Monday, June 25, 2012

Scenic Guilin

I am currently house sitting at my Dad's place while he and Nancy are traveling in China. The following is from his recent email. -Roger Frank

The Guilin metropolitan area is over 4.5 million in population. It seems that every Chinese city has 5 to 8 million people. We are staying in a suburb about 40 minutes by taxi from the heart of downtown. It was raining when we arrived yesterday. It's the monsoon season with high humidity.  It has the feel of the current weather in Florida.

The area is surrounded by mountains with two major rivers flowing through it. The images in this Wikipedia page are representative of what we have seen today. Guilin, as every sizable city in this country, has a history dating back centuries. But I was surprised that it got its name in 1940.

I'm sure people who live in mountainous regions anywhere in the world would laugh to hear people call these foot hill size land forms mountains. But this city has a mountainous feel to it.

I've noticed that the drivers of motor scooters, battery bikes and motorcycles do wear helmets here. Well perhaps 5 to 10 percent do. Compare that to the other cities we've been, where helmet usage is almost zero. Why the difference here? My guess is it's due to the heavy rain fall, not because they are more safety conscious.

Talking about safety conscious, vehicle seat belt usage approaches zero percent. Well, maybe not that low, but I've been told seat belts are just not used in China. Maybe it's because most drivers are first generation and that car usage is relatively new to many people. There was quite a discussion in Chinese when I asked that our driver provide seat belts. The next morning all the seat belts were in place. Our driver actually belted me in as if to show me how it was done. That act brought an internal smile. But I did say thank you. I can just imagine what a laugh he and his buddies had chatting about this silly American wanting seat belts.

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