To start with, I want to say, Wendy is an outstanding Tour Guide and when I go back to the Guilin and Longsheng area, I will do my best to get her to be my guide again. I am a 76 year-old widower and Wendy took excellent care of me and made my visit to the Yangshuo, Guilin and Longsheng areas a fantastic experience. I was not interested in one of those canned tours and Wendy convinced me that I made the right choice by going with her as my freelance Tour Guide. Wendy has started her own tour company and is very talented and professional. Not only did she make my visit most enjoyable and memorable, but she also made me want to return to China. Wendy’s English is excellent and during the months before I went to China, she went to Beijing to learn Spanish so she can expand her client base. She is one very smart and talented young lady.
As we planned my visit to Guilin area, I became very impressed with Wendy. While there were certain places I had researched and wanted to see, Wendy suggested other places and activities I might want to consider, several of which were not in any tourist information I found. There was no pressure, only suggestions. I had told Wendy that I was an amateur photographer and wanted to take some nice pictures of the karsts peaks along the Li River and the terraced rice fields in the Longsheng area. Based on that, Wendy suggested a Li River Cruise on a Motorized Bamboo Raft, a Yulong River Cruise on a poled Bamboo Raft, and a hike up to and overnight stay at Tiantouzhai Village. She also suggested that she arrange for me to photograph some Yao Women with their long hair while we were in Tiantouzhai Village. The bamboo raft trips sounded much more appealing to me than a cruise down the Li River on a big ship with 100 other tourists. I agreed all those suggestions and they were all great experiences. On the poled bamboo raft down the Yulong River, we went over some very small waterfalls on the bamboo raft, which were great fun. Although I am not an accomplished photographer, I came home with some really great photographs.
It was rainy when we hiked up to Tiantouzhai Village and back down the next day. Wendy was very concerned that I not over do it physically or slip and fall. While I would like to believe I can still do everything I did 40 years ago and kidded her about all her attention, I really did appreciate her concern for my safety and well being.
I had also told Wendy that I was looking for some educational experiences too, not that the whole trip wasn’t educational. In addition to her explaining about their history and culture, Wendy arranged for me to receive a painting lesson, using traditional Chinese painting techniques; visit a Tea Plantation and get a better understand their processes; see how traditional folded Chinese fans are made; and learn how a Yao meal is prepared. The latter was not a typical cooking class for tourist, but with a real Yao family, who then invited me to have dinner with them. It was a large family and some spoke some English and Wendy translated for the rest. It was fun and a wonderful experience.
Wendy is an excellent planner, as well as being thorough, friendly, prompt and protective of her guests. She not only went out of her way to support my every need, but also, more often than not, she anticipated my needs. I told Wendy about how I had tried to experience many different things in China and China’s transportation was one of those. I had flown on their planes, taken a high-speed train and a sleeper train, a bus and a sleeper bus, taxis, subways, gondolas and a chair lift, and even wheeled toboggans. I also told her about how wild I though the traffic was in Beijing and that I would have liked to ride on one of those electric motor bikes like the seemingly crazy people whiz around on and still manage not to get run over. Wendy was up to the challenge and went the extra mile. She took me on a night ride on her electric motor bike to see the lakes in Guilin. I got the feeling she was not totally comfortable with it, but she gave me her best effort. She drove very carefully and, while she may have been a little nervous, I felt very safe.
Wendy was also very knowledgeable about every place we went and the people. I forgot to mention that in our planning, I did not limit myself to questions just about the places we might visit. I also asked Wendy many question about China and the Chinese culture. Wendy was always willing to answer my questions, even though I feel sure she must have gotten a chuckle out of some of them. She does have a good sense of humor.
Now that I am home and looking back on my trip, I don't believe I could have found a better Tour Guide than Wendy to see the Guilin area. She is truly an expert and very professional. I told Wendy that she should not call her business Wendy Wei Tours, but Wendy Wei Adventures. It was an adventure for me and will always be one of my fondest memories and made me want to return. When I do, I will seek out Wendy and take another adventure with her.
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