eBay, Guilin, Uncategorized GUILIN – ‘TOTEM TRAIL’ WILD PEOPLE? RIGHT… 2 December 2009

I can unequivocally say that the most HILARIOUS yet SKIN-CRAWLING part of the whole trip was when we visited the Totem Trail. It’s meant to be a step back in time – showcasing the culture in Guilin 12,000 to 7,000 years ago. That’s all well and good… except it was single-handedly the most fake experience I have ever witnessed. Wood huts built around the place, fake (and badly painted) totem (?!?!) poles, and even a sign saying the “aborigines” lived here. Say WHAT?!?! I guess there are Chinese Aborigines somewhere in history that I’m not aware of 😉

But funniest of all? Their clothing. I assume they were trying to show they were ~authentic~ and wearing animal skins, but instead, they wore this fake velvet fur fabric that they cut a zigzag into the hems. Straight out of The Flintstones. The fabric was easy to spot as fake a mile off, and the way they were wearing it was hilarious!!! And instead of tribal face-painting, they had heart-shapes and stars and even a heart with an arrow through it painted on their faces. A total WTF moment if I ever saw one.

When we entered, they grabbed each person and painted this really nasty-looking paint (lumpy and weird colour/consistency) on the side of their cheek. I guess to try and get everyone in the spirit? However, they weren’t being nice about it since they were grabbing and/or aggressively sticking out the brush to paint everyone’s faces, so a bunch of us decided that enough was enough, and we would not have germ-laden paint on our faces. So I said “no” when I stepped in. The guy grunted angrily and tried to PUSH/SHOVE me to the ground!!! I nearly fell, and was so shocked I didn’t have time to turn around and punch him in the face.

They had NO respect for personal space, nor knew how to behave to people. They were rude, intrusive, and kept grabbing at us. You know when an aggressive guy wants to pick a fight, and thrusts his face into yours? They kept doing that. I understand that in China, the concept of personal space and politeness is different. But this was WAY different from even what you would experience in Shanghai. T

hen, they grabbed our hands so we were all in a long line, and proceeded to drag us to dance around the “totems”. I had the guy’s sweaty, clammy hand gripping mine.. then he looked back at me, looked me up and down whilst licking his lips.. then suddenly grabbed me around the waist and humped me. You’d think I was telling a joke, but nope, he proceeded to hump the side of my leg before I gave a horrified squawk and kicked him.

Oh, but the best (or is it worst?) was yet to come. After our totem-dancing (ROFL) was over, they proceeded to announce that we had to give a donation. “For the children”, you see. Apparently. So they came up to everyone, hands out, demanding money. People were so surprised and caught off-guard that some actually gave cash. They tried to come to me but I stared him down so he gave up. And someone else was saying to the others NOT to give a cent, since it was extortion as we’d already paid a high entry fee, and we weren’t told we would be forced to give money again. Plus, I don’t believe it was for charity. Do you?

I would say it was an interesting experience at how bad an attraction can be. It was just like “A Disneyland theme park. Except not fun”, as someone said. Haha, so true! It was so all-out fake that it was like they were trying to take the piss, but actually they were genuinely trying to pass it off as real. That was kind of funny I suppose 🙂

It actually would’ve been fine, and a nice experience to laugh about, if they trained the staff (sorry, I mean “wild men”) to behave properly. But the way they harassed (and humped) us, and the way they blatently extorted money, made it a bit of a terrifying experience. I would never go back.


Walking in.. with our very shrill-voiced guide

A random bear. I couldn’t believe my eyes!! The man got on its back
and rode it like a horse… 🙁

They birds were tied so tightly to the stands 🙁

“wild men” in “animal skins” (ie. fake fur velvet fabric)

It’s a women-are-dominant society, apparently, so women go on the higher bridge,
men on the lower bridge. LOL!

An old lady sitting in her hut.. so we can see what “wild” living is like

Totems. Because, you know, totems are all the rage in China.. The “Chinese
Aborigines” (?!) use them, didn’t you know?!

And after grabbing our hands and forcing us to dance around the totems,
they demanded money. “For the children”, of course.

Winding round and round cheap tables with cheap trinkets, in the hope you’re
compelled to buy something as you walk out of the “wild men” park.

Well, at least the view was terrific!


