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Court Yards N Tunnels N Across The Bridge Noodles

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya What a fantastic day I had today! Last night I spent until well after closing time with a couple from Belgium chatting about all things China. They were after a backup plan in case Plan A didn't work out and as Plan A was going to Tibet I deiced to sit them down and talk some serious Guangxi and Yunnan Province talk. We covered the Guilin area and very much most of Yunnan from north to south where you can find my favourite place in the world The Xishuangbanna Region. Much of the conversation was about how to actually get there. I suggested the Sichuan to Tibet Highway but due to all the rain the region has been receiving who knows how safe the roads are that take you through the Chinese Himalayas. I know how safe it wasn't when Judy and I passed through about a year and a half ago. So I guess that pretty much leaves the journey south to Guilin/Yangshuo a much safer adventure. Anyhow not for me to make a decision for them on what to do and where to go so they will decide when it is time for them to leave Xian city where they are slowly making their way to as I type this. The lucky buggers even managed to get a sleeper ticket! Today&shy;.I rose and met the Belgium's for breakfast at 9:00 this morning and after our omelets and yoghurt we packed ourselves into the small hatchback we had booked the previous evening with a drive and a guide. About an hour or less north of Pingyao can be found a huge home of a former merchant family known as the Wang Family Courtyard House. I won't bother trying to describe it in my own words and I'll let those of the LP describe it for you; More of a conspicuous castle than a cosy home, impressive in grandeur (with one hundred and twenty three courtyards) but somewhat redundant and lacking in furnishings.[/i] Last summer I visited many Former Residencies of Merchants (mostly salt) near the east coast but this one was much larger in size than almost all of them put together. It was huge and we only got to see a small portion of it. The story in short is that Mr Wang made his fortune making and selling Tofu. He offered the best quality at a fair price and pretty much put everyone else out of business. He was supposedly well loved as he gave much of his money away. He also helped developed the area by building many bridges and roads. We then headed for a delicious lunch in a small local eatery where we were all looking forward to tasting one of the local delights called Double Noodles. They are made by using both white and red pastry. By the end of our meal we sat waiting for our Double Noodles and in the end gave in. While paying we had our guide ask what happened to our local delight and they proceeded to show us that the small bowls of flat noodles we were given had a small tinge of red to them. HHHhhhmmm! Strangely none of us could see even the slightest tinge of red to them! We then drove another twenty or so minutes so our next destination and the one that Fritz (Mr Belgium) was dreading. Being claustrophobic he really wasn't looking forward to exploring beneath the ground in dark, cold and gloomy caves. Beneath a small rural village are a set of tunnels that only became known sometime in the past few years. They extend for over five kilometers and are full of tiny rooms where soldiers and peasants could hide and rest. They were built supposedly about one thousand years ago to hide the village folk from the invading Japanese army. They are known as the Zhang Bi Tunnels. At this stage only around one kilometer has been widened and made safe for the public. By the time we got home it was around five and it was time for a rest. Some music and cold beer would have been a pleasure but sadly from early morning until around six or seven in the evening Pingyao and many towns around the area have to live each day without the luxury of electricity as it is taken away from them and directed to Beijing City. Now, simply sit back and think about this! How much power does the government in China actually have? So much so that they simply wave their magic wand and millions go without power each day to enable Beijing City to function in comfort and no body says a damn thing! Around half past seven the welcoming sound of music could be heard and by eight the romantic charm of the cities red lanterns set the scene for a real live movie. Pity I had no beauty to walk the ancient cobble stones with but hey, I&iexcl;&macr;m in the ancient walled town of Pingyao and why bother to question why my hand is empty on such a wonderful evening. For those like me who love the food from Yunnan Province. There can be found a cafe called Across the Bridge Noodles. And this eatery serves a huge steaming bowl of the Yunnan local dish. There was a very cute English girl with us and after I found out she had spent several weeks in Yunnan Province I simply said, Aacross the bridge noodles want some? Within a millionth of a second a huge smile appeared on her face. Within the hour she, the Belgium's, Mr France and I sat happily slurping our huge bowls of Yunnan's across the bridge noodles and I must say, the Belgiums and Mr France were all very happy with the fact that sometime in the next two weeks they will be visiting Yunnan Province. Around ten we all said our goodbyes to the cute English girl and The Belgiums. Mr France and I shared a beer over talk of the Olympic Games. He was once a super Water Polo player and even played for Frances National Team so he will slowly make his way down through Yunnan Province and then back up to Beijing in time for the Olympics. Beers N Noodles toya&iexcl;&shy;..shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by The Doors The album was 'In Concert' __________________________________________________________ <u>Wang Family Courtyard House or Wang Jia Dayuan: [/i] </u></b> [/i]</b> Wang's Compound is located in Jingsheng Town, Lingshi County, 35 kilometers (about 22 miles) from Pingyao Ancient City and 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) from Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province. It is a luxurious residence built during 1762-1811 by the descendants of the Wang Family, one of the Four Families of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Shanxi Province. [/i] [/i] The compound occupies a total area of 150,000 square meters (about 179,399 square yards), of which 45,000 square meters (about 53,820 square yards) has been declares as a provincial protective cultural relic. [/i] [/i] Wang's Compound is not only an example of residential architecture, but also a museum of architectural art. Its sculptures of stone, wood and brick can be found everywhere in the courtyard. The crafts are refined and exquisite. Today, the architectural groups open for viewing are Gaojia Ya, Hongmen Bao, Chongning Bao, etc. [/i] [/i] Altogether there are 231 courtyards and 2,078 houses.