Saturday, July 20, 2013
Guilin is beautiful in the summer. Lazy evenings are spent on the Lijiang river, eating sweet mangosteens from the fruit peddlers cart, and watching the world turn slowly. Pretty girls in long, flowing skirts wear wreaths of chrysanthemum in their hair and dip their toes in the water, laughing and waving at lean, muscled youths fishing in the hazy twilight, dangling their lines and taking long drags from their cigarettes. Everything smells like sweet tobacco smoke, filling your lungs with a warm, familiar sleepiness.
Far in the distance, the mountains rise up from the horizon, like ghostly spirits, turned into haunting shadows against the red-purple sky. China is hot, lush, green, and humid enough to make you miss the bone-aching cold of the Northeastern forest. It's bright enough to make you miss the stars and far enough that the distance is almost unbearable. But tonight, underneath the full moon, with the taste of rice wine still sweet on your lips, in the country where the sun rises, you might finally be home.