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A Beautiful Ancient Bridge & City Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Upon awakening I knew it was time to leave Da Likeng village by the amount of mosquito bites I had received during my sweltering mostly sleepless night. My air-conditioner was no match for the heat of my second floor room. After packing I opened my door to find a very cool rest of the house and questioned myself as to why I simply didn’t just move to the hotel near the village gate last night.

After boarding the bus back to Wuyuan city I got to chatting to two Chinese students who had also stayed in the village last night. Both were locals who were home visiting their families for the summer holidays. Terry (who’s English was excellent) goes to University in Xian city so we both had much to talk about and Titan, who could understand everything I said but had a lot of trouble speaking, attends Nanchang university. I had been debating with myself as to where I should go next, either to Jingdezhen city or to take in one more village here in the Wuyuan area.

My decision was made when I found out they were both heading to Qinghua village.

Qinghua village is situated about half an hour by bus from Wuyuan city and for those wishing to visit both this village and Da Likeng you can do both as Qinghua village can easily be reached by telling your bus driver to drop you off there on the way back to Wuyuan city. I hadn’t bothered reading or checking the internet about this village but I soon found I should have. When we arrived at the ticket office both Terry and Titan were very surprised at the 60Yuan entrance fee. As there were many tour buses in the car park I thought it must be a beautiful village like Xiao Likeng which had the same entrance fee so I figured, why not stay a few nights here in Qinghua village.

I then found out that the 60 Yuan ticket only gets you into see Caihong Bridge. The rest of the village is actually free AND if you know prior to arriving, so is the bridge.

After I purchased my ticket we all said our good byes and swapped QQ Numbers (like MSN cross Facebook – yes China had their own Facebook long before we did) and I headed into what I thought was going to be a stunning village where I would stay a few nights. Not long after, both Titan and Terry came bounding towards me from another pathway and after I asked how they got in they informed me that there are many small laneways leading off the main road that take you to the bridge.

I can’t say that made me very happy as my morning kind of went like this;

When I left my accommodation I wanted a quick snack so I wanted to buy some instant noodles with hot water and the guy wanted 8 Yuan for them. I said no they are worth 3 Yuan or 4 Yuan at most. He said no and I then watched two young boys pay 4 Yuan for what I just asked for. Amazed at what I had just watched happen right before my very eyes I then asked for noodles again and he once again asked for 8 Yuan. I called him the Chinese version of our F & C’s and moved on to another place to buy a drink for the bus and was asked to pay 7 Yuan for a 4 Yuan drink and I corrected her and she then corrected me and we then corrected each other with a big smile and finally she agreed to 4 Yuan.

After boarding bus I then watched Terry and Titan pay 12 Yuan for a ticket I paid 15 Yuan for. I then stupidly paid 60 Yuan to visit a bridge (that is very beautiful and does have history). They are all small amounts but they soon add up in total frustration!

In the end though you have to smile and just say 'What the &%#*’ or your day is spoilt so I moved on and we then headed to the main attraction of this FREE village. The Caihong Bridge is an eight hundred year old Southern Song Dynasty bridge (AD1127 to 1279) that not only has stunning river views but comes complete with an ancient water wheel that powers wooden hammers that were once used to do all the village grinding and even now one set of hammers is kept operational for you to view.

It really is an amazing set up and one well worth visiting, but not worth the 60 Yuan entrance fee. If you find yourself here enter the village from a small lane way off the main road.

Our visit came complete with a spectacular thunder and lightening storm after which we found that the umbrella Terry had borrowed from a friend’s mother who works in a local store had been stolen. Thankfully the storm had run out of energy and we got to visit the local temple and some of the village without further down pours. By now I was starving and had had enough of villages for this week and decided to head back to Wuyuan city where both my new friends were born and raised.

Once we arrived in Wuyuan we once again said our good byes. I then headed off to find a hotel for the next two nights.

If you are starving on your way to Wuyuan city the bus station area is filled to the brim with small streets that are totally packed with awesome eateries where you can get your fill of everything from dumplings, noodles, rice and pick and point vegetable meals. Being a tourist city (population of around only 40,000) there are more than enough cheap yet comfortable hotels to be found along the main road the bus station runs off. So I am now thinking that for those who want to simply visit some totally stunning ancient villages and don’t want to be as adventures as me and scamper off out in to the fields and mountains in search of things unknown then it is easily possible to base yourself in Wuyuan city and take day trips to each village as they are all between fifteen minutes to one hour away by bus.

