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Cobble Stone Streets & Karst Limestone Peaks

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, It’s nice to be where both tea and opium were once plentiful. Pity I’m much too late for the opium but at least the tea is still plentiful. I’m sure like opium, finding a hotel in this city is a complete nightmare.

Early yesterday morning I left the peaceful simplicity of Qingyan Village and shortly after arriving at Guiyang’s Hebin Bus Station I found that buses to Anshun no longer left from there. So as I hadn’t had my caffeine fix for the morning I decided to get my blood flowing by walking over to the Tiyu Bus Station and soon after I was onboard the first bus out.

The journey between cities took around two hours.

After leaving Anshun’s long distance bus station I walked all the way down to the main roundabout during which I would normally find several small streets with hotels in my price range. Not a damn thing and not even a string of hotels out of my price range only a few that I bowed my way out of as for the price they wanted surely only God’s could afford to stay there. I walked and l walked and then headed into the little market streets that are found cluttered around Tiashan and Zhonghan Lu.

But still I couldn’t locate a place to throw my pack.

Finally on what I thought was a small peaceful street a happy flower lady helped me by pointing to a single doorway surrounded by yellow. I looked up and the entire face of the building was covered with thin planks of wood still covered with bark giving it a very distinctive and eye catching feature here in China. I was welcomed by three smiling beauties that had no idea what to do with the foreigner who stood before them. After asking to see the rooms they all clapped jumped up and down and felt much more comfortable. They had rooms just above my price range but I fell in love with the rooms just out of my price and figured;

With just over half a month left to play, why not splurge!

After leaving for my city adventure around midday I actually had not much of an idea where my hotel was located, I had a card and knew kind of where it was from the roundabout but that evening I was extremely happy when I re-found it by mistake. While walking back towards my area I found an amazing night market than didn’t stop no matter how far I walked.

I think nothing will ever beat Jinghong’s night market. But this one actually does beat Kaifeng city’s night market (sorry Luo Wei!)

For dinner I had the same 'Baby Pocket’s’ that I had in Guiyang, for my second dinner I had some meat sticks, for my third dinner I had some vegetable sticks and as I was reaching the end of the market my stomach began to say, ‘Dude, I’m a little full here!’ and just as I began to search for a toilet I turned around and there was a building with bark covered wooden planks on it.

So here I am with my computer on my lap sitting by my window. My room is so funky I have a flat screen TV/Computer Monitor and a raised bed platform!

Below is the more than extra vibrant Gufu Jie night market that during the day is a surprisingly quietish street that has trendy clothing stores and bakery’s but come night, it turns into an amazingly packed street market where you can sit and feast upon anything you desire after which you can take your beauty by the hand and buy her a new pair of tiny denim shorts along with a new pair of high heels.

I think once again I’ll kick back at my window and people until it shuts down. Yes people, tonight I am a swarve business man in my funkadalic room. Tomorrow though I will have to return to being little ol’me. I’ll then see if I can afford to stay a few more nights!

So as for Anshun City.

I love Anshun city and it is definitely the type of city I’d teach in.

After reading that there wasn’t much in the way of sites and things to see and do here in the LP I wasn’t too thrilled upon my arrival but me being me always has to dive in, search, hopefully find and make my own mind up. After yesterday and today my mind says that Anshun has enough for anyone to spend a few days slowly walking around checking out the city as it comes complete with an abundance of old cobble stoned streets that are filled to the brim with local street markets.

The LP Map also makes the city look much bigger than it is.

Yesterday I began my afternoon in the small Pagoda Hill Park just west of the main roundabout where I found what I believe to be a newly constructed temple that now sits below the pagoda on the hill. After climbing the grubby and littered hill to check out the pagoda and the surrounding view of the city I noticed a small church complex sitting around one hundred meters from the temple down a small alleyway.

For the life of me I can’t figure out why this isn’t listed in the LP as a site.

I couldn’t find any information as to its year of construction but this small Catholic Church is obviously very old as its architecture consists of that of the old Church in Qingyan Village (not the one on the main tourist street) along with incorporation of a Chinese Pagoda that makes up the rear of the Church.

Not long after arriving two inquisitive children came over to say hello. One of them had the key to the door and they then proudly showed me the inside.

