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An Ancient City of Floods N Night Markets

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, This night, which is heavy with the smell of bbq'd meat (along with other assorted inners and outers'), flashing and colourful neon lights and happy people walking all around me finds me in one of the most awesome cities I've ever been to. I left Luoyang much later than I wanted as I woke with a horrid headache and a sore throat from sitting in the Net Bar last night. The aircon was on 'arctic' and blowing my way the entire time I was there. There were no other computers spare so I soon became Ice Man and today Sick Man. Finally I rose and said good bye to the 'hair playing' girls out front of the hotel and then headed across the road and paid my 40 Yuan for my ticket to Kaifeng. The bus, luckily for me was hot and stuffy as the air-con was buggered. Strangely this made me feel much better. The bus journey from Luoyang to Kaifeng was around three and a half hours. Should have been two and a half but after trawling for passengers it took an extra hour. The journey was pleasant and I mostly read, slept and listened to music. So Kaifeng...how awesome is Kaifeng? Thanks for asking. Now I shall tell you! Kaifeng is a small city with around four and a half million people. Yes, you read right, I did say it's a small city and here in China, it is a small city. The old city is still surrounded by its walls and believe it or not, there is an ancient city buried nine meters below the current one. Kaifeng was also the capital city of China (different times between AD960 - 1125) on several occasions. Why is there an ancient city buried beneath? Thanks for asking. Now I shall tell you. Kaifeng has been flooded over three hundred and sixty times in seven hundred and forty or so years. Unbelievable! They used to rebuild but then they gave in and admitted defeat until someone had the crazy idea of beginning again. The current city is kept low to the ground as tall buildings have been banned to keep from destroying the ancient city below. So what you have is a very comfortable city to be in. After walking the streets for an afternoon and evening it already reminds me of a cross between Xian and Fujian's Quangzhou city which is another of my favorite cities. Old, I just love old and ancient cities! When I arrived I arrived at the south bus station which is across from the train station. Both are about a kilometer from the city walls. Before leaving the bus station I sat for noodles and a couple of tea eggs in the little eatery beside the bus station. The staff was excellent and very humorous. Still not feeling the best I decided to grab a Tuk Tuk to a hotel in middle of what seemed to be everything on my map. When I arrived I gave a little giggle and went inside to try my luck. I was back out the door within ten seconds. Kaifeng Binguan is waaaaay out of my price range!

But one must start somewhere. Mr Tuk Tuk Driver was awesome and wouldn't allow me to go in search of my own hotel. It was his city and he was going to find a hotel that fit my price. About four hotels later we found one. Most hotels wanted me to pay between 250 to 350 Yuan for a night due to me being a foreigner. Some hotels wouldn't even allow me to stay, due to being a foreigner. I had to then be straight with the driver. I don't want 'that' kind of hotel...meaning 'up market', just a normal Chinese Hotel is fine by me. He was very surprised and the next hotel was the jackpot! The hotel we found was called the Tianxiang Hotel and it is fantastic. The rooms are great and the staff are so friendly, happy and very helpful. The rooms even come with a hot and cold water machine and a spare power board for your phone and MP3 player etc. This is very unusual so I always travel with my own little power board. Usually if there are spare sockets they are to be found in the most hidden and hard to get to place. I had a look at a few rooms and they are actually in every room. Nice touch! My room came complete with a big bay window where I can sit, drink a cold beer and smoke while watching the people on the street below. The Tianxiang Hotel can be found just up from the corner of Da Xianggua Si (or the Grand Buddha Temple) which is on Ziyou Lu which turns into Dazhifang Jie after crossing Zhongshan Lu.

It is about seven or ten shops up the road and has a huge vase in the front window. Before leaving the hotel I sat with the lady at the front desk and we did our best to chat. She was so funny and would go through her entire internal Chinese dictionary before finding a word I knew. I showed her where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see and she told me what was open and closed this time of the late afternoon. Soon I was out walking Kaifeng's happy streets and saying my afternoons 'Hellows'. I soon reached the Grand Buddha Temple (Da Xiuanbggua Si) and spent about an hour or so walking around taking pictures and chatting to people who wanted to find out more about whom I was and where I was from etc. Bugger the Shaolin Temple mate, for the same price you can catch a bus here to Kaifeng have dinner and come to this temple along with being in an awesome city! You can also watch martial arts students here too. They maybe around the age of four to ten, they may not break metal bars over their heads but I do think I would run away if they turned my way with an angry look on their faces. Some of them were awesome!

