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The New 'Ancient' Town, Every Chinese Town Has One

Hey Hey and a big G'Day to you

Mate, today was bloody huge!

On our tourist map of Ya'an and the surrounding area we found a little town called the 'Shangli Anciet Town'. How cool we thought, an Ancient Town! We decided to spend the day walking Ancient Streets.

When you arrive in Ya'an you are attacked by the 'You Stay, You Stay' people. When you leave your hotel and go to check bus times for the Ancient Town you are once again set on by the same 'You Stay, You Stay' people even when they know you have a room as they pointed it out to you the day before. Maybe they really do believe that if they ask nice enough you will just pack up and move to a different hotel. Maybe people actually do do this if they are offered a better rate, if so, can't blame them for trying. Plus most Chinese 'You Stay, You Stay' people are very lame when compared to the Vietnamese 'You Stay, You Stay' people.

They should be called 'You Stay or I'll beat you, You Stay or I'll beat you' people!

Serious, they really are that bad in some places in Vietnam!

Anyhow, once you get past the 'You Stay' people and finally reach the road you are set on by the Mini Bus Drivin 'You go, You Go' people. They weren't so bad and they are a good source of information too. Surprise to them we said 'We Go, We Go' when they asked 'You Go, You Go' We had an hour or so to wait before the bus was going to leave so we headed to the Net Bar we found on the way home last night.

INTERNET: when you leave the bus station turn right past the 'You Go, You Go' people. When you get to the cross roads turn right and it's about ten meters away. Two Yuan an hour, can't beat that!

We squeezed into the mini bus with several other passengers and soon we were on our way. It only took twenty or so minutes to reach the 'Shangli Ancient Town'. We were dropped off down the road which was fine by us as there was a beautiful bridge over a river filled with children swimming we wanted to look at. The country side was just beautiful. After waving hello and good bye to the children we headed up the road. On the way we climbed some stairs that let to a little temple.

When we finally reached the 'Ancient Town' we were both very impressed with the scenery but rather let down. It was just another 'New Ancient Town'. Maybe the town planners were friends with the town planners in Zhongdian! Admittedly the water wheel area and the river were just stunning. We crossed the river on the 'Ancient Stepping Stones' and made out way into the new ancient town. What we found were old looking new buildings filled with tourist 'stuff'.

Very normal but a let down.

We walked around and followed some of the signs that were in English pointing to places and things to see. After several attempts we grew very frustrated. Not far up the pathway to each was a man or women waiting for you. They'd walk ahead chit chatting in Chinese pointing to this and that and when you reached your destination they would repeatedly ask for money. No No No, No Money! They would continue to ask. The only thing to do was leave that spot and try another. In the end we gave in and found a little eatery serving beautiful and soft pumpkin. It was just awesome. We tried to chat with the family at the next table and had a great time. The eatery was across from a stunning bridge. It was just beautiful. Through its arch you could see the beautiful rice and corn fields.

A wonderfully relaxing sight!

Sadly the 'You Give, You Give' people spoilt what could have been a great day. We left the ancient town and continued up the road walking amongst the lush greet forest. It was just beautiful and even if the ancient town was a let down, the trip was worth it just for the walk. In the early hours of the afternoon we headed back down the road and squeezed into the 'You Go, You Go' mini bus and headed back into Ya'an.

When we were walking home the night before we noticed a string of lights going up a hill as you leave Ya'an. We didn't have our map but we thought that on the map there was a temple up there somewhere so we decided to climb the hill. We found the set of stairs we needed and we began our journey up. We found little places of offering along the way and after walking through cornfields we found a road. We began to follow the road and found another set of stairs.

Why not!

We climbed and followed tracks and climbed and followed more tracks. We found the big lights we saw the night before and continued climbing. We reached the top and walked around and found nothing. We walked some more, followed more tracks and still found nothing. The track stopped so we turned back. Instead of following the same track back stupid me decided to follow a new track down. On this track we found broken and over grown stairs so we followed them down, they stopped so we continued and continued and continued. By now the sun was going down and we had no idea where we were.

When we finally reached the bottom we were on the wrong side of the hill. We spotted a little dirt road in the distance and decided to walk through a small farm. Bad mistake, very bad mistake. Two dogs came at us. Luckily I had a stick which kept them at bay. Mate they were furious and dripping saliva. If we moved back they moved forward. Finally the farmer came to save the day. Even he had trouble with one of them and each time he pointed his stick at the dog it bit into the stick and ripped the end off. Finally after what seemed an hour we got passed them and backed our way to the road with the two dog's still only five to ten meters away dripping saliva at us. We wound our way around to the other side of the mountain and caught a Tuk Tuk home.

We were both filthy, covered in sweat and buggered.

FOOD: For dinner we decided to head to the river and check out the eateries along its banks. They were all lively and the atmosphere was great. Most of them were hot pot places and being in Sichuan neither of us wanted to chance a Sichuan Hot Pot! We finally found a place that would do rice and sweet and sour pork etc for us. They even had an English Menu, well kind of anyhow. The owner's kids spied us out and were soon jumping all over our table. We had a great time.

If you want to find this place, just search for the eatery with a line of people out front waiting to be seated. The owners were fantastic and took us under their wing. The mother of the children had the world's most beautiful eyes, they really were that stunning. Sadly I never got a photo of her face!

Now, the Ya'an river bank eatery area is not a place to go if you want a quiet romantic dinner. We didn't so we were happy, but it is loud. You have buskers lining up just like the people waiting to eat. Really, it's so funny to watch. Whilst one plays in the eatery others stand waiting. Once everyone is sick of the one playing the next one comes in and hands out song lists. Some of them are so loud it really is a pain in the butt.

HINTS FOR THE DAY:

1:Don't climb the hill with the lights on it. There really is nothing up there. 2: Don't take a short cut through someone's farm. 3: Do visit the river eatery with the world's most beautiful eyes.

The food is also great!

Beers N Noodles to ya...Shane

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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