A Travellerspoint blog

Night at the Museum

semi-overcast 13 °C

We have left the coast to visit one of China’s most popular tourist spots – the lakeside city of Guilin – and were a little surprised when the airport taxi dropped us at the doors of the museum instead of a hotel, but as we have yet to meet a Chinese cabbie who speaks English we just assumed he'd screwed up...
There was no point arguing, so we paid him off and decided that the museum staff would guide us in the right direction - and they did: straight past the Han dynasty terracotta horse (circa 200 AD)....
Up the stairs past the collection of 16th century Ming vases...
along the corridor filled with 17th century furnishings...
to a room on the second floor - our bedroom. Yes, dear blog reader, we are spending the night in a museum. Fortunately the bed is modern, although like most Chinese beds it's about as comfortable as a medieval torture rack. Historically the Chinese slept on a kang bed stove, the flat roof of a clay oven, or on bamboo matting on the ground, so they have no sympathy with us Western softies. However, the rock hard bed in the museum fits the surroundings, and the receptionists cum docents are so friendly and obliging that we won’t complain. The city of Guilin has been a “must see” city for centuries because it is nestled among a forest of photogenic karst mountain peaks and has picturesque bridges straddling the river Li and associated lakes…
But it also has hordes of tourists. It’s the end of November, damp and quite chilly in the mountains, and we cannot imagine what this place is like in the summer.
Gastronomically, Guilin is noted for its delicious dog dinners, (and we are not talking about hotdogs here). It is said that the Chinese will eat anything with four legs apart from the tables and chairs and after some of the things we’ve seen on the menus we’re beginning to concur. However, nothing could have prepared us for what we found in Xiamen before flying to Guilin. We were looking for a loo and we followed these signs up the escalator in a trendy shopping mall…
Although all of the toilets we’ve become acquainted with in China have been clean they’ve not all been Western, and James was a little disconcerted in Beijing when he went into a Gents and found three men squatting in doorless cubicles while unconcernedly chatting on their Iphones. So the idea of a modern toilet was particularly appealing – especially as we recently encountered some snazzy Japanese style ones with built-in bidets. But what a disappointment. While most restaurants in China don’t have toilets, we never expected to find a toilet that had a restaurant…
This is it! The ultimate in modern toilets with padded toilet seats for fifty…
Mood lighting provided by illuminated urinals…
And a menu full of “interesting” brown and yellow items…
Purely for the purposes of providing you with a comprehensive view of Chinese life we had the chocolate ice-cream sundae served in a mini squat toilet…
It looked disgusting – but we closed our eyes and ate it. So now we have not only had a night in a museum,we’ve also had tea in a toilet.

Posted by Hawkson 19:20 Archived in China

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this has to be one of the most unusual postings on your journey. Love the variety. Hope you have a comfortable bed soon.

by Sue Fitzwilson

You have us in stitches....please never stop travelling or blogging!! XX

by Maxine Stewart

Oh, my. even my appetite would have been tested at that restaurant. That squat toilet dish looked awfully real.
Contemplating squat toilets and quadriceps strength. Do they have pull-up bars beside them? How on earth do the old and feeble manage?
Nice urinals, though. Cater to all sizes I see.

by R and B

Very good indeed! We are so enjoying following your adventures. Dawn & David

by Dawn McLean

You two have an uncanny knack for ferreting out the most unusual of places....and throwing yourselves fearlessly into the adventure of it all. Love it!
hugs, Sharron

by Sharron

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