This is actually from a small town about 1 and a half hours by bus, south of Guilin, called Yangshao. The town itself is very pretty - by night at least, I haven't seen it in daylight yet - but very touristy and I'm staying in a school about a 20 minute walk away. The school is vast - it's like a small housing estate of flats, not houses. The pupils all board and are middle and secondary school age. The scenery is amazing - we are surrounded by fantastically shaped green, rocky limestone karst hills and the views are just stunning.
I am in a room on my own which is totally devoid of any creature comforts - no curtains, very sparsely furnished, a mattress like a board and bars on the windows (probably the nearest to a prison cell that, hopefully, I'll ever get!). Added to which I seem to have caught a cold so am feeling pretty sorry for myself. Bianca (my German fellow volunteer) and I arrived in Guilin on Saturday, where we spent the night then yesterday we got the bus to Guilin and I finally got my bag unpacked. I'm not sure for how long, however; it would seem that they have too many voilunteers at this school and one of us (there are 3 - William, a nice lad of 19 turned up last night) might have to go to another school somewhere else, which none of us are very keen on.
We spent the day today learning Chinese pronounciation (which is impossible!) and a few useful phrases. Then we spent the afternoon learning about Chinese culture, geography and important statistics. We eat at the school and no one is going to get fat on what they give us! It mainly consists of very modest portions of rice and vegetables with the merest suggestion of meat or similar and doesn't vary throughout the day. It's edible but pretty uninteresting and has to be carefully scanned for the dreaded tofu! The weather is wet, warm, muggy and overcast.
Have to stop now - no more time. I'll write more tomorrow.