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A Zili Village Diaolou Cluster of an Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Kaiping has long been a major hometown for immigrants, many of whom brought the ideas and architectural styles of the West back to Kaiping. The diaolous (large castle like houses) primarily use the Romanesque, Islamic, Baroque and Rococo architectural styles and decorative forms. They were mainly made of reinforced concrete, which was rare in Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. On the exterior, the buildings are typically western; but inside everything, from the frescos to the utensils, are of traditional Chinese style.

So you guess it, I can now be found in Kaiping city!

I yesterday morning in Meizhou city with no idea where to go next so I did what I have done on many occasions in the past and simply packed, checked out and headed to the bus station with my Lonely Planet in hand reading as I walked and hoped for the best that I didn’t get hit by a passing car that that decided to use the foot path as a motorway.

Thankfully I arrived in one piece and during my five minute walk I decided to do what any normal person would do, grab a ticket to Guangzhou city and during the bus ride do my best to make a decision.

The journey back to Guangzhou took around five hours and during that time I had decided to grab a hotel room, catch up on some blogs and see what happened the following day. But instead once I arrived at the bus station I figured why not see what times the buses headed to either Kaiping city, Quingyuan town or Zhaoqinig city in the morning. When I arrived at the ticket window I began asking what times the buses left for Kaiping city the following day and within seconds I had a ticket thrust at me and an impatient ticket lady waiting for payment.

Ok then! I guess that’s that decision out of the way!

Nearly three hours later after a harrowing journey during which the heavens decided to unload the entire South China Sea on us and the bus driver who was obviously going to get laid upon arrival as he was doing his best to break the sound barrier, we arrived in Kaiping which can be found amongst the humidity a little west from Macao and Hong Kong. After failing to find both a hand held map or a bus station map of the city I grabbed a cab and asked the driver to take me anywhere but the new part of the city but where he took me had to have night food markets and maybe a KFC for me to write in whilst slurping on an ElcheapO coffee and a few minutes later I ended up here. One night later I still don’t know where 'here’ is as I am still to find an English map or any map for that matter, so I still have no idea where I am but I am near the main river and surrounding me are streets full of vibrant night markets and a very noisy KFC in which to write and drink coffee.

What more could a man want? Beautiful Chinese girls in tiny denim shorts and high heels…. yep, got that too!

Last night when I was writing in KFC I met an American/Chinese family who took an interest in me after their ten year old daughter kept coming over to me and asking questions about where I was from and what I was doing here in China etc. I was totally astounded at her level of English until I realised that she was actually from America and not a Chinese who has had a private American tutor since birth. I then got to chatting to her parents who then happily decided to add me to their adventure today to the Zili Village Diaolou Cluster.

As it rained most of the day so I did some hand washing and read and slept until I got the call to race down stairs. By the time we arrived we only had a few hours to see what the village was all about. Even though it was short it was an awesome adventure during which Lisa (the daughter) and I raced around the village chasing each other up and down Diaolou stair cases getting scolded by the Chinese gate/house ladies on more than several occasions.

It was too late to visit anymore villages and the sky above seriously looked like it too would scold us if we even tried so we decided to share a delicious local people’s meal at a small restaurant on the way back to Kaiping city. Sadly they had travelled from Guangzhou the day before and had waited impatiently for the rain to stop so they could get their fill of the local Diaolou before boarding a plane back to Beijing and all they got to see was one small village. But as they say, better one village than none.

A big thanks goes to Brian (Lisa’s father) who helped me orgainise a driver for tomorrow and paid most of the tab for me against my pleas. What can I say, even the overseas Chinese are still very much Chinese!

But I already knew that didn't Hangzhou Greentrails Barry!

<u>Zili Village Diaolou Cluster</u>

Located in Tangkou Town, Kaiping City, Zili village consists of three sub-villages constructed between 1821 and 1920. There is a cluster of nine Diaolou and a group of six western style villas along with single story houses. The single story houses are built with blue brick and tiled roof amongst the paddy field. Most of the houses have a layout known as "three sections/two gates". The Diaolou are Anlu, Juanlou, Longshenglou, Mingshilou, Quianjulou, Yinonglou, Yunhualou, Zhenanlou and Zhulinglou. They were built around the same time, in the 1920s, and in similar circumstances, their owners being prosperous emigrants from Malaya, Chicago and elsewhere returning to their roots.

Although differing in decorative detail, the Diaolou are all built of reinforced concrete and are similar in concept: five or six stories high with a &#8216;balustrade’ terrace at low level and &#8216;arcaded loggias’ at the top level to catch the breeze and all have the ancestral shrine. At Mingshilou, the upper floors are particularly ornate with the ancestral room carved and gilded with images representing traditional cultural values, while the architectural detail incorporates half-enclosed turrets and pavilions decorated with Ionic columns and green glass.

Several of the Diaolou contain well preserved original furniture and fittings as well as ephemera dating from the time of their construction altogether presenting a complete picture of the success and aspirations of returning Kaiping emigrants. In June 2001 the Zili Village was designated by the State Council as a National Cultural Heritage preservation site. In June 2007 the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (“UNESCO”) inscribed Zili Village on its World Cultural Heritage List.

Mate I can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s adventure brings! Please don’t rain….pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Eskimo Joe The album was &#8216;A Song Is A City’ ____________________________________________________________

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster


Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Kaiping Zili Village Diaolou Cluster

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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