Day 134: Liuzhou to Chengyang, China.

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April 10th 2010
Published: April 11th 2010
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Day 134: Saturday, April 10th, 2010.
Liuzhou to Chengyang, China.

Per Intrepid Notes, "Days 16-17 Chengyang
After a relaxing morning we take a local bus to Sanjiang (approx. 4 hours), followed by a transfer to Chengyang (approx. 1 hour). Chengyang is undoubtedly one of the most special places in China, thanks to its exquisite Wind and Rain Bridge. We stay here in a wooden guesthouse set near the riverbank, and after settling into our accommodation, we enter the village by crossing this special walkway. These bridges, or 'fengyu qiao' as they are called locally, once served religious purposes but are now mostly used as a place for the local people to sit around, chat and sell their wares. They were traditionally built entirely in pegged cedar, and it is often said that not a single nail was used in their construction. We have over a full day to explore Chengyang by foot, experience the laid-back pace of village life and admire the two- and three-storey wooden houses and the lovely patchwork of farmland surrounding the town. In the afternoon, we attend a minority performance held in the village, and have the opportunity to take part in bamboo pole dancing as well
as to sing along to the 'rice-wine' song. Our family-run accommodation in Chengyang is a traditional-style wooden guesthouse set near the riverbank. Blankets are provided but it can still be cold in the winter."

Didn't leave Liuzhou until Noon but it was raining and we weren't in an overly attractive part of town, so we all crashed at the hotel (the others went to a grocery store across the street, that's about it.) Our first bus of the day was actually a really nice bus. Nice chairs, up high so you can see over everything, and a tv. The movies they played were "Python 2" and "Anaconda 2". So, not only do they like their snake movies, but they really like their snake movie sequels! I slept thru "Python 2" (so sad) and in addition to missing what I'm sure was a stellar movie, I missed the bus stewardess (yup, they have them here) going up and down the aisle distributing extra puke bags for everyone that was vomiting. Ling says that it's very common for Chinese people to get travel sickness and boy was she right. Luckily the smell never hit us, they dispose of it well I guess. Then, I had fun watching "Anaconda 2" while listening to the "Wicked" soundtrack and seeing how they matched up. It was amusing. Plus, the scenery was starting to get really pretty- more of the China I was expecting to see.

We got to Sanjiang and piled into a couple of vans for the 30 minute drive to Chengyang. The architecture in the buildings is charming- that's not the right word, but I'm going with it. Then we drove by the Wind and Rain Bridge and suddenly I had hope for the trip again. We get to our hotel and it's adorable (to use another word that just doesn't say it right.) The main lobby (first floor actually) is entirely cedar and smells great. I love the smell of cedar. They have it decorated with baskets and Chinese knick-knacks and the Chinese influence aside it reminds me of a good ol' country bar- kind of like the Bear Jamboree in Disneyland. There are seven floors with 5 rooms on each floor and the 7th floor is a restaurant. Our bedrooms have balcony's that look out over the town and it is amazing to see- great architecture- have I said that yet? The room is basic, but clean (and still smells of cedar- yea!) The bathroom...well, it'll get the job done. They used to have a squatter toilet and just bolted a regular toilet on top of it so when you flush it just drops below to the squatter toilet which takes it away to the magical land of toilet waste. I'll just think of the great balcony and the wonderful cedar smell in the bedroom and all will be well.

We have dinner at the hotel (but on the first floor- the 7th was a bit of a climb for some) and the food is still amazing and plentiful. During dinner, I express my concern to Ling and the others over the quality of places we have stayed at (present place excluded- it was the best so far) and that I didn't think I could take another month of these kind of accomodations. Luckily, Dick and Judy have done the next China tour before (Hong Kong to Beijing) and they aid the accommodations for that part are great. Ling explains that the accommodations for this portion are the best that can be found given the remote locations. Makes sense. But I'm not made to rough it like this (and, in all honesty, this is really not roughing it that much.)

Tomorrow we're going to start the day with a tour of the town- looks like it'll be a good tour. So, off to bed with hope once more for this trip. That hope comes and goes many times during the day- here's hoping it sticks around a while.

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