Also in Wuyuan city you have a huge selection of cheap eateries and comfortable hotels to choose from.

After an hours rest in my wonderfully cool hotel room I had just headed out in search of some of the cities night sites when I got a call from Terry. I then spent the rest of the evening with Terry and his parents who took me across the river to the cities new square and then to the beautiful Huizhou style shopping street. As we walked they told me of the changes that have been occurring over the last three or four years. Only three years ago the entire area across the city where the huge new Peoples Square can now be found was farm land.

The new Huizhou style shopping mall which even I found to be more than attractive has actually been built with hand carved wooden architecture just like yesteryear.

We tourists pay money to visit villages that are filled with ancient buildings and hand carved wooden facades etc yet here I was walking around the exact same thing yet it was all built over the past three years. I also found a 2 Yuan store that made a little home sick for a few seconds. I have come across them before but not with the name 2 Yuan which is the same as our 2 Dollar store and both here and at home they stocked with identical products. The one item that really made me almost fall over laughing was the deck of playing cards I found called ‘Foreigner Women’ Playing Cards. I can’t believe how almost identical the stores really are as in ours we could once by Asian Girl playing cards.

My plan tomorrow is to spend the day wandering around the river side parks and gardens and to then head back to the shopping street. It maybe new but I think the hand carved paneling is more than worth a second visit.

<u>TOMORROW (which is now Today), Sunday, 16th August 2009 </u>

Today I rose early and headed out to discover what makes the tourist city of Wuyuan really tick. I can’t say that I really found much at all that would keep me here for an extra day or two.

It was a lovely day spent walking and in several months the river side walk will be a huge attraction but at the moment it is only half complete. I spent half my time on the far side of the river where I found small pockets of old Huizhou Style homes but most of them have been demolished and there are new apartment blocks taking over almost everything. I had a wonderful lunch in a tiny poor eatery where I chose what vegetables I wanted and the beautiful lady mixed them together and made me the most awesome mixed veggies and rice dish I’ve eaten in a long time. While I was eating I noticed the family’s young daughter learning how to tell the time in Chinese so I sat where here and taught her the time in Chinese.

That was a first! She was so happy and we even shared some of my lunch which made her giggle.

I spent the rest of my afternoon on the main side of the river and found quite a lot of small alleyways to wander around and spend time in but just like the other side, the apartment blocks are taking over almost everything in Wuyuan city and I mean everything. It actually reminded me a lot of when I was in WenZhou city in Zhejiang Province on the east coast several years ago. Now that is a city determined to destroy its entire past including any thing worthy of interest. They are so into living the new and comfortable life style that is offered to those in the more prosperous area of China.

Around dinner time I grabbed a cab and headed to Terry’s home for dinner after which his parents drove us to a beautiful Taoist Temple not far from the city. Sadly by the time we got there it was closed so after a short stay we then headed to the city’s famous High School in which Terry’s father is both the Chairman and the top history teacher.

Once again I was taken in by a family of locals who made my visit to a far off city a wonderful adventure.

I will keep in touch with Terry who I’m sure will be a willing participant for a beer or three given the opportunity during any spare time he has from uni. So Wuyuan or Ziyangzhen as it is also known, is worth a days leisurely stroll along its river side walks and find the small pockets of alleys surrounded by old homes but most would find it a more attractive place to sleep and find something to eat beneath its colourful night lights.

So I’ll end this blog with a quote from the LP; The old area of Wuyuan town is worth a look but most travelers will need no excuses before immersing themselves in the regions tantalizing bucolic charms way out beyond the shabby suburbs. (My end quote); most though would find the menus offered back in the city more attractive than those offered way out beyond the shabby suburbs and so ends my Wuyuan are adventure.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: Oh yes, I forgot to remind you. As seen in one of the photos, please don’t forget NOT to drive in Wuyuan city with either a skeleton on the roof of your car or with the roof of your car actually on fire. I know we like to do that in the west (not) but being the up and coming major tourist hub for this newly opened area I guess the local government just wanted to remind all tourists that this isn’t allowed in the area. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Melbourne’s You Am I The album was Hourly Daily’ ____________________________________________________________

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village

Caihong Bridge in Qinghua Village


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure


Wuyuan City Adventure

Wuyuan City Adventure

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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