A Travellerspoint blog

August 2010

The Dong Peoples Drum Tower & a Quiet Temple

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Fear of heights or no fear of heights. I can’t seem to come to a personal realistic answer.

After a long and picturesque bus ride from Xhaoxing Village I arrived in Sanjiang Town and grabbed the first Tuk Tuk to Chengyang Village to check out the Dong Peoples'Wind and Rain Bridge’ which is also known as the Yongji Bridge and Panlong Bridge. Of all of the Wind and Rain Bridges that can be found in both Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces the Chengyang Bridge is the most famous.

Yesterday morning after an early morning walk around Chengyang Village I grabbed a min-van back into Sanjiang Town and after throwing my pack into my hotel room I set out into the town’s vibrant streets to find out what Sanjiang was all about. Most people only get to see both bus stations as they spend their time in Chengyang Village and then move on to either Kaili City in Guizhou Province or to Guilin City in Guangxi Province but I decided to stay and explore its streets and alleyways. As I had arrived from Guizhou Province I departed my bus in the very cluttered bus station on the old side of the river and found a hotel room just up the road.

From my hotel room window I had spotted a huge Dong Drum Tower across the river. So instead of making it my first port of call I for some reason headed the other way.

I spent many hours walking around town and out into the surrounding fields and by late afternoon I finally found myself on the other side of the river where can be found the newer part of town which is also in the process of constructing itself into the more touristy part of town. It is here that you will find the one and only chicken shop, more than a handful of Tea Stores along with the bus station that will take you to Guilin City.

I also found hidden behind all of the newish facades several small river side villages and after visiting them I decided to make my way towards the drum tower.

Sanjiang Gulou (Sanjiang Drum Tower) was built in 2002, measures forty three meters in height and has twenty seven levels. It is made completely of wood and its four main poles were supposedly carried all the way from Guizhou Province. The longest pole is twenty seven meters long and was made from a tree that was over two hundred years old.

The Drum Tower costs ten Yuan to enter OR fifteen Yuan to enter and climb. If you are afraid of heights you probably won’t make it to the top.

The climb begins with several ‘floors’ beneath your feet which soon give way to many small wooden ladders. Once you reach the top though the views are more than worth the shaky legs gained from the worrisome journey up. When I write this I don’t mean that it is a hard climb but I found myself stopping on several occasions, looking towards the top of the tower and wondering if my fear of heights would either pass or bar my way further.

Thankfully with a little help from myself I got passed my fear and reaped the rewards. The three hundred and sixty degree views it offers were well worth the effort and money.

From the top of the Drum Tower I noticed a small temple on the other side of the road (not the river) so after placing my feet on ground I headed over to see what I could find. I’ve tried to find information about it on the internet but all I could find was information on the Wind and Rain Bridges that are found in the surrounding villages. The entrance to the temple and its grounds have been left to decay which is sad but the temple itself seems to have had a small facelift sometime in the past decade and after a short walk around I found a set of stairs that took me to the top of the small mountain the temple is situated on.

At the top I found the frame of an unfinished pagoda.

Even though unfinished it still seemed to offer shelter and privacy for a hungry young couple who were far too busy trying to devour what each other had eating for lunch to notice the out of place foreigner walking past them. I spent an hour walking around the small mountain top trying to find a track that would take me across to the next one and after finally giving in I headed back and quietly slipped past the now ravenous couple who were now more than busy checking out what ‘label’ underclothing each other was wearing.

He was now down to a white bonds type singlet top.

Sadly I didn’t get to see if she was clad in either Kylie Minogue or Victoria Secrets underwear. I did try sneaking past as slowly as I possibly could but as the pagoda is situated at the top of the stairs leading down I ran out of room to be ‘slow’ and had to descend without the desired answer.

The local couple I passed halfway down I’m sure could reveal the answer!

