Asian-style T-shirts with wackily-misspelt English words, and seeing as I’m not Asian and don’t like wearing shirts that are misspelt, I bought nothin’. I did, however, purchase a bag of pohokey, which are these delicious meat snacks that aren’t really called pohokey. They’re covered in really hot chilli powder that must always be washed off one’s hands before one attends the bathroom. I didn’t, and my penis was burning like I’d just chucked one up Candice Falzon.
I then swaggered up to Solitary Beauty Peak (isn’t that the best name of any place ever?), which is a big fuck-off mountain that jumps right out of the ground in the middle of town, and doesn’t live up to its name at all. Yeah, it was certainly beautiful, but it was absolutely infested with tourists – it was busier than that time I took my trousers off at Hyde Park at lunchtime, only this time I didn’t get arrested.
It was a real hike to the top, straight up narrow stairs, and I got to laugh at the many fatties as they collapsed to the concrete. One big bloke with plenty of tatts and a mohawk cracked the shits when I laughed at him and said he was gunna bash me, so I just took three steps towards the top and told him to eat my arse. He found my words tough but fair, and wished me all the best for the future.
The top of the mountain had extraordinary view over the city. It’s such a strange place, with five million people (a relative village, by Chinese standards) stuffed in between mountains and lakes and parks. From there I could see another, similar mountain not far away, and it seemed deserted, so I scrambled back down and went over there. I never caught the name of this other mountain, but it was deserted and provided an epic view out over the countryside, and I wasted an hour or so just looking out in wonder.
Then I went hiked over to Seven Star Cave which is, of course, the setting for the final scene in the video game Shenmue II. With visions of floating swords dancing in my mind (that’s something that happens in the game – it’s not like I was on the drugs or anything), I made my way along ta stone bridge and into the park. Birds sang sweet songs from the treetops as I walked through glorious gardens… and then I FELL INTO A CAVE.
It was down a steep slope with heaps of mud and I actually slid right into it, cutting myself quite badly. It was cool once I got down there and was able to enjoy the cool quietness, but I had no way to get back out. And then Norm came along.
Why would an Asian be called Norm? Well, he was wearing a shirt with Norm from Cheers on it, and appeared to have an afro wig on so he would look like Norm. I guess he idolised Norm or something but who cares, he threw me a rope down and pulled me out. I thought he seemed like a pretty good bloke but he tried to kiss me when I got out, so I left. I’m more of a Cliff Clavin man, really.
I made it to the top of a big mountain with a little pagoda at the top and sat there for a good hour by myself, looking over rivers and lakes towards a scarlet sunset, just thinking about what an adventure it had been to get to that point. From sitting in my room at Green Point, playing Shenmue II on my Dreamcast 12 years earlier, to actually experiencing the place for myself. Guilin is a part of the world that simply needs to be seen and experienced to be believed – this mesh of nature and dense population shouldn’t exist, but it does. This place is magical and inspirational, and to visit is to feel like an alie on your own planet. I just sat and felt inspiration and peace flow through me as the sun sank and the world went dark.
And then I heard a panting, and looked around to see Norm with his dick in his hand and a lustful look on his face. He was hungry for love, and to him I was an all you can eat buffet. He had the only path off the mountain blocked, but I ran at him, jinked off my left foot and then stepped off my right, adding a fend that knocked his wig off into the bush. I ran away and didn’t look back, leaving Norm lying on his arse, his attempts to block me from getting through as effective as a Josh Dugan tackle.
After a stroll along Guilin’s famous Two Rivers and Four Lakes (guess what they were), marveling at them as they glowed by the power of neon lights, I ended the night by having a romantic dinner for one overlooking a river, and drank so much beer that I had to urinate by the side of a path. I was photographed by a Chinese man. He’d need to have a very, very good camera to be able to see anything.
This was originally written on May 4, 2012, which was the National Day of Dancing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.