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Scenic town becomes home for foreigners

By Zhou Zhou and Qin Guanghua (Xinhua)

08:29, November 01, 2012

GUILIN, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- Although they are far from their hometowns, several foreigners living in southern Chinese city of Guilin have found themselves a new home in the quaint tourist town of Yangshuo.

Ian Hamilton, a 43-year-old South African who came to live in China 10 years ago, discovered a 100-year-old courtyard home in the town in 2009 during a visit. He decided to rent the house and renovate it, much to the surprise of local residents, many of whom have opted to move into modern concrete homes.

"It looked rather dilapidated at that time, but it was so charming," Hamilton said. "I was strongly urged to renovate it. Otherwise I was afraid I would not see it again."

Hamilton's family was puzzled as to why he would invest his own savings in restoring a dilapidated old house in a remote region of China. However, Hamilton was determined to save the home, as he had decided that it might be a good place to live.

Hamilton fixed the walls and cornices, restoring the building's original design. He scrounged for furniture and materials in Yangshuo as he restored the home.

"Yangshuo is culture-loaded, and you can easily discover treasures here," he said.

Hamilton was surprised to discover ceramic tiles on the worn walls. He has studied them and read numerous books on their origin.

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