As the sun set and the neon’s began to flash the tiny city seemed to morph into a completely new reality than the one I had been walking for the past six hours. It seemed that within minutes the streets went from those of a quiet backwater town to those of a city such as Shantou City which is found in Guangdong Province on China’s east coast. Where five minutes before there was just bare concrete, within the blink of an eye some sort of stall such as BBQ or night Wokup had been setup.

Needless to say, I stopped and after taking a look around me I concluded that yes, Sanjiang City was another perfect city for me to kick back and teach in.

Situated in the north west of the Guangxi Zhuang Automomous Region, in the joint area of Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi Province can be found the small city of Sanjiang. Its population consists of no less than ten Nationalities/Minority Peoples which include the Dong, Han, Zhuang, Miao, Yao, Manchu, Hui, Maonan, Gelao and the Yi Peoples. As one of the five Dong minority autonomous counties in China, Sanjiang has the largest population of Dong people. Therefore, Sanjiang boasts the Dong people's most distinctive architecture that includes many Drum Towers and Wind and Rain Bridges. Each Dong village has at least one drum tower and others house up to five towers and usually the drum hanging in the tower is made of cow skin and is used for calling the villagers to some sort of meeting.

The history of Sanjiang can be traced back to and linked to the Liangkou and the Danzhou where many of the ancient constructions were built during the Ming Dynasty (AD1368 to 1644).

The Sanjiang Dong Minority Autonomous Country is found within the sub-tropic wet climate area of the Nanling Mountains so it rains a lot during the summer months and has an annual average temperature of around twenty degrees. Sanjiang is a small city by Chinese standards with a small population of around three hundred and forty thousand people and is considered the centre of the Dong minority group who make up nearly sixty percent of the population.

The Dong people living in this remote mountain region have preserved their culture well.

Their architecture remains very traditional as their houses are still made of wood and remain in the unique Dong style and the villages are dotted with drum towers and Wind and Rain Bridges. As with the Miao People, as each day ends you can enjoy song and dance performances by the villagers, many of whom still wear their traditional clothes during their daily lives and not only for the performances.

Also as with the Miao the Dong people are famous for their singing.

The Dong Minority didn't have a writing system of their own until 1958 so their history and stories were all recorded and passed down through songs. The most popular form of song is known as the ‘Grand Song' which contains various themes ranging from love stories, historical events to moral lessons. These are all performed by a chorus and the formal performing place is the village drum-tower.

Tonight, after yet another long bus ride I am found a little light headed back in Yangshuo Town as Mickey’s staff at MC Blues continually placed before me Tequilla Sunrise after Tequilla Sunrise.

As of tomorrow I guess the 2010 Miao and Dong Peoples ‘Summer Beers N Noodles’ Adventure kind of comes to an end as new plans will have to be made as to how and when I will make my way back to my beloved small mountain city that can be found in the remote areas of north western Fujian Province.

This summers adventure is easily one of the most awesome of all my adventures here in China as I finally got to live my dream of travelling through Guizhou Province where I got to spend time with both the Miao and the Dong Peoples. Even though it is at an end and that I would love to continue to travel, after living in northern China in Shaanxi Province for two years I am very excited to be returning to the hearts of all my friends along with the rice fields and mountians of Shaowu City. Add to that my extreme happiness of returning to my beloved school and its wonderful staff and most of all to return to teaching in classrooms that actually has Chinese Assistants then I hope you can understand why I am strangely happy even though my adventure is at an end.

I love my life and job more than you can possibly imagine and that love was almost taken away from me after my last teaching position in Hanzhong City but right now I can feel the butterflies beginning to flutter as my excitment begins to build at the thought of returning to a classroom where I can simply be ME!

Like I always say, Mate I couldn’t be happier if I was twins! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by ZZ Top The album was ‘One Foot in the Blues’. ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

The Beautiful ChengYang Wind & Rain Bridge

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

So where were we? Oh yes, Wind and Rain Bridges. Why don’t we build Wind and Rain Bridges back home? For the life of me I still can’t understand why we don’t build such structures. The more time I spend around them the more I can see them spanning our waterways.

