A Travellerspoint blog

The Ebony Museum in Suji Town

We visit the Ebony Museum outside Leshan with our friends from Emei City

Our friends from Emei City, who own a Chinese pharmacy, invited us to go to their hometown of Suji. It is a small town on the way to Leshan. Seems they grew up together in this small town and they wanted us to see their old home places. They also said we would visit the Ebony Wood Museum in Suji as well.

We have passed the Ebony Wood Museum every time we went to Leshan and always wondered what it was. It is a beautiful structure designed in the Tang style. At least, that is what I thought it looked like. Our American friends also have made comments about the site but no one had visited it. No one, that is, until now.

We took a bus to Emei City and walked to our friends' pharmacy where they were waiting for us. After visiting for about twenty minutes we headed out to Suji. Suji is only about twenty minutes or so from Emei so we were there very quickly. The first place we went was to visit the family in Suji.

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Sunee and Xiao Ling waiting for us to be on the way

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Xiao Ling and her husband's family in Suji, still at the family home

After a relaxing visit with "the family," we visited the Ebony Museum. The following are the "illegal photos" I took inside the museum. Actually there were several guards inside and no one seemed to care about the picture taking. The outside looks like Tang Dynasty, don't you think?

The Ebony Wood Museum

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This looks like Tang Dynasty style to me. This is what we saw many times.

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This is the map of the tourist site

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Outside area of the site

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Nice garden and landscaping

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Not real but it looked good

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I love these Chinese doorways or are they portals?

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The construction is absolutely beautiful with much attention to detail

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After paying for your ticket, this is what one sees first - a giant Ebony peacock thing

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Sunee and Xiao Ling posing in front of one of the many professional looking displays

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No photos!!!! Say what?

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Just for good luck. Believe this one is called a rhinosaurus

Some of the displays inside the museum

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Details of the Ebony wood carvings inside the museum

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A small buddha temple inside the compound had this carved piece. Stunning!

A Million Or More Mao Buttons Museum

After spending about an hour inside the Ebony Wood Museum with a charming guide, we visited the Mao Button Museum. Here were hundreds of pictures made out of Mao buttons plus a good collection of Mao Communist Kitsch, as I call it. We are interested in finding some of this stuff as we travel around China.

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A huge mural made up of nothing but Mao Buttons of all sizes

Now we can say we visited that "strange" Ebony wood museum on the way to Leshan. It is professional run and very impressive in the ebony carvings it has. I am not sure how much the entrance fee was as our friends paid for it. I have heard from some of my friends that it is 80 Yuan. If so, that is a little expensive but the place is set up as a quality tourist site and the pieces are beautiful. Although there were signs all over the place that stated NO PHOTO, none of the guards or the guides seemed to mind me taking the pictures.

All in a day's adventure.

Posted by inchinahil 17:17 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Final Week of Classes

Southwest Jiaotong University - Emei Branch just finished the final week

Here are my students this past semester at Southwest Jiaotong University - Emei Branch.

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Freshman class #1 of Extensive Reading

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Freshman class #2 of Extensive Reading

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Freshman class #3 of Extensive Reading

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Sophomore class #1 of Newspaper and Journal Reading

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Sophomore class #2 of Newspaper and Journal Reading

Posted by inchinahil 07:06 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (0)

American Independence Day Celebration 2008

The available Americans in Emei City celebrate the holiday

It was the Fourth of July and time to celebrate for us Americans. John had to go to Chengdu to get a physical for his new job in Guiyang so the rest of us Americans got together for an Independence day celebration at a local restaurant. We took some Chinese friends with us and mad some more friends. Everyone celebrated (A LOT).

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Mr. Bogdan meeting and greeting the guests

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The selected restaurant

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During the dinner the celebrations begin, Chinese style

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Celebrating with everyone in the restaurant

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Celebrations continue

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I celebrate with tea as I do not drink alcohol

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We celebrated with everyone in the restaurant many times over

Posted by inchinahil 00:25 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (0)

Guiyang Epilogue

Meeting once more with our Guiyang students for an Emei Mountain dining experience

I called Grace and set up a time for all of us Earthquake Runners to meet and discuss our fond memories of our Guiyang Adventure. Craig, Grace and Katherine met Sunee, John and I by the Bank of China and we took a van to a local restaurant not far from the school for Chinese Medicine.

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Where shall we go to eat dinner?

We had some different dishes and had a great time visiting about our experiences and what the future holds. After dinner we all walked back to Southwest Jiaotong University campus.