Thetemple cost 30 Yuan which is only a 10 Yuan rise in four years compared to Shaolin Si's 70 Yuan rise in the same period. Unbelievable! It was built in AD 555 and destroyed in the mid 1600's and completely re-built the same as the original. I really loved the Hall of Araht (Luo Han Dian) which is an octagonal glazed brick hall with beautiful upturned eaves. It houses all the five hundred Arahts and believe it or not, in 1980 the entire structure was raised 1.67 meters. An awesome feat indeed when you look at the building construction. From the temple I got myself lost for an hour in the Xiangguo Si Market Place. This place was awesome and huge. It is full of food, colour, smells, clothes, buckets, hair things and beautiful people. From there I began wandering the streets and it seems that parts of Kaifeng are going through a huge redevelopment, especially around the middle of the shopping district. Several of the big city streets have been pulled up and I think will be made into more of a mall type thing. It really will be beautiful once completed. I then headed across to Nan Tu Jie and found a lovely old Catholic Church where I was adopted by many of the elderly people who live there. They took me by the hand and showed me their favourite places to sit and look at the cross way above them in the church spire. We all too soon said our good byes. The church can be found down what I dubbed Music Lane due to all the little music houses/schools that can be found along it.

Its real name is Jiaojing Lane.

Itwas then time to zig zagg my way through the old quarter which seemed to be filled with the elderly whom had come out to enjoy the coolness of the evening. Around them ran young children eating icy-poles and meat sticks. Bye now the sun had left the skies and the stars were twinkling above. Now it was night market time! WOW, and what an awesome night market it was. It is now found completely along one road and runs for a large amount of the city. Most of it used to be found where the redevelopment is happening now. It now runs from just below Zigou Lu all the way up to Xi Dajie and a little further. The food section was awesome and I filled myself on all kinds of treats. The market is full to the brim with people, motor scooters, colours, smells and delicious foods! What a vibe! Tonight I find myself in heaven! I am in an old city that is totally surrounded by a wall and the city is full of temples, parks, market places, food, awesome Bianjing Beer and beautiful Chinese girls! I think I will stay here for many more days. For a great map of the city and other things to go and see head to the expensive Kaifeng Binguan. It has a HUGE and beautiful map out the front. I love Kaifeng! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was FISH The album was his awesome 'Sunsets On Empire' For those who don't know who Fish is, he is the original singer of Marillion. Probably one of the most gifted song writers of all time. A man with a gift of words!

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church


Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (1)

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (1)


Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (2)

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (2)


Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (3)

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (3)


Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (4)

Kaifeng - Beautiful Church (4)


Kaifeng - City Walk

Kaifeng - City Walk


Kaifeng - City Walk (1)

Kaifeng - City Walk (1)


Kaifeng - City Walk (2)

Kaifeng - City Walk (2)


Kaifeng - City Walk (3)

Kaifeng - City Walk (3)


Kaifeng - City Walk (4)

Kaifeng - City Walk (4)


Kaifeng - City Walk (5)

Kaifeng - City Walk (5)


Kaifeng - City Walk (6)

Kaifeng - City Walk (6)


Kaifeng - City Walk (7)

Kaifeng - City Walk (7)


Kaifeng - City Walk (8)

Kaifeng - City Walk (8)


Kaifeng - City Walk (9)

Kaifeng - City Walk (9)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (1)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (1)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (10)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (10)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (11)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (11)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (12)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (12)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (13)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (13)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (14)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (14)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (2)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (2)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (3)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (3)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (4)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (4)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (5)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (5)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (6)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (6)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (7)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (7)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (8)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (8)


Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (9)

Kaifeng - Grand Buddha Temple (9)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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