Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pingyao (200th Post Spectacular!)

The National Day holiday has come to an end, and while there was no tank parade, it did culminate with the Redneck Hootenanny. Again, China shuffled our schedules around, giving many of us the pleasure of working weekends in exchange for a consecutive 7 days off. Chinese holidays are normally a dreaded time to travel, but therese, alicia, and i decided to brave it and check out Pingyao in Shanxi province for three days.

Pingyao is famous for its old, walled city center built in the 1300's. More recently it became very wealthy when it became China's main financial center for a couple decades in the 1900's. Money flooded the small city of 500,000 and the old town got a boost of life and class. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very popular among Chinese. We knew it would be madness to travel during the holiday, but we decided to brave it anyway.

We took an overnight train and arrived around 10am, tired but in good spirits. The first day, we wandered a lot, with no real destination. Since the whole city is walled, you can't really get lost, and the four main roads (North, South, East, and West Streets) make navigation quite easy. Crowds tend to congregate in the exact middle of the city where the four roads intersect. We tried to stay away from there. We discovered countless well-preserved hutongs, courtyards, and shops, as well as good food and relaxing cafe's. We were blessed with perfect weather and good company.

Being the animal lovers that we all are, we often stopped to play and love. I think therese is happiest when she has a puppy.

We stopped for foot massages and even helped them correct their English Translations. These became Foot Reflexology and Lodging Available.

Also, haha! Chinese people love to sleep! Yay!

On day 2 we walked the wall, which affords another perspective of the city, sprawling with narrow alleys and bustling with life.

Wildly good looking foreingers that we are, therese and i garnered much attention. Tourists snapped photos such as this one, with captions that would one day read "Real Live Foreigners in Pingyao!"

At some point, i was even approached by a TV reporter. They don't often see foreigners in Pingyao, and even fewer that can speak Chinese. He wanted to record a spot to promote Pingyao, and i obliged. I said something like, "I enjoy Pingyao. The lodging is interesting and comfortable. The food is inexpensive and delicious. You can walk on the wall of the old city. I'm very satisfied with Pingyao!" ---Wǒ xǐhuan Píng Yáo. Jiǔdiàn yǒu yìsi yǒu shūfu. Cāntīng de jiàgé hěn piányi, hěn hào chī. Nǐ kěyǐ zǒu zài jiù chéngqiáng. Wǒ dui Píng Yáo hěn mǎnyì.---

I'm probably famous in Shanxi by now.


No comments: