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Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, After a night spent in and out of half sleep onboard the Beijing bound train I rose for a coffee at seven when the lights and the crazy morning train music came on. Most mornings when I wake onboard a Chinese train I wish for a chance to stream the train radio into a real breakfast show like the JJJ, RRR or PBS breakfast shows. Strangely though I find streaming into (or is it onto?) a western radio station very distractive, in fact I find it almost impossible to concentrate on doing what ever it is I am supposed to be doing. I guess only those who have lived away from their homeland for a long period of time in a non-English speaking country could really understand. I find now when I am working on lessons or a blog etc I don't listen to my favorite radio stations from home because between songs when the DJ is speaking I simply can't concentrate and my mind fully focuses on whatever mumbo jumbo they are talking about on the radio. It was the same for me when I arrived back in Australia eight years ago. After a long period travelling Asia no matter where I sat I would become totally absorbed in ALL the conversations around me to a point that it was most probably bloody rude, but no matter how hard I tried to block them out it was impossible. For those who have left their country and have travelled to an Asian country for a short period of time it is the same but around the other way. All the sounds are new and so alien that you find it impossible to concentrate on reading the English novel you have in your hands. All around you you can hear the clickity clack of a new language, tuk tuks passing by, bells and whistles and a million other things that just don't exist back home. So tonight my plan is to piece together and write this without shutting down the radio and returning to the comforts of my iPod. So far I'm not doing a very good job at all! Back to it! Around eight in the morning and after saying good bye to my Beijing bound friends I grabbed my pack and departed the train at Zhengzhou station where I was met by Ying with a big happy smile. We headed across to McD's for an ElcheapO coffee and some Mc Muffins and a catch up chat. We then headed to his uncles place for what was supposed to be a small session of green tea, but of course that soon turned into a huge lunch of dumplings and a few too many rice wines. Which of course is just what you need at ten in the morning after barely any sleep the night before! Around mid day we were pottering along the Zhengzhou - Kaifeng Highway chatting about how quickly Zhengzhou was growing and that it would soon be swallowing Kaifeng as one if its suburbs. Ying believes that Kaifeng will lose its name and become part of Zhengzhou but I rather doubt that the Chinese government would allow one of its famous ancient cities to be lost into the present day growth of China. Especially one that has an even more ancient city buried nine meters beneath the current one! After checking into my usual beautiful family run hotel I spent the afternoon sobering up whilst doing some hand washing and then sleeping. Around six I finally heard the happy tapping at my door that I had been waiting to hear since I left Xian over a month ago. I rushed to the door to find Luo Wei with a big happy smile on her face and after jumping around yelling and screaming like teenagers we headed out into the cold winters evening and raced across to the night market for some catch up food.

(Luo Wei was back in her home city visiting her mother for Spring Festival) For those of you who don't know, Kaifeng city is one of my most favourite cities here in China and besides the Jinghong city (Xishuangbanna) night food market, Kaifengs night market would be at the top of my list. Of course there are others that are much bigger, but you must remember, it's not the size of the food market, it's what you do with it that counts! The Kaifeng night market runs the entire length of Madao Jie all the way down to the end of Shundian Jie (which is a good couple of blocks). About half way down it also turns into Gulou Jie in both directions and here is what the LP has to say about it and believe me, I couldn't agree more as I think it has some of the most tastiest road side snacks in China and no matter how hot or cold it is it always seems to have 'that vibe' you are after whilst travelling and at a night market. This veritable marvel and phenomenon alone justifies trips to Kaifeng! [/i] [/i] Join the scrums weaving between stalls busy with hollering Hui Muslim chefs cooking up kebabs and nan bread, red faced popcorn sellers and vendors of shao-bing (sesame-seed cakes), cured meats, foul-smelling chou-ganzi (stinky tofu), sweet potato's, crab kebabs, seafood kebabs, sugar-coated pears and Thai scented cakes.. [/i] [/i] Among the flames jetting from ovens and steam rising in clouds prance the vendors of Xingren Cha (almond tea), a sugary sauce made from boiling water thickened with powdered almond, red berries, peanuts, sesame seeds and crystallized cherries. A bowl costs a mere handful of Kai and two or