Ok, so I know, I am no good at this whole blog thing. I am really trying, but it is NOT easy. How do those people do those blogs EVERY day????
So, here is my holiday update, and only a couple of weeks overdue.
We left the school on the 18th of December on the student bus to Suzhou. As I stated before, I love Suzhou. We stayed at the Watertown Hostel, owned by a guy named Xing Xing (Pronounced shing shing) meaning gorilla, not star. :) The watertown hostel is an old building in an old area. It is reallly cool. Unfortunately, it is also, really cold. Brrrr!!! :) Winter is NOT a good time to stay there. That said, they had electric blankets for the beds, so we were nice and toasty in our room. While in Suzhou, Robin, Kurin and I hung out with my friend Ma Lina, (a teacher in the Chinese half of the school) and we visited Tiger Hill, and the Suzhou silk museum. (See pictures) Tiger Hill was amazing, the silk museum was a little disappointing. We ate at a really great vegetarian buddhist restaurant and bought too many kitchy things. On Saturday night we spent the night walking through the old water town of Suzhou and checking out the night markets. Very cool. We stumbled upon a little tea house where a man was performing songs in Suzhouhua, (the language of Suzhou) and playing really neat instruments (see photos). He even let us hold them!
From Suzhou, Robin, Kurin and I took a train ride in a soft sleeper, to Huang shan, or Yellow mountain, in Anhui Province. We were met by our tour guide Thomas who despite his chain smoking was delightful company. We went straight to the foot of the mountain and took a cable car up to where we could walk the rest of the way. It was about two hours in. Huangshan beautiful and full of weird looking peaks with fun names, like Guan Yin talking to children, and Two old men having tea. :) Actually, many traditional paintings and photos in China are of the Huang Shan peaks. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is not named Yellow mountain for the reasons you may think. They are not yellow. :) They are actually named Yellow mountain for the emporer Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) who visited the mountains in search of the secret for long life. There are many temples built there, and thousands and thousands of stone steps, perhaps 60000, and the work on them is said to have begun 1500 years ago.We spent the night on Huang Shan at the top, and were able to witness the stunning sunset and sunrise. Sigh. I understand why Huang Di would've thought that the mountain held the secret to immortality. ;)
After visiting Huang Shan, we went to the village of Huncan. That was cool. They actually filmed a lot of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in that village, so of course when Kurin and I arrived back home to Luxu, we watched the movie, and were thrilled to see the places we had been. (Photos are on the way) Then we went to another village, called the 7 archway village. It is the only one of its kind in China. There are 7 huge archways that were built for the Bao family by the Qin Emperors, for various reasons ranging from dutiful son, dutiful widow, and dutiful service to the Emperor. They were actually filming a movie while we were there, and that was cool. They wouldnt let us be in the movie though. Apparently there were no foreigners in China at that time. ;) Both of these villages are Unesco World Heritage sites.
On our way to Hangzhou we stopped at a Bonzai museum. That was pretty cool. Kurin fell in love with Bonzais, but only for the reason that they would make great War Hammer landscape scenery. lol
We drove to Hangzhou and took a plane to Guilin that night, and arrived in Guilin to be met at the airport by our tour guide Tony. We were promptly taken to one of the most vile places I have had to stay in since being in China (other than my apartment). :) We were not impressed, and the food supplied to us in Guilin by the tour company was barely edible, AND rationed. It was ridiculous. Ok, I have to go, but I will write more later. I am meeting my friend Neil in Luxu for dinner. Kurin spent the weekend in Shanghai again with his friend Daniel. New tyranids came out so of course it was an epic event. I am sure I will hear all about it when he arrives home in a couple of hours. ;)
Love to you all.