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John elaborates on his new found job in Guiyang

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Some local Emei dishes

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Grace really loves this dish

Posted by inchinahil 00:10 Archived in China Tagged events Comments (0)

The Yunnan Misadventure

Seventh trip to Kunming, first to Xishuangbanna. Be warned! Never take a tour out of Kunming. We are batting .000 with Chinese tours in Yunnan Province. Go on your own!

Day Ten - Saturday, June 7. Flight to Kunming, Around Kunming

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We were scheduled to leave Guiyang and go to Kunming on China Air Flight CA1751 leaving at around 12 Noon. This gave us plenty of time to go get something for breakfast which we did. Ended up in the same area where we had eaten before. Excellent dumplings as expected.

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The two young girls took care of us and were both friendly and charming.

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Sunee and John visited the local fruit vendor and I ended up with a sack of really sweet cherries courtesy of John. Sunee got some lychees.

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Cherries! Not a better way to top off a plate full of steamed dumplings for breakfast!

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Early morning breakfast one last time in Guiyang

Time for the trip to the airport via taxi. Only about a twenty or thirty minute ride and we are there. Walked around a bit and finally got checked in and boarded. A short trip and we arrive to Kunming.

Kunming is great because the airport is within ten or fifteen minutes of downtown. At the airport we picked up our bags then walked over to an information kiosk to figure out where we would stay. I learned a long time ago to leave all this to Sunee as she always gets the best deals on hotels. John was skeptical but I was able to calm him down a bit and let Sunee do her magic.

Sure enough, she arranged for us to go check out a couple of possible hotels at about 150 yuan or so. The first place was unacceptable, mediocre and fairly far from the center of town. The second place was great, looked like about a two star hotel within walking distance of dead center. We checked in and relaxed for a few minutes before our next quest. Returning to the gallery of Sunee’s painting teacher.

We took a taxi to Carrefour, the area where I knew the gallery was. Things had really changed. When we were here the last time, things were all under construction. Now there is a beautiful pedestrian walk way along the side of Carrefour and for several blocks. We asked a few people to try to figure out where things were. Finally I suggest we go to Carrefour and start from there. Sure enough, once I got my directions straight, I led us right to the gallery. What a mess the roads were around the gallery. The construction had obviously finished near Carrefour and had moved in the direction of the old city.

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Nothing was the same so we had to ask for directions

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I remember! This is definitely the way

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The side streets were under repair. What a big mess it was!

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Vendors are everywhere in Old Kunming

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Finally the Gallery and our destination to Sunee's teacher

After taking care of business with Sunee’s instructor, we caught another taxi back to the hotel and relaxed. Sunee and I made arrangements to take a tour to Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan since we had never been there before. Three days and two nights at 1500 yuan a piece. Expensive but we did not plan on having a lot of time to spend. In fact, I was altogether not ready to come to Yunnan for travel, having planned originally to go on over to Guangxi Province and Guilin. The best laid plans and all that kind of stuff caused us to make this mistep. And after three days, we knew it was a big mistake which we will not do again in China.

Day Eleven - Sunday , Monday and Tuesday , June 8 -10. Xishuangbanna Tour

Our plane was scheduled to leave at around 11 AM so our tour person picked us up at around 9. Fifteen minutes later we were checking in and getting our boarding passes. Kunming is nice like that!

This whole trip to Xishuangbanna was a big mistake so I will simply tell you that we went to the following places but not sure in what order:

Menglun Tropical Botanical Garden

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Our guide singing to a plant and it dances

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Some Guiyang girls on the tour with us

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A hungry bee in the garden

Xishuangbanna Primeval Forest Park

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I must have made an impression because she picked me out of the crowd.

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Miao Wedding ceremony for the tourists.

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Miao wedding.

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Guess who got married.

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Is this a Yunnan zodiac?

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Buying a bamboo flute but which one is best

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A fake waterfalls in this "Disney-like" attraction

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Welcome to Disney . . . er, I mean a minority village

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Just before another performance

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A minority performance. Rather hocky at this point

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Paid some money so Sunee could hold a peacock

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And the parrot flew to Sunee's outreaching hand

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Panorama of the hotel area inside the attraction

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I think this was a Jinuo girls but not sure

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These are definitely Jinuo girls

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The end of a truly wasted trip. Cable car up. Nothing. Cable car down. 60 Yuan

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A very Thai-style dance. Boring for us from Thailand

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More Thai-style stuff. Ho hum!

