Published: September 28th 2006September 26th 2006
Yell, man, yell
This guy posed on the top of the city wall with any tourists who wanted to pay for a photo.
Monday September 25, 2006 - Our train didn't actually go to Pingyao directly. Instead, we arrived in Taiyuan around 5:30am where we had to catch a bus to Pingyao. The bus didn't leave until 7:30am and it took a few hours to get there. We found out later that we could have taken a train, quicker and cheaper, but what was done was done. Pingyao is a very quaint small town, with the old city being contained within 6km of city walls. It has kept it's 19th century looks and is quite cute. We started walking around, looking for one of two hostels. Along the way we were asked to come in and look at one in particular. We did and we ended up staying. It was actually rather cute inside and it was a good choice. We got ourselves settled in and had some food and then headed out to explore. You can get into 19 sites with the purchase of one ticket, so we bought out tickets (luckily mine was cheaper with a student card) and started with the wall. We climbed to the top of the wall where you can get a good look into the city. We
Flags on top of the city wall.
decided to walk the entire perimeter of the wall, 6km, and this took us a little less than two hours. The city wasn't nearly as pretty from up here but we did see corn - lots and lots of corn dryng on roofs. As we neared the end we also saw a funeral pass by. Someone expained it to us as it passed. Really interesting. We then walked around town a little and went into one of the cultural sites. It was an old bank, as Pingyao used to be a huge banking city. But it was different than a typical bank set-up - it had several courtyards and rooms and was pretty big. A theme that was to follow for most of the buildings we would see. After this Steve was tired (he was still sick) and decided to go back to the hotel to relax. I stayed and saw another 4 places before turning in myself. We headed out for some dinner - Steve was still wanting Western food so we looked around for some. Found a place with a menu that included pizza, so he ordered an "Italy Pizza" and I got a chicken dish. Mine came
and I finished it and we were still waiting for his. We decided to pay for mine and leave when his came. It hardly looked like a pizza and it had a raw egg on top! Just wrong! I told them no way was he eating that. They finally took the raw egg off and he ate it. Yuck. Then we went back, where watched some Chinese tv, I had a hot shower and read, and then went to sleep.
Tuesday - Today I woke up with a sick belly and spent some time in the bathroom in the morning. Felt ok afterwards and it was a day for seeing more cultural places. We hit a bunch of places on our ticket but not all 19. We saw two temples and went for lunch that ended up being disappointing. I ordered a simple garlic and morning glory and he got a chicken dish. His dish came out and we both nibbled. Mine never came. When I asked about it she just said no. No? That would have been better to know earlier. So we left and walked some more. Looked in some shops. Ran into Faith and Michael and
Steve and I took this rickshaw/taxi guy to the train station. It was a fast but cool way to see the city at night.
they told us about a real Western restaurant, so we headed there for an early dinner. Steve got a burger and I got a chicken burger. Then he had to get our train tickets and our bags. The train tickets were faxed copies, which made me nervous. They were coming from Taiyuan apparently, and we would get the real ones on the train. We got a little electric car taxi to the train station - there are no cars aloud in the city walls. Made it to the station and waited with Faith and Michael. The faxed copies worked and we got on. Another third tier bed and this time in a non-airconditioned, smoky mess of a carriage. Gross. Least pleasant ride yet. Next stop - Xi'an.
There are more photos below