36 Comments

  • funkybrewsta posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Man, listen. There would have been some fighting going on if dude came up to me trying to paint my face all forcefully. I like my personal space bubble and I get angry and violent whenever somebody forcefully breaks it lol Wild man or not, we ain’t having that.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

      i’m with you! so angry,, grr

      Reply
  • cenedrah posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Omg what a horrible experience. Gosh, you’d think at a tourist place, they’d have better training…especially since it’s giving China, the country itself, a bad name. At least you survived it…what can’t kill you makes you stronger!
    But at least you have other fab memories of Guilin 🙂

    Yes there are aborignes in China, ie natives. And they still exist, most live live up in the mountains and other areas since the Han (the majority of Chinese are Han; basically what you are ha) migrated southwards and took over the land. Most died out but there are still native minority groups that exist, eg. the Dai.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

      It was so strange.. but we all did have a laugh about it afterwards. ANd it was better we were in a big group, would have been HORRID if it was just CFhris and I!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    you should have brought the big guy ! – lol

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:03 am

      haha that’s exactly what we needed!

      Reply
  • funkybrewsta posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Man, listen. There would have been some fighting going on if dude came up to me trying to paint my face all forcefully. I like my personal space bubble and I get angry and violent whenever somebody forcefully breaks it lol Wild man or not, we ain’t having that.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

      i’m with you! so angry,, grr

      Reply
  • cenedrah posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Omg what a horrible experience. Gosh, you’d think at a tourist place, they’d have better training…especially since it’s giving China, the country itself, a bad name. At least you survived it…what can’t kill you makes you stronger!
    But at least you have other fab memories of Guilin 🙂

    Yes there are aborignes in China, ie natives. And they still exist, most live live up in the mountains and other areas since the Han (the majority of Chinese are Han; basically what you are ha) migrated southwards and took over the land. Most died out but there are still native minority groups that exist, eg. the Dai.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 2, 2009 at 1:58 pm

      It was so strange.. but we all did have a laugh about it afterwards. ANd it was better we were in a big group, would have been HORRID if it was just CFhris and I!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 3, 2009 at 1:08 am

    So with you on being very annoyed with the whole incident you experienced. If it were me, I would take my backpack & whack that chap very hard! But that chap may or may not be a genuine aborigine. He or they could also be Han Chinese masquerading as aborigines to fleece tourists. Knowing how the Han Chinese have a bad track record of treating their aborigines from Tibetans to Xinjiang natives, they would exploit every monetary incentive when they see opportunities arise.

    The trouble with the Communist Chinese is that they lack morals. If you read Chinese history, you would realize that the Cultural Revolution & the Great Leap Forward under Chairman Mao destroyed whatever traditional values existed in the past centuries within a few short decades! That is really sad & tragic for a long civilization.

    But the good part is that the Overseas Chinese who migrated before the outbreak of the 2nd World War to countries like HK, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia were never tainted by Communist values & therefore still retain long held traditions, etiquette & customs passed down from the centuries and at least there is proper gauge to judge Chinese traditional values & how one should behave.

    Having said that, coming from Singapore, we see lots of these new migrant workers & professionals from China, whose behaviour always draw much flake among the local Singaporean Chinese. But you get the same reaction from Malaysians, HKers & Taiwanese in their own countries. So this proves that there is indeed a consensus that the Communist Chinese need to work much harder to improve on their social behaviour which they somehow think is still the universally adopted etiquette or behaviour among fellow human beings around the world.

    Not sure how the Communist Chinese government can work miracles on them though. Just my 2 cents thoughts on these folks as I have worked with some of them & visited China on working trips.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:05 am

      It really was so disappointing that they didn’t have a clue about how to behave socially. Or maybe they did, but still wanted to act that way. I can only imagine if a group of foreign tourists were there.. how appalled they’d be!

      The local govt really should step in and bring a quick stop to that kind of behaviour.. I have no idea how they can get away with it for so long 🙁 These ‘performers’ were NOTHING like the random person you see in Shanghai – and I thought even those are kinda rude sometimes!