[/i] [/i] East Courtyard, informally called Gaojia Ya, was built during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820) of the Qing Dynasty. It was open to the public as the Art Hall of Chinese Residences on August 18th, 1997. The complexity of the structures will make you feel like you are moving through a labyrinth. It is a cluster of courtyards, each with its own kitchen yard and private school yard. In the middle sector are two main courtyards and Beiwei Yard. In front of the main yards is a long alleyway measuring 127 meters (about 417 feet) in length and 11 meters (about 36 feet) in width. [/i] [/i] To the northeast is a small side-yard while in the southwest there is a large side-yard. At the four sides of the East Courtyard there are four gates; east gate (to the east of the long alleyway), south gate (in the middle of the alleyway), west gate (to the southwest of the large side-yard) and north gate&pound;&uml;to the northeast of the small side-yard). You will find a large number of items belonging to the Family Wang on display in the East Courtyard. [/i] [/i] Opposite to the west gate of East Courtyard is West Courtyard, informally called Hongmen Bao. Hongmen Bao means Red Gate Castle, taking its name from the only red gate facing the main street. [/i] The castle is 105 meters (about 344 feet) wide from west to east and 180 meters (about 591 feet) long from north to south, presenting in the shape of a regular rectangle. The main street measuring 133 meters (about 436 feet) in length and 3.6 meters (about 11.8 feet) in width divides the whole courtyard into two main areas. Three alleys of west-east direction cross with the main street, thus presenting the Chinese character 'Wang'. Hongmen Bao has 27 courtyards of different styles, splendid or delicate. The Wang Museum in the courtyard is the only example of Wang culture throughout the world. [/i][/i] [/i] Chongning Bao was built cooperatively by Wang and other Family in 1725. The style is similar to that of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Liqun Art Hall is located inside the castle. Liqun is a famous painter. Many of his works are displayed in this hall. [/i] [/i] The Painting and Calligraphy Hall displays hundreds of excellent works while Treasure Hall contains collections of furnishings, old coins, porcelains, rare stones and jade carvings. [/i] [/i] Both displays are open to the public.

Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


1-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

1-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


2-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

2-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


3-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

3-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


4-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

4-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


5-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

5-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


6-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

6-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


7-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

7-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


8-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

8-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


9-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

9-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


10-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

10-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


11-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

11-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


12-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

12-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


13-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

13-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


14-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

14-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


15-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

15-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


16-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

16-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


17-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

17-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


18-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

18-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


19-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

19-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


20-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

20-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


21-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

21-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


22-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

22-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


23-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

23-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


24-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

24-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


25-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

25-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


26-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

26-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


27-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

27-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


28-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

28-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels


29-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

29-Wangs Court Yard &#38;amp; Zhang Bi Tunnels

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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