At the section of the Great Wall of China that runs through Yulin, tour guide Gao Jing says she tried to learn English in expectation of the increased number of overseas visitors the city planned to attract as part of its economic transformation.
But the international tourists haven't come to Yulin, once a coal, crude oil and natural gas boom town in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, and in their absence she has forgotten her English.
"Sure, there's lots of talk about developing our tourism industry but walking the talk is a different matter," said Gao, who's been a tour guide there for 10 years.
"There's an immediate return on investment if you invest in energy. But you may need to wait 10, or even 100 years, if you want to see a return on investment in tourism."
The experience of Yulin carries a lesson for other Chinese cities trying to re-tool their economies – establishing a vibrant services sector takes time, and in the meantime you cannot afford to abandon your industrial strengths.
As its economy matures, China is trying to steer away from the export and investment-led model that fuelled its dizzy rise towards a more sustainable base built on domestic consumption.
Yulin has been a poster child for that attempt to move up the value chain, singled out by the national media as an example of economic transformation worthy of study by other regions.
Aside from gushing news articles about Yulin's success in diversifying its economy away from natural resources, the provincial government is notable for releasing a 27-step plan in 2013 about how this economic transformation should occur.
But since then things have not gone precisely to plan.
A slowing economy has dragged down industries such as tourism and renewable energy, handpicked by the provincial government as new drivers of Yulin's economy.
"At the peak of the coal boom we were already thinking about how to transform our economy, move it up the value chain, but it hasn't been the success we'd hoped it would be," said Zhang Changqing, Yulin investment bureau's party secretary.
The goal was for Yulin to shift into services, move away from an economy dominated by state-owned enterprises (SOE) towards one with private businesses at its core, and produce higher value coal, oil and natural gas.
Services made up just over 30% of Yulin's economy in 2015, and the government has set an ambitious target of raising that to nearly 40% by 2020.
With a population of 3.4 million, Yulin is a smaller city by Chinese standards, and its fluctuating fortunes highlight the challenges facing similar lower-tier centres.
Yulin's published GDP growth rate plummeted to 4.3% in 2015, from a high of 23% in 2008, although, as at the national level, there are some who doubt that official figures reflect the true state of the real economy.
"It's meaningless to look at the official statistics as an indicator of growth," a government official at the local bureau of commerce told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press.
A retired official from a state-owned enterprise (SOE) was also sceptical about GDP data.
"I look at tax revenue instead, it's been dropping rapidly these past few years," he said. "The problem is there aren't enough people here for us to rely on the services industry to spur economic growth."
In the first half of 2016, Yulin's total fiscal revenue dropped 21.2% from the previous year, according to official statistics, and investment in services plummeted 36.6% in 2015.