three bowls constitute a very sweet meal. [/i] [/i] Xingren Cha stalls stand out for their unique red pompom-adorned dragon-spouted copper kettles. [/i] [/i] Also set out to sample is Rouhe which is a local snack of fried vegetables and pork, or mutton, stuffed into a pocket of flat bread. Join the locals at one of the rickety tables and the market peters out into stalls selling clothes, toys, DVD's and books.. [/i] Needless to say that the fact that both of us 'weren't that hungry' didn't stop us from gorging ourselves on all different types of kebabs and an elephant sized 'vegetable pocket' each. Well, to be honest mine was more the elephant sized one and Luo Wei's was more a small teddy bear sized one. Whenever I'm in Kaifeng I simply love coming to this night market and slowly walking around feasting on anything and everything that is sizzling anywhere near by. And I do call 'anywhere nearby' anything within a two hundred meter radius. I then walked Luo Wei up to Dong Dajie (the northern end of the market) where we sadly said good night and then waved goodbye as the cab sped her off towards home. I then slowly dragged my heels back through the crowds as stalls were being pulled down. I even managed to squeeze in two more kebabs before I headed across to Zhongshan Lu to the warmth of my little hotel room. As I have only been here in summer time, I can say one thing about being back here in the winter time. I am thankful for my last 'Winter Purchase' prior to leaving Xian for Guangzhou. As my normal jacket cost only a handful of Yuan several years ago when I was in Shangrila it has done sweet bugger keeping me warm in Shangzhou since winter hit. In fact it really hasn't done much of a job keeping me warm at all over the past few years, I've just been too skimpy to fork out money on a descent jacket so I bit the bullet and finally handed over a hand full of cash for a 'real' winter jacket at Jack Wolfskin. The next few days in Kaifeng found me re-visiting the cities maze of back streets during the day and back at the night market with Luo Wei in the evenings eating more than our fair share of delicious street snacks. I also managed to tick off two things I have wanted to do in Kaifeng which were to walk a part of the city wall that has been restored to its former glory and to also find the new Kaifeng which of course would be found outside the city walls. If you enter Kaifeng from Zhengzhou or Louyang, just as you arrive in Kaifeng city you will see a round-a-bout with a large silver sculpture in the middle. When you see this, on the right of your bus you will see what looks like a 'City Wall' or something similar. As you approach this or drive away from it you will also see what looks like a large temple and several pagodas dominating the horizon. This is where I was told I would find the new city and also on my way there I would find a walkable part of the wall. I have walked many different parts of the wall over the past few years but on previous visits I have aimed for the parts that have been left to decay and have become overgrown. Over the next few years the Kaifeng city walls will be totally restored and all those living close by will be pushed aside and given less than a tenth of what their assets are worth and sadly Luo Weis mother falls into this category. Never having owned anything in her entire life and finally managing to scrape enough to purchase a tiny one bedroom apartment with out heating or enough electricity to run a tiny heater and one light globe in the bitter northern winters, sometime in the near future she will find herself back where she started many years ago, on the side walk with nothing. Back to my city wall and new and old Kaifeng adventure. I began my journey in a little alleyway just off Zhongshan Lu which is just around the corner from my hotel. I began with a huge hearty bowl of noodles mixed with vegetables and potato and then slowly wound my way through the ancient yet familiar tiny ancient streets lined with historic brick and earthen houses until I reached Ximen Dajie near the West Gate of the city. Here I wanted to visit another familiar ancient part of the city and its houses that were beginning to be demolished at the end of last summers Beers N Noodles Adventure. Between Ximen Dajie and the Kaifeng Riverside Scenic Area I found what I expected. The old had been mostly demolished and the new was just beginning to be erected. I was met by bare earth and rubble with only a few old houses clutching at straws. I then made my way to the West Gate where for 10 Yuan I spent an hour walking on the wall and visiting the small museum that is housed in the gate house upon the ancient gate. Kaifeng is ringed by a relatively intact, much restored Qing Dynasty wall. Encased with grey bricks, the ramparts can be scaled at various points along the perimeter, including the South and West Gates. Today's bastion was built on the foundations of the Song Dynasty Inner Wall (AD960 to 1279). Rising up beyond was once the mighty, now buried Outer Wall, a huge construction containing eighteen gates, which looped south of the Po Pagoda, while the Imperial Wall protected the Imperial