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Rural Guilin 

Guilin, China by Bike

The city of Guilin is interesting, but isn't really the best place to find relaxation.

With a population of roughly 1.3 million people, and a construction/deconstruction rate of one out of every 1.7 buildings (my estimate, including the poetic license fudge factor), there aren't too many quiet spots to be found in the city.
Fortunately, our hotel rented bicycles.

It took us about 40 minutes to get out of noise, dust, and traffic of town. 

We rode through construction sites, housing estates, street markets, and red lights (oops) while we dodged buses, cars, and people who were trying to sell us things.

Bike riding looks pretty dangerous here, but it isn't. The key is just to stay with the flow. 
No one rides fast or tries to break away from a group of bikes. 

A Countryside Home

I think it's the same theory that fish use when they swim in schools. Everyone knows it's just a matter of time until someone dies, so you keep in the center of a cluster of bicyclists to minimize your own exposure.

Everyone denies that this is the reason, of course. 
Whatever. They can fend for themselves. 
I just made sure I had an eight layer human shield around me at all times.

Once we broke free from the clutches of the city, the riding was easy. Traffic was minimal, and the roads were paved and level.

Out here, it was like a new world.
Fields replaced sidewalks. 
Rice hats replaced sunglasses.
Not-so-clean air replaced not-at-all-clean air.
and instead of bikes, there were - well, bikes.

And water buffalo, the worlds most cuddly farm implement. Rice season was just starting, so there were lots of these guys trudging through the mud.

We then rode along and around the Peach Blossom River.

The people out here were surprised to see us peddling around without a guide, but they were friendly, I think. They smiled a lot anyway.

Even when I made their children cry. 
Which was fairly often. 
Apparently, Chinese children's stories must include a character who looks like me and eats infants.
Parents were always thrusting children at me. 
I would smile. The kids would scream and cry. 
The parents would laugh. And laugh. 
Oh well, it's more fun than naming rocks, I guess.

One of the coolest things we saw was a small noodle factory. I thought, at first, that someone was hanging out nine foot worms to dry. They weren't. Just noodles.

So, I highly recommend bike riding in China. It was great to get a look at how people live, outside the city center. 
Rustic might be the best word to describe the state of livable decay that most of the homes are in, but it sure beats the overcrowded city lifestyle.