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Looks like a Thai to me

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Just a flowering banana tree

Tropical Flower Garden

Mostly I will just show some pictures and write about the low-lights (as opposed to the high-lights). The whole tour was a huge rip-off, including getting abandoned for over four hours on Monday afternoon in the middle of a podunk town with nothing to do. Ugly tourism, Chinese style. Here are the pictures with captions.

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A great massage. In fact, the best I ever had!

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The best shopping experience we had. Coffee! Lots of coffee.

Day Thirteen - Tuesday, June 10. Return to Kunming

Day Fourteen - Wednesday, June 11. Trip to Yunnan University

Day Fifteen - Thursday, June 12. Around Kunming, Kundu Goatrope

Day Sixteen - Friday, June 13. Return to Emei

Posted by inchinahil 07:03 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

XiJiang, Guiyang, Anshun, Days 8 & 9

Returned to Guiyang from Xijiang and then the following day, a quick trip to see Tienlong Tunpu near Anshun. Ming Dynasty day!

Day Eight - Thursday, June 5. Xi Jiang and journey to Leishan and back to Guiyang

Early morning up and around to take some pictures of the area as the sun came up. Got some really nice shots as we had noodles and tea for breakfast. We had to catch a bus so we were sad to leave Xi Jiang. Great memories and great people.

The bus took us on to Leishan over the same beautiful country and scenery from the day before. More pictures more delight!

We arrived in Leishan and found pretty well nothing to do until our bus direct to Guiyang was due to depart at around 3 PM. We messed around doing a little shopping and then decided to go to a Miao village where they made musical instruments. We took a taxi and found the area and walked to where the factory was located. Just a small house with three or four rooms. Sunee bought one of the small instruments for fun and I took a few pictures as did John. We eventually caught a van back to the bus station, arriving at around 2 PM or so. We waited another hour, boarded our bus and headed back to Guiyang. Today was a little more leisurely than the previous three days and we need the relaxation. The old folks then got to the hotel and crashed immediately.

Day Nine - Friday, June 6. Tienlong Tunpu and Anshun

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In planning for this trip to Guiyang and Guizhou, I had read about the stone cities near Anshun. These were reportedly the best preserved Ming cities in all of China. Troops had been sent to conquer and control the area during the Ming Dynasty (around 1380 or so). They built military forts and then self-contained towns to hold the families of the soldiers stationed in the forts. These towns have remained virtually unchanged since the Ming dynasty. I was determined to see one of these towns so Friday would be that day.

We invited Craig and his school friend, Cindy, to travel with us to a place called Tien Long Tunpu. The Tunpu meant “stone village” or so the internet says. John decided to return to his university to verify his hire and thus did not join us.

Craig and Cindy came to the hotel at around 7 AM and after a brief visit we took a taxi to the bus station, arriving at around 7:45. The bus to Anshun was supposed to take about two hours. and it took us through some more really beautful karst and rice terrance countryside. Well worth the price of the bus (35 Yuan as I remember).

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More karst and terraced scenery on the way to Tienlong

We got off at the road that led to Tien Long after about an hour and a half. The bus ticket lady asked if we were planning to go to Tien Long and when we said we were, the bus stopped for us. We had to wait at the intersection for about fifteen minutes before a taxi (in the from of a tiny van) came by. It took us to the town and dropped us off at the front gate to the Tunpu. It was around 9:45 when we arrived. The town we had gone through was crowded with trucks and cars on streets that were barely large enough for one truck let alone two going in opposite directions. It was a mess and that is an understatement.

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Tien Long Tunpu is very close

Since we had not eaten breakfast, we decided to get some noodles or dumplings. The only place available offered only a cold noodle dish which turned out to be rather poor. Better than nothing, so we ate and began our trip back in time to the Ming Dynasty.

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Cold noodles for breakfast

Prior to actually entering the town (cost was 20 Yuan a piece), I walked over to what appeared to be a reception/hotel building and took some pictures. The inside court yard was extremely authentic and nicely done. Thought it would give us some ideas for the Chinese compound we were planning to build in Thailand.

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Nice Ming court yard

Since a guide came with the 20 Yuan entrance fee, we entered the village with a cute, little local guide dressed in the traditional blue Ming outfit. We were not disappointed with what we saw over the next few hours. Pictures will prove this point.