So where can I now be found clicking my chopsticks with the locals?

Yesterday I grabbed the second of the only two buses out of Zhaoxing Village and after a nearing six hour bus ride passing through more fantastic scenery I arrived in Sanjiang Town around mid afternoon and within minutes I was Tuk Tuk bound towards the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge. I was so lucky as my Tuk Tuk driver asked me if it was ok if we were to stop at his parents’ home to collect both them and a cabin full of their belongings. Soon I found myself deep within the tea tree covered mountains helping them load their belongings and taking a million photos of the amazing scenery their home was a part of.

The Chengyang Village ticket costs sixty Yuan and lasts two days. For those who love Minority Villages and Wind and Rain Bridges this is The One!

The population of Guangxi Province is made up of around sixty to seventy percent ethnic Minority Peoples which include the Miao People, Dong People, Yao People and the majority Minority which whom are the Zhuang People and each lives in a different area of Guangxi. Most of my Guangxi friends are Zhuang People as Tianyang County where I spent my first year and a half in China is the 'Home’ of the Zhuang People and each year it holds a huge Zhuang Peoples Festival that I was so lucky and honored to attend with all my Zhuang friends.

Putting aside the Zhuang Peoples and moving on to the Dong Minority.

Sanjiang County is famous for the stockade villages built by the Dong ethnic minority who like the Miao Peoples build covered bridges with porches and pavilions which provide shelter from both the sun and the rain known as Wind and Rain Bridges.

Of all the Guangxi Bridges the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is the most famous.

The Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is also called both the Yongji Bridge and the Panlong Bridge and it spans the Linxi River, was constructed in 1916 and is sixty four meters long, three and a half meters wide and nearly eleven meters high. It was built with wood and stones, the surface of the bridge is paved with wooden boards and both sides are inlayed with railings. On the bridge are five towers with horns and eaves that resemble flapping wings and its construction consists of not a single nail or rivet. Instead the talented Dong people dove-tailed all of the wooden pieces that make the bridge.

While crossing the bridge to Chengyang Village take some time to relax and appreciate the picturesque scenery that can be found from one of its benches. Below you and meandering into the distance is the Linxi River and tea trees can be found growing on most of the surrounding hills. Local villagers can be spotted working the fields and several beautiful waterwheels can be found gathering water from the river and gently sending it into the rice fields.

Chengyang Village is actually just as stunning as the famous Wind and Rain Bridge that put it on the tourist map.

In and around the village can be found several other beautiful Wind and Rain Bridges, five amazing drum towers and over seven hundred wooden households. In the villages main square visitors can sit and experience the elaborate singing, dancing and reed flute performance during which, being a foreigner you will be made to drink ‘a horn’ of rice wine that is offered by the beautiful Dong dancing girls.

<u>Accommodation & Other Stuff</u>

Found within Hengyang Village are more than a handful of guesthouses, most of which offer Wi-Fi and air-conditioning along with some sort of English menu that consists of a variety of the local Dong specialties……and most people spend their entire stay in Yangshuo Town!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the man himself, Prince. The album was his amazing &#8216;3121’. Or is it &#8216;3I2I’? ____________________________________________________________

ChengYang Wind &#38;amp; Rain Bridge

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

A Lush Green & Hot Chili Village Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

I’d like a ticket to Zhaoxing please. Would you like chili with that? If so how much? We have lots!

In the end yesterdays early morning bus to Zhaoxing Village never actually arrived in Congjiang Town which left quite a few people confused and aimlessly wandering around the waiting room. I on the other hand had a backup plan and simply boarded the bus to Luoxiang which was against the wishes of some of those aimlessly wandering the waiting room. Even after showing them my map and how close it was to Zhaoxing many still decided to wait for the 'correct’ bus.

I spent the next nearing seven hours watching the stunning scenery pass by.

