exactly 3 years ago to the day i was in guilin, the former capital (until 1914) of guangxi province. guilin is famous for its karst formations, those surreal limestone peaks dotting the local landscape. i found the place to be interesting but not the amazing natural beauty landmark that other people had hyped it up to be. maybe the timing of my visit had something to do with it: right at the start of the chinese national day celebration, so suddenly all the hotels were 2-3x more expensive as vacationing chinese started crowding into this tourist destination. i arrived not knowing where to stay and faced with the real possibility that all hotels were already booked due to the holiday. i ended up taking the last available room at the guilin backstreet international youth hostel, only because i followed a gay spanish couple when i left sanjiang the day before (it's easy making foreign friends when often times i can offer up my free chinese translation services). one of the walls was horribly water-stained (which the hostel worker apologized in advance) but the bathroom was a work of awesome tilemanship.
there's a bit of a story of how i got that shot of the city up above. parks abound in guilin, usually surrounding particularly notable karst formations. i went to diecai shan (folded brocade mountains), which has 4 different peaks to climb. i don't remember which peak i was on (the one that doesn't have a pavilion), but since i was the only one there, i decided to hop over the metal guard rail in order to get a better viewing angle. in hindsight it was probably a little dangerous (i think it was also particularly windy that day).
it was also my last day in guilin, as i made my way to nearby yangshuo (i'd return to guilin a few days later, to take a scheduled short plane ride to shenzhen so i could cross into hong kong).