11 Guilin and the end of our search in Guizhou

By Kartika Putra

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Poor communication. Poor tourism. Wanting to get to Guilin. Advised to take a bus to a city 3 hours away so we could take an express train to Guilin. When we arrived the trains were booked for 4 days. Then had to take a bus for 4 hours stay overnight and start again the next day.

Finally arrive in Guilin in northern Guangxi, an area famous for its karst topography; a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. A city of canals and rivers and bridges and trees. The city’s ability to combine ancient architecture and natural beauty was captivating.

Someone in Cambodia told me that mountains close to water represent a balance: softness and strength, letting go and holding on. This is where we found ourselves: Yangshuo

Where the Li and Yulong Rivers meet, surrounded by karst peaks. Bamboo rafts drift down river, poled by Chinese men. Further down river where the tourists dry up, bamboo rafts are dropped into the water off the back of a truck. Men dance out to the middle of the river across rafts and direct traffic so there is a parking lot of bamboo at the river side.

Bicycle rides alongside the river, between sugarloaf shaped mountains. Pregnant women lying on their backs with their knees up. It is characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes, dolines, and caves that make over-priced tourist attractions into mud caves and hot springs which attract stampedes of Chinese tourists.

This was the end to our search for textiles in Guizhou, the sad realisation that we faced occurred seemingly tragically by the river banks of  Yangshuo. A day where we didn’t think about the crafts that we had encountered that were nearly dying. A day to renew hope that the next province would bring more opportunities and hopefully the textiles to use for our next collection.








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