The road between Congjiang and Luoxiang is pretty bloody terrible, not the worst road I’ve been on but midway on the list of simple yet crappy roads and as usual what should have been a five or so hour bus ride turned into seven hours due to bad roads and road construction/works. There seems to be a hell of a lot of road construction going on here in south east Guizhou Province which is great for the future of Guizhou Province but it presently really sucks for me!

When I finally arrived in Luoxiang I sat to rest my battered skeleton.

After patching together my shattered bones I sat for an awesome bowl of lamb noodles and then began the hour and a half hours walk to Zhaoxing Village. All the way on the bus I was dreaming of this walk as the LP says &#8216;if you are looking to stretch your legs take the one and a half hour walk to Zhaoxing along a dirt road that passes through a number of smaller villages en route’.

Not long after beginning my walk quickly changed my mind after the twentieth huge truck left me twirling in its dust on the road side so I ended up making the trip on the back of a motor bike for ten Yuan and can’t say that we really passed through any smaller villages en route!

I guess it depends on what planet you’re from!

Zhaoxing is an ancient Dong Minority Peoples Village that is found seventy kilometers south of Liping Town and around fifteen hours from Kaili City. It is hidden deep in the mountains and the ancient wooden architecture, century old practices, hospitable locals and the fertile terraced fields offer a welcome contrast to joyless and modern cities that surround it. The village is the largest Dong village in China and is also known as Qianhu which in Dong Dialect means &#8216;a thousand households.’

Obviously there is no reason for me to explain why.

Supposedly Zhaoxing Village has been included in the Guinness Book of World Records for its pure ethnic culture as it is clustered with wooden structures such as its homes, its many drum towers, its several wind and rain bridges (also known as flower bridges) along with its several theater stages. Many of the town's inhabitants continue to wear traditional clothing and speak only their native Dong language and as per Dong tradition, womenfolk will not dine with guests at the dinner table and will only eat after the guests have finished their meals.

As in all villages, activity begins just prior to the suns first rays soon after which the streets and lanes come to life. I spent my early morning at the market place feasting on local snacks to break my nights fast and not long after breakfast the village burst into a hive of activity and most of the villagers headed out into the fields for a long days work.

So just like yesterday I once again meandered around the villages lanes alone. Not once was I ever bothered or asked to buy anything.

Drum towers

The most famous buildings in Zhaoxing are the five drum towers and according to the tradition of the Dong people, each individual drum tower represents one group of local people. The umbrella-shaped tower is also said to be an auspicious building that protects all Dong people.

Flower bridges

Similar to the five towers, there are five wind and rain bridges in Zhaoxing that are more like a building across the river than a bridge as most of them are covered with pavilions. The bridges have earned the name "flower bridges" because of the exquisite sculptures that cover them. On both rainy and humid days the locals sit beneath the bridges and chat the day away.

Diaojiaolou Housing

Diaojiaolou in Zhaoxing features a public passage on the ground floor and people reside in the rooms built along the passage. With these passages and the five pavilion bridges, people can walk from one end of the village to the other without ever being exposed to the elements on a rainy day.

Fortunately for me I got to visit this village while it remains a non-tourist destination catering to massive Chinese tourists. I found that Zhaoxing continues to be peaceful yet vibrant with Dong life going on as it always has been ie; women weaving cloth, making Dong costume and vendors selling fresh vegetable and meat on the street. The local people are very friendly and many Dong women are happy to continue to wear their traditional costumes.

Dividing this ancient village is the small yet peaceful Zhaoxing River.

The river provides ample water source for the village and like the old town of Lijiang (in Yunnan), cobbled lanes, enveloped by beautiful houses, wind their way along water channels that run through all parts of the village. Limited open space in this small village is filled with ponds that are essential for fire protection as most of the houses are old and wooden. Due to the small size of Zhaoxing you will have ample time to both wonder its streets and follow its stone pathways through the rice fields out into the small mountains that surround the area during which, if you are lucky like me you will come across several Dong Men hunting with a long barreled rifle.

If you do, follow the advice given to me by several local lumber jacks; Make sure that the hunters know exactly where you are heading.