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At the entrance of the "stone city"

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The only restaurant inside the town

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A Tunpu gentlemen relaxing

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The Special Tea House

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This tea lady offered special tea for us to try

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This tea had eight special and secret ingredients. Not bad, according to Sunee

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Red bean lady

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We will be buying some of this 1950s kitsch later on

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Famous Anshun batik

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Olympic logos in Batik. Of course, we bought them!

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A bearded resident

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This was the oldest part of the town. More than 900 years old.

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Our guide was very tiny, indeed

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What does this thing do?

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Ancient Chinese does not bother Craig. He can look at it all day!

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Ahh, the special wine guy

While watching the DiXi opera, a man was writing our names in ancient Ming or earlier Chinese caligraphy. Here is my name in this ancient writing. It says "C. G. Small Mountain."

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My name

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Member of the Dixi Opera group

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Mingling with the Dixi Opera players

At around 12:30 PM we walked out of Tienlong Tunpu and caught a bus to Anshun, about half an hour or so away. Not sure what we wanted to do, we decided to take a walk to the train station in hopes of riding a train back to Guiyang. Not a good idea since the train would not leave until 6 PM. We then wandered around shopping and siteseeing, catching the 3 PM bus back to Guiyang. Anshun has few sites to really see but it did have a lot of tourist shops around the bus and train stations. Shopping seemed to be about the only thing to do for a tourist. Most tourist, I believe, come to Anshun as a jumping off point to visit Huangguoshu Falls. The scenery around Anshun, however, is quite beautiful with karsts and rice paddies in abundance.

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Downtown Anshun

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The Anshun Popcorn Man

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Plenty of fruit in Anshun

Upon arriving back to Guiyang before 6 PM, we contacted John, Grace, Joe, Cindy and Katherine to get together for dinner. They met us at the hotel and after cleaning up a bit, we headed out to a famous vegetarian restaurant next to a Buddhist temple.

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Grace ordering her favorite dish

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Outside the famous Buddhist restaurant

This was supposed to be the best of its kind in all of Guizhou and it lived up to its reputation. The food was the best and if I had not known better, I would have thought the dishes actually had meat in them. Grace’s dragon eyes or some such dish was absolutely the best vegetarian dish I had ever eaten. It was a great dinner and John picked up the tab at a cheap 88 Yuan for the seven of us.

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Is there really no meat in this dish?

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This was the best dish of them all. Still no meat. Unbelievably good!

After dinner, Grace took us to a nice and well-known teahouse under the stars. It was high class with classical Chinese musicians entertaining us as a hostess, a student at one of the many colleges in Guiyang, took care of us. We relaxed, drinking tea and visiting until around 11 PM when we decided it was time to retire. Another great evening in Guiyang.

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Relaxing under the stars

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Entertained by the classical music of China

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An uninvited guest came to visit me. Only a wood-borer but it got my attention!

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Relaxing

Posted by inchinahil 06:59 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Kaili to Xi Jiang, Day 7

Kaili was not much but the people were friendly. Xi Jiang is a slice of heaven and the people are absolutely marvelous. Scenery to dream about!

Day Seven - Wednesday, June 4. Trip to Xi Jiang

Our bus left the Kaili station at around 8 AM. It was not full but had a few people traveling. One lady with a very cute baby said hi so I obligingly took her picture. We were headed to Leishan to catch the bus to Xi Jiang. This was about a two and a half our trip and the scenery was beautiful as you can see.

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Beautiful scenery on the way to Xijiang

Once we arrived to Leishan, we were hustled out of the big bus onto a very small bus for the trip to Xi Jiang. Did not have to wait but went from dead stop to full movement in less than three minutes. Guess our timing was superb!

The trip from Leishan to Xi Jiang took about two more hours and it was absolutely stunning. The distance was not far but the road meandered into the mountains forcing the bus to move at a crawl most of the way.

An interesting thing happened at one of the villages on the way. About a kilometer or so outside one of the villages, the bus stopped suddenly and let two passengers off. These two immediately were picked up by a truck in the same direction. We continued on, stopped at the next village for some kind of check and then stopped again about a kilometer outside the village where we picked the two passengers up we had let off earlier. Corruption do you suppose? John did take a picture of a great scene with a working water buffalo at the third stop.

We arrived to Xi Jiang at around noon and we were not disappointed. A “Shangri-la” setting with the Miao houses built up on the side of the mountain. Stunning does not describe the picture we had of this village. The pictures say it all.