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on December 3, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Wow, that sounds pretty awful

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:06 am

      Yeah.. woudln’t exactly say it was the highlight of our trip

      Reply
  • rubytues posted on December 3, 2009 at 3:16 am

    There are so many of these tourist traps around the world and they rarely get discussed. As you said, many are so surprised or shocked they pony up money. It’s very powerful when you can tell us about your experience and show photos of it too so we can experience it with you. Considering how many places you go to it’s surprising you haven’t run into this more, but I am still sorry it happened.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:07 am

      I was actually more surprised our local tour guide took us there.. surely he knew the ‘antics’ these guys got up to?! geesh…

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    you should have brought the big guy ! – lol

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:03 am

      haha that’s exactly what we needed!

      Reply
  • irene82 posted on December 3, 2009 at 6:07 am

    OMG! THAT’S SO TERRIBLE!!!! What did the tour leaders do????

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm

      I dunno… maybe tehy’re used to it so they don’t mind?

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 3, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Honestly? I’ve heard of tour guides who get paid to bring people to these traps 🙁

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

      Geesh I really hope that didn’t happen with ours or I’d feel even worse!

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 3, 2009 at 1:08 am

    So with you on being very annoyed with the whole incident you experienced. If it were me, I would take my backpack & whack that chap very hard! But that chap may or may not be a genuine aborigine. He or they could also be Han Chinese masquerading as aborigines to fleece tourists. Knowing how the Han Chinese have a bad track record of treating their aborigines from Tibetans to Xinjiang natives, they would exploit every monetary incentive when they see opportunities arise.

    The trouble with the Communist Chinese is that they lack morals. If you read Chinese history, you would realize that the Cultural Revolution & the Great Leap Forward under Chairman Mao destroyed whatever traditional values existed in the past centuries within a few short decades! That is really sad & tragic for a long civilization.

    But the good part is that the Overseas Chinese who migrated before the outbreak of the 2nd World War to countries like HK, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia were never tainted by Communist values & therefore still retain long held traditions, etiquette & customs passed down from the centuries and at least there is proper gauge to judge Chinese traditional values & how one should behave.

    Having said that, coming from Singapore, we see lots of these new migrant workers & professionals from China, whose behaviour always draw much flake among the local Singaporean Chinese. But you get the same reaction from Malaysians, HKers & Taiwanese in their own countries. So this proves that there is indeed a consensus that the Communist Chinese need to work much harder to improve on their social behaviour which they somehow think is still the universally adopted etiquette or behaviour among fellow human beings around the world.

    Not sure how the Communist Chinese government can work miracles on them though. Just my 2 cents thoughts on these folks as I have worked with some of them & visited China on working trips.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:05 am

      It really was so disappointing that they didn’t have a clue about how to behave socially. Or maybe they did, but still wanted to act that way. I can only imagine if a group of foreign tourists were there.. how appalled they’d be!

      The local govt really should step in and bring a quick stop to that kind of behaviour.. I have no idea how they can get away with it for so long 🙁 These ‘performers’ were NOTHING like the random person you see in Shanghai – and I thought even those are kinda rude sometimes!

      Reply
  • starbucksweetie posted on December 3, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Wow, that sounds pretty awful

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:06 am

      Yeah.. woudln’t exactly say it was the highlight of our trip

      Reply
  • rubytues posted on December 3, 2009 at 3:16 am

    There are so many of these tourist traps around the world and they rarely get discussed. As you said, many are so surprised or shocked they pony up money. It’s very powerful when you can tell us about your experience and show photos of it too so we can experience it with you. Considering how many places you go to it’s surprising you haven’t run into this more, but I am still sorry it happened.

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 4:07 am

      I was actually more surprised our local tour guide took us there.. surely he knew the ‘antics’ these guys got up to?! geesh…

      Reply
  • irene82 posted on December 3, 2009 at 6:07 am

    OMG! THAT’S SO TERRIBLE!!!! What did the tour leaders do????

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm

      I dunno… maybe tehy’re used to it so they don’t mind?

      Reply
  • Anonymous posted on December 3, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Honestly? I’ve heard of tour guides who get paid to bring people to these traps 🙁

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

      Geesh I really hope that didn’t happen with ours or I’d feel even worse!

      Reply
  • berlinlee posted on December 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Goodness!! that was rude!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

      I know.. I wish they’d realise their behaviour was socially unacceptable and stop it :X

      Reply
  • berlinlee posted on December 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Goodness!! that was rude!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on December 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

      I know.. I wish they’d realise their behaviour was socially unacceptable and stop it :X

      Reply

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