I actually found the two temples (the only two sites listed in the LP) in my first few hours of walking around mainly because when I was eating my noodles for lunch a young local guy dropped in to say hello. Before leaving, I baffled him by asking him where the oldest parts of the city were to be found and he told me to simply continue to walk down the road I was on (later of course I found to be Gufu Jie).

There are no street signs to be found anywhere along this road! Hence, the reason I didn’t know where my hotel was located.

Gufu Jie turns into another much older and smaller road once you cross Zhonghua Donglu but its name is NOT Kexue Lu as there is a street sign right at the entrance of the road. I can’t remember the actual name but it is something like Gujie or Gulie. If you take one of the first small alleyways to your right you will come across the Wen Miao Temple that now costs Ten Yuan to enter.

The Wen Miao Temple is a Confucian Temple in the north of town. Weekends see the grounds scattered with locals who come here to drink tea, read and chat among the stunningly intricate carvings (LP).<u></u>

My version;

You pay Ten Yuan to enter what looks like a temple and whilst walking around you see many people drinking tea but even though it looks like a temple there really isn’t that much Temply Stuff Going on. All of the buildings seem to be small rooms where…you guessed it you can drink tea with your friends. The other buildings…..you guessed it, sell the tea at a high price for you and your friends to drink.

Other than that the stone buildings look either very new or recently renovated. As for the intricate carvings, maybe I concentrated on too much on the tea.

From the Wen Miao temple I decided to follow one of the small canals to see where it led and within minutes not far in the distance I spotted another temple which after checking out the LP map could only have been the Donglin Temple. This is what temple freaks like me want to visit. The Donglin Temple was built during the Ming Dynasty (AD 1405), restored in AD 1668 and just like the LP says the resident Buddhist Monks welcome visitors warmly.

When I realised how close the temples actually were I figured that the lake would only be a short distance away and decided to spend the rest of my daylight hours there.

I walked back to the Wen Miao Temple and within minutes Hongshan Lake with its several Kast Peaks making a wonderful backdrop was sitting before me and as it didn’t even get a mention in the LP I expected it to be a place of nothingness and very much a reservoir surrounded by weeds and trees. But what I found was not only beautiful but also a very peaceful place to stroll for several hours as there is a pathway that takes you around the entire picturesque lake. Several pagodas and stone bridges can be found and it really is worth taking an extra couple of hours during your time in Anshun city to visit.

You can add an extra hour or two relaxing in one of the small motorised boats and with the Karst Peaks as your back drop there are worse ways to spend an afternoon!

Today (Saturday, 14th August) I began my day laying in bed listening to the city come alive below me. I then moved on to laying beside my open window both people watching and reading in between drifting in and out of sleep and by eleven I was so tuckered out that I had to put my book down and have a rest.

I rose around one-ish and headed out without a plan in mind

For some reason I headed north east and after a slow hour of checking out small local markets behind the city facades I found myself at the edge of town and by this time northeast could have been southwest. With more than enough daylight hours before me I headed out into the villages and surprised the many locals who gathered to watch the Crazy Foreigner who for some reason was slowly drifting through in their village;

And not getting lost in the Longgong Caves or drenched by the Huangguoshu Waterfalls.

After an hour of walking around in the distance I recognized the irregular tip of one of the karst peaks as it was bare and kind of in the shape of a Camel so I pointed my feet in that direction and began to climb the tiny road further up into the village. At the top I found myself looking back towards where I first stood yesterday and after a silent wave I made my way down towards the lake where I spent another hour reversing my previous pathway.

<u>Now For a Bit On Anshun City</u>

Anshun, located in the middle of Guizhou Province and the eastern part of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, is one of the nine top tourist destinations for the Chinese People, has a population of 2,523,000 and was once an important centre for both tea and opium trading but today it is famous as a producer of batiks, kitchen knives and the lethal Anjiu brand alcohol.

As the center of south China’s karst geography, Anshun has an abundance of rivers, waterfalls, gorges, caves, stone forests, lakes and underground rivers. There are over one hundred waterfalls and around one thousand two hundred caves which include the famous Huangguoshu Waterfall which is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia and Dragon Palace, a marvelous Karst wonder that is also known as Longgong Cave.

As an ethnic minority group area Anshun has also kept intact its unique folklore.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Dave Graney The album was by &#8216;The Soft N Sexy Sounds’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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