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We were not sure what to do or how to do it and no one spoke English so it was all up to Sunee. A guy had tried to take us to his guest house but we were a little cautious and decided to look around a while before we made a decision. We walked down to the town and looked for a hotel or guest house. Went into one but saw that it and every place around downtown was covered with dust from the ongoing construction. It was at this time we decided to go look at the guest house that had been offered when we first got off the bus. It turned out to be our choice and a great choice at that. The A Nong Family Guest House!

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A great place to stay. Ms. A Nong's Guest House

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The perfect hostess: Ms. A Nong

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Friends

We or rather Sunee negotiated for the rooms and settled on the price of 80 yuan or around $12 or so US dollars. When we got moved in, we were told by another guy that they had western style bathrooms (at least two rooms) on the first floor. The rooms we had were Chinese style (bomb site) bathrooms. Sunee and I opted for the first floor while John stayed on the top floor. We got settled in, had some noodles and then went downtown to explore (or shop in Sunee’s case). The pictures tell the story of the town better than I could ever do.

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Now this is truly a "pig in a poke." She assured me it would taste good.

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Downtown ladies

After spending our time in the afternoon shopping, John went his own way, Sunee and I decided to climb the mountain as we explored the town. It was a nice climb with the trail getting smaller and more torn up. When we reached the top, we saw where the trail was being rebuild from the top down. I took lots of pictures and then we met two lovely young Miao girls walking up to their house. Stopped and visit a bit in English and they let me take their pictures. The following pictures give you a good idea of where we were on the mountain.

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Climbing up the mountain side was not easy

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Two lovelies coming down the mountain

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Quick peek

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Redoing the path up the hill with a donkey

We returned to our guest house around 5 PM where we met John and got ready for our dinner. While waiting and relaxing on the top floor balcony we met Mr. Samson, a member of a Chinese survey crew working in the area. His group and we were the only ones in the guest house and the only visiters to Xi Jiang. We had a great time visiting with A Nong the owner and the other Miao hostesses as well as Mr. Samson. Our food was served around 7:30 PM. It was very good food and inexpensive. We ordered about four different items and all were good.

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Singing to welcome us

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The friendly welcome with rice wine

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Samson, a member of a Chinese survey team

After dinner, we were treated to a traditional Miao welcome ceremony with our three Miao hostesses singing the welcome songs and offering us rice wine. Once again, the pictures tell all. What a great time we had!

Ode to Xi Jiang

The sun is rising over the hills and fields of Xi Jiang
Mist rising from the fields of rice clothed in pastel green
Among the thousand houses life awakens yet unseen
And in the distance the sweet voices come gentle song

Is this the Shangri-la from hence the myth was drawn
Where harmony and love blend in happy song
As one sits on the porch and sees the coming dawn
There is a pinch to flesh to see if it is wrong

The nights were spent in lovely song
They passed the wine that came from rice
Sang with the ladies as if to belong
Twas an experience, wonderful and so nice

I still think of travel to this remote oasis
Envisioning mist and light along the ridges
Houses built on poles to catch the morning breeze
A memory, a dream or just a wishful tease

Posted by inchinahil 06:53 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Free Day in Guiyang and on to Kaili, Days 5 & 6

Tired old people need their rests, so we did our own things. Mostly shopping (Sunee and I) and looking for employment (John). All successful!

Day Five - Monday, June 2. Free Day in Guiyang

We had originally planned for another tour today, but we were tired, very tired. We decided to sleep in and do whatever we felt like doing. Our decision the next morning was simple: shopping for us and a trip to a university for John. We had decided earlier to change our plans because John wanted to go to Kunming and look for job opportunities there. First thing we did on Monday was to go to a travel agent to book air tickets to Kunming. Twasn’t early, though, about 10 AM. This is when John decided he wanted to go visit the university of Craig’s friends, Cindy and Joe and check for jobs. The following are some pictures that he took at Guizhou College of Finance and Accounting. BTW, the good luck for John was that he was offered a two-year contract to teach at the college.

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John's new employer starting next semester

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John's college guides

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Guizhou College of Finance and Economics, a modern campus

Sunee and I decided to go to the biggest market area and shop for some Feng Shui stuff for the Chinese house we hope to build in Hua Hin, Thailand. So we got a taxi and went to Youzha Jie Bird and Antique Market. It was a great place for shopping. Sunee concentrated on her Feng Shui stuff while I roamed around and took these pictures.

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Clay pottery jars stacked neatly. Too big for us to buy.