Palace which can be now found in and known as Longting Park where you can find and climb the Dragon Pavilion which is surrounded by both Yangjia and Panjia Lakes. I left the gates and continued walking along the outer Ximen Dajie and caught Bus No: 13 (you can also catch Bus No 11) westwards towards the answer to my question of 'the new Kaifeng' that I would find out beyond the cities ancient walls at the new square. When I arrived I was met by many people, the old were flying kites and the young either watching the huge television screen that was showing highlights of the Australian Open or roller blading around the squares water fountain. When I stopped to watch the television screen it was showing Melbourne's Tennis Center. I felt like jumping up and down and yelling, Hey Hey, that is where I am from! I used to walk past that every morning on my way to work from Richmond! Directly across the road I saw the wall and gates that I first saw a year and a half ago. After crossing and dodging all the invisible kite lines with my head intact I was met by empty ticket booths so I headed around the corner and after watching several kids running in and out of a hole in the wall I entered to find myself in a derelict and overgrown part of what I gathered after looking across the lake, was a unfinished part of either a huge and new private residential area or city square. After noticing many people on the finished side I decided to walk around the wall and find out. What I found was a beautiful lake side park that was yet to be completed that was surrounded by many new residential areas that could be easily compared to those that can be found surrounding West Lake in Hangzhou or any of those found lake side in Australia. I can't say I was surprised when I found signs reading 'construction by Hangzhou building group'. It was simply stunning and when completed will bring the ancient city of Kaifeng well into the modern arena. As stunning as it was I found walking around the areas away from the lake side to be very dull and boring. I found no road side stalls offering meaty treats or drinks and anything exciting like that that can be found within the walls of the ancient city not so far away. When I received a phone call from Luo Wei wanting to meet for dinner I was glad to leave the area. We spent our last dinner together for the next several weeks and then spent the next several hours walking around the night market area before I put Luo Wei in a cab home. I then headed to the lake area to watch the locals letting off booming fireworks that continually set off both car and motor bike alarms. Amongst the booming sounds people were using whips to keep spinning tops spinning and others were setting alight paper lanterns that began to fill the skies above. After an hour or so of watching the latter and staring dreamingly across the lake at the beautifully lit Dragon Pavilion and its surrounding bridges where Luo Wei and I spent our first night together when we first met nearly two years. I then slowly walked back to the Night Market for some more seafood and meat kebabs before heading back to the warmth of my hotel room where no matter how tired I am I am always welcomed by a half naked Britney willing to share a warm shower with me before bed. After a beautiful sleep I packed, checking out and left my bag at the front desk. I then headed into the little alleyways in search of something delicious for breakfast. During my feast of dumplings I got a call from Luo Wei and then headed to the KFC near the lake area to meet her and her friend. We all shared coffee and they then headed their way and I headed mine. They went shopping and I headed into the back into the alleyways in search of some new Ancient Things I have not come across in past visits. Around two thirty we caught a bus to the train station where we said our sad good byes and I went to catch my train. Of course it was over half an hour late and finally just after four I headed to the platform. Here I met a wonderful guy and his delightful daughter. He was so proud of his daughter and loved her so much it nearly bought tears to my eyes. His English was outstanding as was his daughters who mind you, was aged around five. He is neither a teacher nor a professor in the English language but he spends several hours each night studying the English language simply so he can pass it onto his daughter to help make her future better than his was. He was raised during the Cultural Revolution which is a time period that I will never be able to comprehend. Sadly they left the train at Zhengzhou City and from there I listened to my MP3 player and finally arrived in Xian around half past one in the morning Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ___________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by John Butler Trio The album was 'Extras' ___________________________________________

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks


Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Kaifeng Ancient & The New. Life,Walls Food & Parks

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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