On our third day in Hong Kong, we got up early, checked out, and took a morning train North towards China proper. We went through customs in Shenzhen, and took an overpriced taxi to the airport, although the lack of communication meant we were very worried that we might be headed in the wrong direction. Thankfully we got to the airport with time to spare, and took a short flight from Shenzhen to Guilin. We were met at the airport by a taxi driver who took us to our destination, Yangshuo.

We coincidentally arrived in the tourist town of Yangshuo right in the middle of Golden Week, one of the biggest holidays in the Chinese calendar. This meant that the population of the town and the accompanying traffic was triple what the town can actually accommodate. We got our first real taste of Chinese traffic conditions and road regulations during our taxi ride from Guilin to Yangshuo. In China, people drive on the right side of the road. Usually. Overtaking is mandatory, and it is more important to beep your horn than to check for oncoming traffic. The roads seem chaotic and deadly but no-one seems to care about safety to any great degree.

The landscape in the Yangshuo area is incredible. Massive limestone peaks jump out of the otherwise flat terrain in incredible numbers. The peaks are usually extremely steep and often have overhangs and strange shapes. The countryside is extremely green as the flat terrain is basically a giant flood plain for the Li river, which has cut into the limestone and created the incredible mountains. Most of the land has been intricately cut into rice paddies with thin raised walkways in between them. The amount of water around looks very strange to us coming from Australia.

We arrived at Owen Language College where we will be living and teaching for the next three months. The school is very small with student numbers varying from 10 to 25. The students were very interested to meet us and were very friendly, as were the other foreign teachers. There are a couple of Aussies here, as well as a Brit and an Irishman. We enjoyed our first free meal in the school's canteen before heading out with the other teachers and several students into town for a drink.

Here are some of the views from the balcony in our building (imagine these peaks surrounding you in every direction and you get an idea of what the Yangshuo landscape is like).

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