Approximately twenty four hours after I left London, I am at the first destination in China! Tiangang and Jin Xiu met me in the Beijing airport and we transfered to a (very) late internal flight to Guilin in Guangxi Province. Everywhere is full of people, it is the end of spring festival and Chinese New Year, a time when people go to see their families and relatives in far-flung parts of China – everyone is on the move and everywhere is brightly decorated in red and gold.
Guangxi Botanical Garden
Guilin used to be the capital of the province, but as it is in the NW corner, the provincial seat was moved to Nanning, which occupies a more central position. Flying into Guilin the most extraordinary landscape unrolled beneath us – sharp, pointed bare rock mountains interspersed with paddy rice fields; all very green, even though it is what feels incredibly cold (only about 12 degrees C). It got dark shortly after we arrived, so we went to the Botanical Institute where we have been given rooms within the grounds – tomorrow it is the herbarium and a bit of planning.