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Everything is red in this shop

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Shopping for Feng Shui items

After shopping for a couple of hours or longer, we decided to stop off at the local Walmart. Big underground complex right across the street from the Mao statue. At Walmart we bought a cheap back for our upcoming trip to Kaili and then found a cheaper one in one of the underground markets that are all over the place in the big cities of China. Pictures of the irony - Mao saluting the capitalism that is Walmart.

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The impressive Mao statue saluting socialism

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The impressive Walmart sign saluting capitalism. Mao and Walmart face each other.

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This whole area is actually the top of an underground Walmart

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We never turn down Xinjiang bread

We got back to our hotel (7 Days Inn) and waited for John and the crew to arrive. Together we went out for an evening of Guiyang food. On the way, John bought a cheap back and Sunee bought a top that we had seen at the First Scholar Tower being spun for sport by some old ladies. We finally got to the restaurant and had some typical Guiyang food. Had a good time visiting with Craig, Cindy and Joe. Got back to the hotel at around 10 PM and crashed. End of another long day.

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Our group headed for a Guiyang typical snack restaurant

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Sunee buys a top on the way

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We find the snack restaurant

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The locals call this snacking

Day Six - Tuesday, June 3. Kaili Trip

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Our trip to Kaili began with a leisurely breakfast a couple of blocks from our hotel in the “famous” Guiyang duck area a few nights before. In fact, we had dumplings (jaodz) at the same stand from the previous experience with the duck. Nice breakfast and I got to get even better pictures of the Guiyang duck, so beautiful and golden (on the outside). Sunee also picked up some sticky rice for her breakfast from one of the street vendors.

After breakfast, breakfast we walked over to the Bank of China ATM, picked up some money and then caught a quick taxi to the bus station. Our bus to Kaili left at 10:02 AM on the dot. Less than a two-hour ride to Kaili. Nice, easy and comfortable. Now to find out what is in Kaili. The answer - nothing.

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Our bus left two minutes late. Not bad, huh?

We found a hotel not far from the bus stop and had the afternoon free. The hotel called a travel agency concerning our desires to visit some of the local villages but when the travel agent offered his services for big bucks we decided to go on our own.

After freshening up a bit, we went out for a quick lunch. Walked along the streets within blocks of our hotel and John stumbled onto a restaurant offering mostly vegetarian. The ladies were so nice and sweet we could not refuse. The meal was cheap and excellent. The pictures tell it all.

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Friendly people in Kaili

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Great food, too

Not sure what to do next, we got the taxi driver who took us from the bus station to take us to the main sites in Kaili - both sites. What a waste of time that was! One was the big stadium we had seen coming into town and the other was a local museum. We were let out at the museum, went inside and decided to pass on paying the ten yuan charge for visiting. A big zero for a museum so we went outside bought some ice cream, walked back to the hotel.

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The first of the two major tourist sites in Kaili. It sucked!

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The second major tourist site. We saw it from a distance. Modern fake contruction.

On the way back (John had recognized the monument in the middle of the street from our hotel so we had our directions right), several locals offered their services to us as guides. Seems as if everyone in this town is a guide to the outlying minority villages. Thanks but no thanks.

By the time we got back to the hotel got cleaned up and rested, it was time to eat, so we walked along the same street as before. It was after 8 PM and it appeared that the streets were getting rolled up for the evening. We finally found a cute little clean place where we had some noodles. The owner and workers were as friendly as any place we had been in China. Even their two customers showed a lot of friendliness toward us. A nice place, this Kaili. Back to the hotel in preparation of our trip to Xi Jiang the next day.

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Found this little restaurant about two blocks from our hotel. Really great food and nice people.

Posted by inchinahil 06:50 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Huangguoshu Falls, Day 4

A tour to the largest waterfalls in all of China. Was not cheap and it was not easy, but well worth the money, the pain and the effort. Chinese tours tend to be interesting and rough affairs.

Day Four - Sunday, June 1. Huangguoshu Falls Tour

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Early in the morning, as with all Chinese tours, we were ushered off in a van to the place to pick up the large tour bus tp start our Huangguoshu Falls Tour. We are talking before 7 AM in the morning! The big tour bus had about twenty or so tourist onboard including one guy from Finland who was on a three week vacation to China, his third time here.

Our first stop with the tour was to an undefined (at least I cannot find it on the internet and I took no pictures of its name) not far from Anshun City. A buddhist temple that looked just like a Buddhist temple. At some point most of these Buddhist temples start to look the same and they are, indeed, the same. The only significant thing we did there was to hang some red banners from a tree in its court yard. Sunee and I put “long life” on ours with our name while John put “good luck” with his ex-wife’s name on it. Later we will see the this “good luck” was actually for him.

