U.S. President Bill Clinton, first lady Hillary Clinton, their daughter and Hillary's mother arrived in Guilin on July 2.
After the president spoke to a meeting about environmental protection at the foot of Camel Hill in Seven-Star Park they drove to the Mopanshan Dock where they were greeted by Li Zhaozhuo, Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and his wife. They were to embark on an excursion on the Lijiang River.
At the airport in Guilin
The president was very pleased to see the luxuriant mountain peaks along the banks, telling Chairman Li that he had seen many pictures of Guilin's landscape. The real thing was
more beautiful. First lady Hillary Clinton said that the place was very quiet. The houses along the river were beautiful too. The president told Chairman Li that the landscape of Guilin had left in him a deep impression.
Chairman Li presented the U.S. president a painting of Guilin's landscape by Guangxi famous painter Huang Gesheng.
The boat stopped at the fishing village of Xingping and the Clintons went ashore for a visit. The 500-year-old village had 1 39 households, each with an orchard of 100 pomelo trees. In 1921 Dr. Sun Yat-sen came here and wrote the characters: "Heavenly Water Village" inside a stone cave in the mountains outside the village. When the villagers heard that the U.S. president was coming they were overjoyed
and waited for him at the basketball court. When American reporters asked them whether
they had heard of President Clinton they said they had watched him on TV.
At the fishing village of Xingping
The Clintons were heartily greeted. They walked down the centuries-old slabstone road to the house of Zhao Jiashuai. This house of 274 square meters was built during the Ming
and Qing dynasties. Clinton was attracted by its painted
doors and windows carved into intricate designs. "Interesting!" he commented, and shook hands with all the
family members. Seeing a portrait of an old lady in the
central hall, Hillary Clinton asked who it was. Zhao Jiashuai said it was his grandmother who died at the age of 96. "The portrait looks good, so the clothes she wears," the first lady said.