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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the entrance of the "stone city"
The only restaurant inside the town
A Tunpu gentlemen relaxing
The Special Tea House
This tea lady offered special tea for us to try
This tea had eight special and secret ingredients. Not bad, according to Sunee
Red bean lady
We will be buying some of this 1950s kitsch later on
Famous Anshun batik
Olympic logos in Batik. Of course, we bought them!
A bearded resident
This was the oldest part of the town. More than 900 years old.
Our guide was very tiny, indeed
What does this thing do?
Ancient Chinese does not bother Craig. He can look at it all day!
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."
Member of the Dixi Opera group
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.
The Anshun Popcorn Man
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.
Grace ordering her favorite dish
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.
Is there really no meat in this dish?
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.
Relaxing under the stars
Entertained by the classical music of China
An uninvited guest came to visit me. Only a wood-borer but it got my attention!