There are five sections which make up the village, namely ren (meaning benevolence), yi (meaning justice), li (meaning courtesy), zhi (meaning wisdom) and xin (meaning faith). One clan lives in every section and every clan has built its own drum tower. The main road runs from east to west in the village.

Zhaoxing Village is also the starting place of many Dong festivals and dances.

<u>Accommodation and Other Stuff</u>

Like many of these small rural villages there is ample accommodation.

It seems that each home is also a guesthouse so don’t take the first thing that is offered. Have a walk around the village and as they all offer the same basic things make your decision on what you can see from your window.

As for buses from Zhaoxing to Sanjiang there are only two buses that pass through the village each morning, the first anytime between eight and half past eight and the second anytime between nine and half past nine. Their arrival time depends on the weather and how many stops they make between the departure town of Liping and Zhaoxing Village. It took me two days to leave Zhaoxing as the first morning both buses were completely full and not even a single local got to move on so I simply changed my guesthouse to another part of town and went about my day and thankfully was more successful this morning.

As for Cold Beer, Coffee and English Menu’s;

Several places advertise that they offer one but they are simply a direct translation of their Chinese Menu. This means that they do not offer Western Food of any type. I found only one place that offers a &#8216;real’ English Menu that consists of Pizza, Spaghitti, real coffee and other assorted homely delights which can be found near to far end of the village, on a small S Bend in the road and its windows over look one of the drum towers.

It is also one of the only places I found that had internet in any form. Its Wi-Fi is slow if you want to upload photos but for email and MSN it is perfect!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the awesome Magic Dirt The album was &#8216;Signs of Satanic Youth &#8216; ____________________________________________________________

Zhaoxing Village Adventure

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Period Clothes, Swords, Guns & Basha Topknots

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Period clothes, small swords, guns and topknots. Don’t you just love small villages that have been left behind!

It took quite a bit to get here though, twelve hours on three buses to get from Xingyi to Kaili City and yesterday I left Kaili and took another nearing nine hour bus ride south which took me to the border of Guangxi Province and Guizhou Province. Time has almost run for this year’s Summer Beers N Noodles Adventure but I am determined to squeeze in another couple of villages before I finally throw my pack on my bed in Fujian Province.

So where am I found slurping my noodles and cold beer this evening?

Basha is a very old and special Miao Ethnic village which has been virtually untouched in any way by modernisation. Its residents still live in their wooden houses, practice centuries old customs along with their own unique beliefs. The village is perched on a hill and can be found seven kilometers from Congjiang town.

Legend says that the Basha's ancestors immigrated from heartland China to this isolated mountainous region over two thousand years ago.

The village is filled with Diaojiaolou which are traditional Miao structures that are found all over southeastern Guizhou and north western Guangxi Provinces. They are built on wooden stakes and when viewed from afar, the village consists of layer upon layer of moss covered bark roofs. Made of two floors, the front part of the second floor is supported with pillars while the rear half is usually built into the mountainside. The Miao family live on the second floor and the first floor is used as a store room along with housing the animals. Structures known as 'Rafts’ can also be found scattered throughout each village that are used to dry un-husked rice and corn and during the non-harvesting season, the wooden trestles are used to dry dyed cloth.

Throughout the village, can also be found multi level barns. Grain and foodstuff is stored on the second floor to protect it from humidity.

As in all southern Chinese villages and wet areas such as Basha the buffalo is the beast of burden. Each animal is cared for by a designated villager who spends much of their life taking care of the animal as they graze the beast in the surrounding forests in the morning and return to the village as the sun sets.

Basha Village is home to over one thousand residents who live in four hundred households. Their ancestors were frontline troops who charged through forests and supposedly fought bears to guard the lands upon which they continue to live. Even today the men in Basha preserve their musketeer heritage and are the only Minority People or Tribe left in China that can legally carry guns.

A strong sense of precaution inherited from their ancestors keeps this village isolated from the outside world and they continue to lead a self-sufficient life in the hilly areas.

