1. A Geek In Korea got a really nice gift from a reader of his blog. Awesome, mate. What a cool idea, for a blogger's readers to show they like him by sending nice gifts! (hint hint)
2. A blog buddy sent me a super-de-duper cool link which, while it would be off topic on his blog, fits my blog just fine, unfocused goof that I am (he described my blog as quirky and random, not unfocused and goofy, because he's nice). This page gives you an updated world map showing sunlight and darkness across the globe, and even cooler, it shows cloud-cover as you go. Thanks, man. Keep'em coming!
3. If you're an internet nerd, and you know what rick-rolling is, this mash-up will confuse you: was it a rick-roll, or a cool mash-up? If you're not an internet nerd, and you don't know what rick-rolling is, then you'll be happy to know I was lucky enough to catch the funniest one-liner of our entire China trip on video. Click here to see the video. (And if you want to get meta...)
4. Guangxi Province, China.
Mountains like this. Everywhere.
Two famous lakes in Guilain; this one had these awesome pagodas. They were even prettier at night, but those pictures didn't quite turn out.Sunset, same park as that first photo.
This waterfall was in that same park, too where I took the first landscape picture. That was a seriously good walkabout day.
Shire Hobbiton Coffee: Matt is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so finding the best coffee in Guilain, in a place named after Frodo Baggins' home, was just too perfect.
Interior was nice, too: full of LOTR themed painting...the nice, "Mist over the Fields of Pellinor" kind, not the geeky "Orc With Armor vs. Elven Warrior Prince" kind.
Walking around downtown Guilain, we saw this cool statue of a totally badass painter: that's totally a paintbrush. We took this picture...And then later, when we came back through Guilain to catch our train to Kunming, we saw another group of tourists posing the exact same shot. I guess it's the Guilain equivalent to doing the cheesy hands-out Titanic pose on the prow of a boat.
And we ate the hottest Szechuan Hot Pot you'll ever find. The broth was about two parts broth and one part peppercorns and hot peppers. Ridiculous. Hotter than squid fried rice, hotter than jjuggumi, hotter than bbul dalk (fire chicken) in Korea. Silly.
Matt got a jet of boiling hot, hot oil right down his throat, and I ate a spoonful of peppercorns and spice oil, just for kicks. It was Christmas day.
This cute kid was at that same restaurant when we went there again, on our last day in Guilain.
One day, we took a bus down to a place called Longji. (Some nice, professional photos here and here.) The terraced rice fields there went right to the top of the mountain, and that day was mysterious and misty: one minute, fog would be hiding everything in view, and all we could see was a nice trail; then a wind would kick up, the fog would clear out, and we'd have scenes like these.
This picture was also taken up there.
It was just lovely, kind of tantalizing, the way you never knew when the mist would clear and stop your heart with beauty.
This was one of the best meals of our whole trip. We hiked up to a village in the mountain -- a five minute walk from the peak -- and the tour guide led us to this little restaurant...
The lady in the pink apron was burning bamboo chutes in a fire, and above the fire...They had rice and chicken stuffed inside the baboo chute, roasting over flames. She'd take the chutes and dip them in water regularly, to prevent the chutes from burning up.
When we ordered food, they came out like this...
and it was, pretty much, the best chicken I've had in my life. And that's saying something. Stewed in its own juices, with bits of berries and ginger packed inside to deepen the flavor, melt-in-your-mouth tender, all bathed in that bright, lightness that comes in bamboo cooking.
Warning: one sh-poop word in this one. (My sister follows this blog with my nephew and nieces, so I gotta give the heads up. Hi, Beckles. Love ya! Hi Matthias, Bethany and Carrie-ann!)
So that was Guilain and Longji. Yangshuo, Dali, Beijing and Vietnam coming soon.