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Just for good luck

After this rather uninspired stop to the temple we made our way to the Dragon Palace. This was well worth the trip as it was both beautiful and interesting. The scenes along the way reminded me a lot of Laos and Northeast Thailand with karsts and rice fields terraced into spectacular scenes. We stopped at the base of a mountain area where we got off the bus. We then walked up the mountain to a lake set up with boats for a ride into the famous Dragon cave. Along the way, we saw a river with several small waterfalls and a nice array of buildings and mountain greenery. Nice walk but Sunee and John had to have some assistance for a price.

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On the way to the Dragon Palace

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More spectacular scenery around Anshun

The boat ride was interesting and beautiful. When we returned to the launch area we had our pictures taken with Miao girls dressed in their traditional costumes. At least they were girls playing like Miao minorities. Who could tell? They were cute and colorful and John and I took advantage of the 5 Yuan each girl for the pictures. It was fun and John got a really great shot of one of the little girls informing me in no uncertain terms that she did really want her picture taken with me.

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Friends at 5 Yuan a piece. Now that is cheap!

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One of the guides in the area

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Our Dragon Cave guide or was she our captain on the boat?

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Same price for John

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I told you I really do like you and it will only cost 5 yuan for the picture

Back to the bus and on with the tour in the typical hurry up and wait Chinese style.

But wait, no Chinese tour would be correct without a shopping excursion to a trusted friend of the tour operator. The routine is the same all over China. As one gets off the bus the your ladies at the entrance of the target shopping experience passes out numbers to identify the bus you came from for kickback purposes.

This particular stop was for “guaranteed to last forever” cutlery.” We were herded into a room where we were presented a “Home Shopper’s” presentation that would have made any TV Home Shoppers Network executive proud. Must have worked since Sunee ended up buying one of the sets. Actually they were better than the run-of-the-mill cut junk we had been using. At least these appeared to be able to hold an edge and last more than a month or so. Sunee was happy as she got the “special scraping tool” and sharpener thrown in free. We all also were supposed to get a free knife later on during the tour. This ended up being quite comical as the Chinese tourists kept asking for their knives as the tour wore on.

Next on the agenda, lunch. And a typical Chinese tour lunch except a lot of the stuff was too hot for John.

Back to the bus and a trip to someplace really weird. We got off the bus and had to pay 50 yuan to get on another bus which took us to a road under construction. Here we got off the second bus and walked about 45 minutes to another area. Not sure but this area is all part of the Huangguoshu falls tourist spot. I notice some of my pictures had references to Tien Xing Lake but I have not found anything like that on the internet. The major signs all talk about Huangguoshu. Anyway the pictures tell the story.

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This is one big cucumber

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Not an easy walk

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People must really like these long cucumbers. They are everywhere!

After walking through this area, we were herded out and had to walk the 45 minutes back to catch a bus which then took us to the entrance where we reboarded our original tour bus. A lot of walking for such little excitement and photos! Well, at least the cucumbers were extremely long.

Finally we arrive at the Huangguoshu Falls entrance were we are expected to pay another 100 yuan to get on yet another bus to go to the area we need to be. This whole trip has been about yuans, lots of them. We finally are where we are supposed to be and what we paid all this yuan for.

We tarried too long at the entrance and we lost our group so we ended up being on our own. Wondering through a Chinese garden with all the flowers and weird rocks we finally found the entrance to the falls area. Down an escalator to the bottom where the falls are. Our tour guide was waiting for us and gave us instructions on how long we had and what to do. Soooooo, down the escalator to the falls we went.

Not much to see at the bottom of the escalator except a fairly fast moving river and a few scenic spots to stop and take pictures. As we traveled along the modern cement trail we begin to hear the falls. This is a serious falls as the noise is deafening the closer we get. Then we see it and it meets or exceeds all our expectations. John commented that one would have to go to Niagara Falls in the USA to match its splendor. Believe him. The falls is magnificent! Again pictures tell the story than English words can.

As one gets closer to the falls the air is alive with mists from the huge amount of water going over the edge. We are given rain jackets to keep us dry and told we could walk up and under the actual falls but it would take two hours our so. Us old folks simply did not have the energy so we enjoyed the falls from where we were and headed back up the escalator for some relaxation. About a half an hour of relaxation and we herded all back to the bus for another stop associated with the falls.