They create for themselves nearly all of life's necessities, from clothes, ornaments and bamboo baskets to farming tools. Their ethnic clothes and ornaments showcase the cleverness and adroitness of the local women. All of their garments are made of gunny cloth and the villagers maintain a unique code of dress dating back to the Qin Dynasty.

Basha men usually wear a collarless coat with buttons on the left side or down the front with baggy short trousers and don't usually wear shoes even during the cold winter. Women's clothes are much more colorful which consists of a coat buttoned down the front, a kilt and colorful wrappings.

The Basha People worship trees, especially maples, as gods.

They believe the buns on their heads represent trees, while the bluish purple clothes they wear represent bark. To make their clothes shiny and waterproof they simply add egg whites into the indigo when dying the coarse cloth. The felling of trees is forbidden and a tree is planted whenever a baby is born which is then cut down to make the coffin when the person dies.

Like men of the Imperial Dynasties, most Basha men still wear their hair long. Basha boys, like the girls have to keep their hair until a certain age.

Young boys have to take part in a shaving ceremony between the ages of seven and fifteen. The tribe leader wets a sickle with the water used to boil eggs, and shaves off all of the boy's hair except for the central part, which is coiled into a bun. Boys get their first haircuts as a rite of passage and then are given a hunting rifle at the age of fifteen as a sign of adulthood.

<u>Getting There & Other Stuff</u>

I paid twenty Yuan for a mini-van.

He wanted fifty but after showing him that the streets of Congjian were very bare and that no one else was waiting to part with their money, he gave me a huge smile, told me that I was great at bargaining and down the empty road we sped. When we arrived the ticket box/shack was closed so after a happy good bye I headed into the village hoping to find somewhere to sit and have my fill of some local Basha food.

Thankfully, as usual I found that I was in the right place at the right time!

One of the first buildings to my right I found a small hostel in which for fifteen Yuan you can sit with the family and share their meal, if you are there at the right time of the day that is. As for accommodation there are only two or three other tiny places to throw your pack in and all come with simple rooms for you to place your head upon your pillow and to thank the stars above for being so lucky to be in such a wonderful village.

There are no taxi’s or public transport waiting for you when you decide to leave Basha Village so why not just walk the ten or so kilometers back to Congjian Town. It’s all downhill so it takes less than an hour and it is not only peaceful but very picturesque.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by John Mayer The album was &#8216;Continuum’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

After A Twelve Hour Bus Ride & 2.5% Beer

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Ya know what I hate? Ya know what I hate? What do you hate Rodney? I really hate wasted days and unexpected extra long bus rides!

But before I go into what Rodney really hates; I should tell you about what I really love and that is today’s scenery!

Even though it was a twelve hour, three bus ride journey that ended with crappy beer and salty BBQ, the scenery between Xingyi and Kaili would have to be some of the most spectacular I have ever come across in all of my travels. Sadly as my camera lens/shutter 'thing’ is stuck and won’t open I have been without a camera so you will have to check out some of the pictures I posted in my blog between Anshun and Xingyi.

Ya know what I hate? Ya know what I hate? What do you hate Rodney? I really hate wasted days and unexpected extra-EXTRA-long bus rides!

Yesterday (Friday, 20th) I headed to the Xingyi bus station to grab a ticket to freaky Weining town to check out Caohai Lake but due to the huge amounts of rain we’ve been having and talk of &#8216;maybe’ some of the buses being stopped due the danger of mud slides etc it seemed half the town had arrived prior to me and all the tickets for both buses had been sold out.

I then had to spend most of my day indoors due to more rain. There are only two buses from Xingyi to freaky Weining Town; 8:30 & 10:30am and the travel time, supposedly ten hours. As to the travel time I can’t comment.

I’m not sure how much has been shown on overseas television but in the south west of China there’s some really bad stuff going on due to the weather. Several towns have been covered by huge mudslides, lots of deaths and several trains have been derailed. The main focus here has been on the Gansu Mudslide and the train derailment in Sichuan.

