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Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 13-14)

Trip to Henan Province and Luoyang


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Luoyang, Henan Province

The bus left Pujiu at around 6 a.m. so we had to get up really early and check out. The girl behind the counter actually was sleeping on a cot when we woke her up to check out.

We had an uneventful trip to Luoyang of about five hours. Upon arrival, we caught a taxi who took us to a business hotel in downtown Luoyang. For the price of 175 Yuan, it was totally unimpressive. We decided to stay one night and then move to a cheaper hotel if we decide to stay another night.

After checking in at around noon, we set out to explore the area within walking distance of or hotel after we had a Luoyang lunch of baodz and jaodz. These are the same all over China.

Local Baodz

Local Baodz

Local Jaodz

Local Jaodz

After lunch, we walked to what appeared to be the center of Luoyang. Here we saw an underground museum of the original inhabitants of the location. Based on the pictures, we decided to pass as it looked to be a strictly bones display. On top of this underground facility was a statue with a team of horses. Apparently a lot of horse bones were on display in the museum.

The Horse Park

The Horse Park

We asked a passerby for directions to the largest and most beautiful park in Luoyang. Without hesitation she gave directions via bus to the this park. Although the day was overcast with the occasional shower, the park was magnificent. No peonies this time of year but in April, it must be something special. Do a Google search on Peony Park Luoyang and it is the only park of its kind in all of China. We were happy we found it.

Peony Park of Luoyang

Entry way into the Peony Park

Entry way into the Peony Park

Pagoda on the left as one enters

Pagoda on the left as one enters

Another "for rest" Pagoda

Another "for rest" Pagoda

The Centerpiece of the Park: The Peony Fairy

The Centerpiece of the Park: The Peony Fairy

The Huge Incense Burner in front of the main building

The Huge Incense Burner in front of the main building

A typical park oval entrance

A typical park oval entrance

Love those Chinese Knockers

Love those Chinese Knockers

More door knockers

More door knockers

Common variety of round window

Common variety of round window


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A Curious Door

A Curious Door

Guard Lion

Guard Lion

What a wonderful park and first day in Luoyang. All the people we had met, thus far, had been very friendly. Of course, my wife, Sunee, is Chinese and speaks fluent Mandarin.

I had not planned to do any serious tea shopping until we got to Anhui province. I did, however know that Henan produces a top ten Chinese tea from Xinyang Mountains. It is a green tea called Miao Jian. We looked for some as we wondered around the city.

We were planning to go to White Horse Buddhist Temple the following day so we got directions to the appropriate bus stop. On the way we made reservations for the next night at a cheaper hotel near the bus station. We also found some pottery shops close to the hotel. We also picked up some Sinyang Miao Jian at a local tea shop as well.

Negotiations underway for Luoyang Tea Cups

Negotiations underway for Luoyang Tea Cups

After locating the bus station and shopping for tea and tea cups we had our dinner at a nice restaurant nearby the tea shop. We asked for local cuisine.

Luoyang Pork

Luoyang Pork

A Luoyang Specialty

A Luoyang Specialty

White Horse Buddhist Temple

Bright and early, we moved to our new hotel (no one cared what time it was) and checked in. Got to the bus station and with help found where to catch the appropriate bus

It is this one, the guy told us

It is this one, the guy told us

See, it says White Horse Temple

See, it says White Horse Temple

We have traveled throughout Sichuan and much of China, so we knew that tickets for us seniors were available. Not so said the monk (a nasty creature with an obvious dislike of foreigners). Sunee insisted and demanded to see the ticket boss. After a little haggling, we got our half-price tickets. The monk at the ticket counter still hated foreigners but . . . we got in for the correct price.

Hard-fought tickets

Hard-fought tickets

White Horse Temple 白马寺 is the first Buddhist temple in China. It was built in 64 AD during the Eastern Han Dynasty during Emperor Mingdi's reign. Welcome to the cradle of Chinese Buddhism.

Large, normal-looking Temple Entrance

Large, normal-looking Temple Entrance

Posing before the cradle

Posing before the cradle

Lit Candles

Lit Candles

Incense Burner with admirers

Incense Burner with admirers

A big one

A big one

More Lit Candles

More Lit Candles

Symmetry

Symmetry

Traditional Circle Window

Traditional Circle Window

Even Monks get to relax

Even Monks get to relax

The Pink Buddha

The Pink Buddha

Incense and Prayer

Incense and Prayer

Monk doing his lighting the candle job

Monk doing his lighting the candle job

Did I tell you it was hot in July in Henan Province?

Did I tell you it was hot in July in Henan Province?

A Red Buddha

A Red Buddha

A White Horse Monk

A White Horse Monk

These double stairs lead to the same place

These double stairs lead to the same place

New friends and such a nice family who likes foreigners

New friends and such a nice family who likes foreigners

Surprise! A Thai Wat

Surprise! A Thai Wat

Another surprise! A Hindu Church

Another surprise! A Hindu Church

This is definitely a Thai Buddha

This is definitely a Thai Buddha

Burial Place for the local monks

Burial Place for the local monks

Newly built Indian Hall

Newly built Indian Hall

An Indian Buddha

An Indian Buddha

Relaxing with a very friendly Monk

Relaxing with a very friendly Monk

Very interesting Indian-style carving

Very interesting Indian-style carving

Hawkers were everywhere as we exited the temple. We did a little shopping, picking up a couple of more small tea cups and caught the bus back to the bus station. The bus ends and starts at White Horse Temple. On the walk back to our hotel we passed (but did not stop) the local Pizza Hut with KFC right next to it. The monk at White Horse Temple probably did not like foreigners because of KFC, MacDonalds and Pizza Hut. He has to be a vegetarian in order to be a monk. We forgave him for his rudeness.

