*continued from Going Guilin, Day 1*
After one whole day of walking in Yangshuo, we were finally back to Guilin city. We woke up rather early (biological clock indicates that we should get up in between 8.30am – 9.00am… duh) and after hit the shower, we took a short walk around our hostel area. The weather was still stuffy, warm and humid, just like yesterday and the haze doesn’t seem to be going away either.
*Porky pau from QuYuan Baozi, Guilin Rice Vermicelli, honeydew ice cream, Dan Chao Fan, red bean muffin*
We walked pass by a small shop named QuYuan Baozi selling pau and decided to grab one (0.60 Yuan ~ RM0.30! Very cheap!). The pau skin was a little chewy but the pork filling was yummy; very juicy and flavourful. Most of the shops were still closed that time except for some eateries. We then remembered that Lonely Planet strongly recommends Guilin Rice Vermicelli, a local breakfast staple food which can be found in any corner of the city. Saw another small shop with people slurping their noodles, hence we popped in and ordered the rice vermicelli. Blanched thick rice vermicelli, topped with peanuts, scallions, thinly sliced roast pork and some stock (to keep the noodle moist). There were some other condiments where you can choose to add to your noodle such as chopped preserved vegetable, chopped long beans and so on but we just went for the basic; hot chilli flakes. It looked rather plain at first sight but very delicious! The vermicelli was springy, it’s such a delight to bite on.
*Senior citizens learning Latin and Tango dances at the park by the river*
Merely a kilometre walk from our hostel is the Wang Cheng, a 14th century Ming prince’s mansion (now home to Guangxi Normal University). Entrance fee is 15 Yuan and the mansion houses the famous Solitary Beauty Peak, a 152 metres high pinnacle which offers a fine view of the city. When you enter, the ladies at the gate will usher you to one of the guide, who will explain the history of the mansion as you walk around the area.
*Views inside Wang Cheng Mansion, examination area, taking the Chinese examination*
The interesting part of the mansion would be the examination area. Ancient Chinese government chose their civil servants and officers through a strict and tough examination process, where thousands of Chinese who wanted to work with the government would come from all over the region to sit for the exams. The exam takes 3 days and the candidates would have to sit in a cramped, small place. Whoever passed the exam with flying colours will instantly be promoted as a government officer. We had the chance to actually sit in the “examination cubicle” (one cubicle can actually fits two medium sized adults) and “took” the exam (just write your name on the “examination paper” will do!).
*View above Solitary Beauty Peak, the steep stairs, Spicy Dan Chao Fan*
When we left the mansion, it was already pretty late. We decided to take a short boat cruise along Li River, where one can see the Elephant Trunk Hill, a famous landmark and tourist attraction.
*to be continued*