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The Huangguoshu Waterfalls framed nicely by trees

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The standard tourist shot

This next stop was a quick one, about half an hour. The front area had a bunch of peacocks who obviously had become irritated and were strutting their stuff for the Chinese. I got some good pictures of these foul fowl. Maybe Sunee can paint some of them later.

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Can Sunee paint this one?

On down the river we came to another falls, not as tall, but still quite impressive. Took some time to take some pictures and also a lady from Fuzhou, Fujian province who enjoyed speaking to Sunee in Min Nan dialect. She was a classy lady and was friendly and sweet. She also took nice pictures as well.

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It is smaller (the falls) but beautiful

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A wide angle view of this falls

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Pictures of picture taking of Sunee and the lady from Fujian

Our thirty minutes were up so we boarded the bus for our trip back the Guiyang. All of us were tired but pretty happy with the trip. Huangguoshu falls is as good as advertised. Bet we stop at some store on the way back. Yep, this time a candy or food store where each of us was given a giant sack to put all the food we did not buy. Sunee saved the sacks for later.

Returned to Guiyang late and crashed.

Posted by inchinahil 06:46 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Around Guiyang, Day 3

It is nice to have someone you know in the towns that you visit. Makes for a great time if you are a foreigner!

Day Three - Saturday, May 31. Around Guiyang

Time for another outing around Guiyang today. Katherine, Grace, Craig and his friend showed up at around 8 am to get us on our way.

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It is 0730. Do you know where your students are?

We walked to the bus stop and caught bus for a ride to the ancient city of Qingyan. The ride to about an hour through some interesting scenery and to the Huaxi park area. From there we took a smaller bus to the back door into the ancient city. Seems the front door has a charge to enter while the back door does not.

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The free entrance into Qingyan

The ancient city of Qingyan is a tourist attraction. It is heavily commercial but does offer views of an old city with features of the Ming and Qing Dynasty (I got this from the internet). Sunee shopped and shopped and I took pictures upon pictures. Very commercial but fun to walk around and look at all the stuff. Pictures say it best.

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Welcome to Guiyang

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Guiyang food is never mild

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Bacon is probably good but I passed

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For sure pickled something

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Casual lunch, what to order?

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All kinds of hats, even weird ones

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Wood carvings

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Howdy, Partner. Welcome to Guiyang - My Country

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And through this arch - more shopping

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Cute little minority people made up as dolls

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Handicrafts everywhere

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We always wanted one of these bamboo books

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Sugar momma making treats for the kids

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Which one looks the best

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The famous recording artist, star of movie and stage

After spending most of the day at Qingyan, Sunee, Grace, Katherine and I got separated from John, Craig and his friend. They obviously took a bus back to Huaxi Park before our designated meeting. So we hopped on the bus and met them at Huaxi Park. Decided we did not want to walk around the park and so we walked to another area a few kilometers away. Nice walk but a bit boring. When we got to our destination, it was obvious that they were young and we were old. Too tired to do much but sit around for awhile. We finally took a small van to the bus station and caught a city bus back into town. Us old people were really tired by the time we got to the city bus station so we called it a day.

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Beautiful area within walking distance of Huaxi Park

To get something to eat, John, Sunee and I decided to try the famous Guiyang duck. We asked at the hotel reception desk where we could get some and they told us that just down the block to the right were a bunch of places that specialized in it. We were very excited, especially when we saw the beautiful ducks on displace. Funny thing was that the restaurants looked more like noodle or dumpling places than duck restaurants so we walked a couple of more blocks looking for a nice “sit down” restaurant. We found none so we went back to one of these “noodle stand” restaurants and ordered our duck.

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Looks great but . . .

Surprise! The ducks we saw on display are not really “cooked golden” as we thought. When one orders a duck, it is chopped up (not much past the skin is done) and thrown into a deep fryer and fried hard. I took a bite and almost died from the spices. My lips were tingling all over. Immediately, I stopped John from trying a piece as he would have died right there on the spot. We sent the duck back and they took the hot off and refried it. Not good at all. Very small pieces of hard fried duck, difficult to eat and not very pleasant tasting. All of us ended up ordering and eating steamed dumpling and even some dumpling soup for our dinner. Biggest disappointed so far in Guiyang. Such beautiful ducks, ruined in the deep fat of Guiyang! Ahh, but our tour to the famous Guizhou waterfalls awaiting us the next day.

Posted by inchinahil 06:42 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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