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Funkinout in Fenghuang Old Town Man

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Well it had to happen one day didn’t it and it couldn’t have happed in better place! I have been travelling around China for five and a half years and always full of health. So where can I now be found slurping my Beers N Noodles?

'Feng Huang' is Chinese for 'Phoenix', the mythical bird of good omen and longevity that is consumed by fire to be re-born again from the flames. Feng Huang Cheng or Phoenix Town is so called as legend has it that two of these fabulous birds flew over it and found the town so beautiful that they hovered there, reluctant to leave.

Around me Fenghuang Old Town is buzzing, both sides of the Tuo River have changed shift and now everyone is wearing their night face and with full stomachs are either meandering the night markets or cooling off in one of the many bars/cafés/eateries that line both sides of the river. After several hours rest I managed to hobble and limp my way ten meters from my hotel to what Simon and I have dubbed the 'Nine Sisters’ Noodle Bar due to the direct translation of one of, if not THE best bowl of noodles both of us have ever tasted.

Yes I’m saying that they are better than the amazing Two Yuan Noodles in Hanzhong city! So what’s with all the hobbling and limping? It was a movie moment indeed! But we’ll get to that soon.

Last night western Hunan Province put on a delightful stormy night that had the night skies flashing for hours. We could have done with a little more thunder but hey, at least we are far away from the storms that are once again creating havoc here in southern China. When I woke this morning I woke to rain so what does one do in such a situation, roll over and go back to sleep without any thought of setting an alarm. I woke around mid day and thankfully after my shower the rain had stopped and the ground was almost dry so I headed out into the Old Town’s funky vibrant streets in search of some new and tasty snacks along with an adventure.

I decided to head out of the old town and spend some time pondering around the newer city.

After checking out a heap of the back streets I was making my way back to one of the city gates to head back into the old town when coming towards me was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and of course when she saw me the feeling was mutual (hahaha I wish…but maybe…let me finish!) and next came a crazy movie moment. After eye contact we began the mating ritual by showing each other our pearly whites. As a have a good set of strong and healthy choppers next was the introduction of Oral…Communication.

Come on you…get it out of the gutter! What did you think I meant? And then it happened!

Just as we said hello we both tripped on the same piece of pipe that made its way across (not beneath) the footpath (yep, you have to love China!). She fell forward breaking the heel from her shoe and my foot got caught under the pipe and as I was trying to stop her from falling I twisted or badly bruised my foot. Thankfully neither of us actually planted our face into the footpath so the crowd that gathered around us was only around three million.

Not the usual ten million who appear out of nowhere when something goes astray in China.

After helping each other up and saying how romantic it was that we met whilst catching each other we swapped both QQ and phone numbers and sadly she had to continue on her way to the bus station as she was on her way home to Wuhan city to see her family. After watching her disappear into the crowded street I then hobbled my way back into the old town. Instead of doing what most would have done, that being head home to rest my foot, me being stupid me decided to check out the two pagodas that sit opposite each other across the river which are of course also up small hills.

Just what the doctor ordered!

By the time I reached my side of the river I could barely walk let alone hop or limp so I decided to drop into the next café that I came across which was the funky little ‘Forever Café’. Strangely in English out the front it offered rooms and delicious food, along with that were the shelves of English novels and on top of that add all of the photos of western musicians and actors then one would not feel stupid expecting an English menu would one!

Food and drink wise the only English on offer was wrapped around cold bottles of beer. So being male and in huge pain, I was of course on the verge of dying. Several ice cold stubbies of Carlsberg was the required remedy.

<u>Fenghuang Village</u>

The town is situated on the western boundary of Hunan Province in an area of outstanding natural beauty where mountains, water and blue skies prevail. Upon entering the town you will more than be impressed by its air of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity.

This is also a world that is dominated by the colour green.

The mountain slopes are covered with green foliage, the fields are green and even the Tuo Jiang River reflects the greenery. The bridges over the water and unique houses built on stilts display a harmony that is so often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings. This is particularly true when mist pervades the scene in the early morning or after rain. It soon becomes apparent that the claim to being one of the two most beautiful towns in the whole of China is more than justified;

The other town is Chang Ting in Fujian Province.

Feng Huang Cheng is a wonderful example of what villages were like prior to the onset of modernisation. Here dozens of alleys paved with flagstones run between the houses, each showing wear caused by the feet of generations of local people who have used them when going about their daily business. These alleys are the way to see the typical high gabled wooden houses built on stilts along the banks of the Tuo Jiang River at close quarters.

Stretching diagonally from the northwest to southeast of the town, Tuo Jiang River is a life force of the local people. Here in its waters women wash their clothes and the men fish with their nets, while on the bank food is prepared in much the same way as it has for centuries. The river also provides a means for boatmen to support their families by ferrying tourists up and down stream so that they may admire the many splendors of the town.

The Miao ethnic minority is predominantly settled here and a visit to a Miao village is a must when going to Feng Huang Cheng.

The Miao women have a natural beauty that renders the use of cosmetics quite unnecessary. They love to dress in traditional blue garments set off with a white scarf. They love also their silver jewellery especially during festivals. Visitors will find a large array of handmade items of silver ornaments for sale in the local shops. Homemade tie-dyes, printed and batik cloths are other local specialties that make wonderful souvenirs. The Miao are friendly and hospitable and like nothing more than to interact with visitors with a variety of traditional entertainments and activities. Food here also is different from that found elsewhere in China. Pickled red peppers are a particular local delicacy and their appetizing smell wafts from the many small family run restaurants.

In many ways, life has not changed here for centuries and this is typified by the tough, hard working yet simple-hearted people. Feng Huang Cheng offers the visitor from both home and abroad a view of a quite different China from anything experienced in the modern cities and large conurbations that are more widely known.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Grin Spoon. The album was &#8216;Thrills Kills and Sunday Pills’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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