Thankfully no one was hurt and all managed to escape the angry waters below.

Yesterday morning I decided to be a sneaky bugger and head to the bus station extra early but a fat lot that gained me as both buses had been either cancelled or put on hold due to the weather. So after going through what looked like a Chinese Restaurant Menu I found that the next bus I could take anywhere out of the city was back to Anshun city so I decided to take heed of the danger signs and put Plan A back into action;

Being…to head back to Kaili city and slowly make my way south to Yangshuo.

Also after looking at the map on the wall and asking a few questions I found out that I was only several hours away from both Baise City and Tianyang Town in Guangxi Province where I spent my first year and a half here in China. I would have purchased a ticket to Biase city but thankfully I had spoken to Drug Policeman Brad yesterday and found out that he was in a month’s &#8216;high grade’ training in Nanning city.

So Plan A was the most viable way to go.

My return journey to Anshun was a little less than five hours as I bus hopped during a toilet stop. Parked next to our bus was a bus heading to Guiyang city which was to be my second stop for the day so after surprising my current bus people by leaving and haggling on price I grabbed a seat and off we went. When we arrived in Guiyang city we arrived in the New City and at the unbelievably huge bus station.

If the buses were any bigger and came with wings it could be mistaken for an airport.

After walking around like a chicken without a head for an hour I found out that no matter how big the bus station was it strangely came with no buses to Kaili city which is very strange when Kaili is one of Guizhou Provinces main attractions. So I lined up at the huge public bus depot out the back and caught Bus No: 219 to the train station and then walked back down to the Yiyu Bus Station and grabbed a ticket for the 6pm bus and we should have arrived around half past eight.

Due to frustrating road works we arrived nearly three hours late.

If sitting on three different buses for over twelve hours isn’t enough to make you a little testy then try not eating all day and after spotting a road side BBQ Stall and choosing a heap of meat and vegetable sticks, asking for no salt or chili and have it not only arrive with extra salt (to compensate for not having chili…it’s a Chinese thing…they just can’t understand why you actually want to taste your meat and vegetable sticks!) but, it also came with a bottle of warm 2.5% beer.

Of course I asked for cold beer.

I ended up washing the salt off with my beer flavoured water, which became the highlight of everyone’s night and gave the rest to the guys at the table behind me who were busy surrounding themselves with a million empty bottles of the horrid stuff.

I had forgotten that Kaili not only came with beautiful Miao Girls but really crappy beer. It’s not like I want to get drunk, I just want a beer that tastes like beer. If I wanted water I’d ask for a bottle of water.

<u>Matang Gejia Minority Peoples Village</u>

Sadly while my phone was in getting fixed I took a trip to Matang Village.

I was going to wait for my phone/camera but after I have already wasted several days in Xingyi and if it does take several days to fix my camera then I will be more than displeased with myself. So I am not going to write much about it and will use the text from the LP instead. I want to return to Guizhou Province to visit Weining and Caohai Lake along with several other villages I have been told about that are in the Kaili and Anshun area so I’ll head back to Matang Village then.

The other main one being a Miao &#8216;Long Horn’ Peoples village near Longa. A man has only a certain amount of holidays so I can’t fit everything in…but I do try!

Matang: this village, thirty kilometers from Kaili is home to the Gejia, a group that has been identified by the government as belonging to the Miao Minority. The Gejia, who have different customs, dress and language, aren’t particularly happy about this classification; nor for that matter are the Miao.

The Gejia are renowned batik artisans and their traditional dress often features batik and embroidery. Their hats (which look a bit like heavily starched napkins) are also made out of batik. The village is incredibly friendly but be prepared for the army of women selling handicrafts who will pounce on you as soon as you arrive.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by KISS The album was &#8216;Hot in the Shade’ ____________________________________________________________

Back in Wonderful Kaili

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Back in Wonderful Kaili

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Back in Wonderful Kaili

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Back in Wonderful Kaili

Back in Wonderful Kaili

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)