The local PIzza Hut

The local PIzza Hut

Today had been pure tourist activities. We saw no courtyard houses anywhere in Luoyang. About two hours from Luoyang was a placed called Gongyi which had one of the best examples of courtyard mansions in all of China. But first we must fulfill Sunee's wish to visit the world famous Shao Lin Temple.

Posted by inchinahil 06:35 Archived in China Tagged food architecture park buddhism white_horse_temple peony_fairy_park henan_province Comments (0)

Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 27)

Taiyuan and Yuci Ancient Town


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Yuci Ancient Town

Prior to making this trip, I had compiled a list of possible sites to visit along the way. One of these places was the ancient town of Yuci located about an hour from Taiyuan. I could not find a lot about it, just that there was such a place. There might be some courtyard houses there so we decided to find it and afterward go visit the Chang Family Manor which seems to be on every tourist must visit location.

The bus to Yuci was hard to find but eventually after several inquiries we located where to catch it. A true local bus without any amenities at all. The trip was about an hour and it took us to a small suburban area that was rather unimpressive. However, we did see the area which was built up for tourist so that is where we headed. We were not disappointed.

Entrance to the ancient town Yuci

Entrance to the ancient town Yuci

Seems that all over China, if a town has an area that is old and still intact, the locals are trying to take advantage of it by renovation and setting up services. It is a good idea to attract people (mostly Chinese tourists).

A famous Thai Movie Star

A famous Thai Movie Star

A Yuci Ming/Qing Dynasty Street Scene

A Yuci Ming/Qing Dynasty Street Scene

An Ancient doorway awaiting renovation

An Ancient doorway awaiting renovation

The ferocious and photogenic Guard Lion

The ferocious and photogenic Guard Lion

One knows he or she is in an ancient city . . . The Tower Entrance

One knows he or she is in an ancient city . . . The Tower Entrance

Bridge to a local Temple

Bridge to a local Temple

Bridge with Gazebo

Bridge with Gazebo

Some very Friendly local Students

Some very Friendly local Students

Traditional Stone Stairs

Traditional Stone Stairs

Behind the Green Door

Behind the Green Door

How about a Jello Snack

How about a Jello Snack

A well-preserved Ming ancient entrance Door

A well-preserved Ming ancient entrance Door

An Old Wood and Stone Door

An Old Wood and Stone Door

The Center of the ancientTown

The Center of the ancientTown

Almost all of these tourist locations offer photography services where one can dress in period costumes and have your picture taken. For all of five yuan you can pose for as many pictures as you like, as long as a friend owns the camera.

Sunee Posing in Qing Dynasty (or is it Ming Dynasty) costume

Sunee Posing in Qing Dynasty (or is it Ming Dynasty) costume

Local Girls are not shy and take advantage of foreigners for posing purposes

Local Girls are not shy and take advantage of foreigners for posing purposes

Talk about being in deep trouble

Talk about being in deep trouble

Knock, Knock

Knock, Knock

Here are our two Friends enjoying the costumes

Here are our two Friends enjoying the costumes

The bike in the door of a courtyard house

The bike in the door of a courtyard house

Behind the Red GreenDoor

Behind the Red GreenDoor

Picturesque Sago Palm

Picturesque Sago Palm

It was a very pleasant four or five hours we spent exploring the town. The people were friendly and the photo ops were many. We were now interested in visiting one of the biggy tourist attractions in Shanxi - The Chang Family Manor. Big disappointment. The ticket personnel were nasty and refused to allow senior foreigners to enter at half price. Chinese seniors yes. Foreign seniors no. This, even though we were working in China at Chinese wages and paying Chinese taxes. No thank you. We do not do racist sites.

The Chang Racist Manor from a distance

The Chang Racist Manor from a distance

If you have seen one manor, you have probably seen them all. Advertising how great the Chang family was. Yeh, right!

If you have seen one manor, you have probably seen them all. Advertising how great the Chang family was. Yeh, right!

Wasted only a half hour to go and a half hour to come back. Just in time for some good Shanxi noodles.

Noodles for dinner

Noodles for dinner

We took the bus back to Taiyuan and caught a taxi to our hotel. We decided to try to catch a train to Hefei our next stop. After getting the tickets (not cheap), we found that airline tickets were just a little bit more expensive. It cost us 160 yuan to get our money back and buy the tickets to Hefei.

We were close enough to our hotel that we walked About a block from the hotel was a guy showing off his monkeys. When I took a picture one of his stooges attacked me and demanded money. I just smiled and shook my head in utter confusion then walked away. Performing on a street for me is fair game. Anyway, it was obvious that the monkeys were suffering.

Monkey and their anti-PETA handlers

Monkey and their anti-PETA handlers

We had been walking all day so this evening we crashed early in our hotel.

Posted by inchinahil 06:24 Archived in China Tagged architecture buddhism tourist_sites ancient_town courtyard_house buddhist-temple taiyuan yuci shanxi_province Comments (0)

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