Sunday, June 23, 2013


After hiking all through the mountains and enjoying the park, we were ready for showers and food. Dustin and I did not really enjoy the food in this part of the country. I felt it was greasy and had less flavor than food I had previously enjoyed. I did accidentally have frog....all those tiny bones. Blech.

We had an interesting night on the mountain (ahem, huge spider next to my face upon waking). We stayed in a room on the "new" side of the hotel. It had high quality products, but the craftsmanship was very poor. For example, beautiful yet bubbly tile with large gaps or heavy door but unaligned to the door frame. The mattress was very uncomfortable and roughly half an inch thick. Seriously, not exaggerating at all.

The next morning we got up before sunrise to catch the clouds below us. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate so we only saw gloom. After a greasy breakfast we hiked to the cable car for the return trip. Our driver met us and transported us to Hongcun.

Students painting the picturesque village

Hongcun is a village in the shape of an ox that was (surprise!) built with Feng Shui in mind. The area contains some of the most well-preserved architecture and carvings dating back to the Ming Dynasty (600 years ago for those paying attention).

The area was used for filming in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We haven't seen the film in a long time, but this bridge is quite famous because of it. We spent a few hours wandering the alleys and meeting people along the way. Some people would let us into their homes to see beautiful carvings or family heirlooms.

Meat anyone?

Beautiful area

Drying seeds for next year

All the buildings are connected by a shared stream of water. Also, each building has an open ceiling to catch rain water. Rain would collect in reservoirs underneath and be used for drinking, bathing, cooking, etc.

At the center of the village is a large pond or the "stomach" of the ox.

In many of the homes we noticed split tables. They designed to be separated when the husband was away. The women and children would eat at only half a table. When the husband returned, the tables would be combined and the family would come together to eat. As a military spouse I was intrigued. We have our own ways of creating traditions when our spouse is deployed or away. This was the Chinese version over 600 years ago.

As we exited Hongcun a huge rain shower erupted. Luckily we were done for the day so we hopped into our vehicle and headed towards the airport. We said goodbye to Libby and flew to our third city on our itinerary, Xian.

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