Wow what a weekend.
We started out on Saturday morning. We left home at around 8.30 for the bus station, we followed the advice of the rough guide for our bus travel. We arrived at the bus station to find that the buses don't go to Keifeng from that bus station. So after much discussion, I'm getting quite proud of my chinese, we found out which bus to take to the other bus station. On reflection perhaps travelling on the 1st May was not the best idea the bus was rammed but nothing could prepare us for the scene at the bus station. It seemed as though the world and his dog wanted to travel to Keifeng. The queue for the bus was enormous. I may also need to add that the temperature on Saturday was touching 30 degrees. We finally managed to blag our way onto a bus, we did jump the queue but hey when in rome. The bus to Keifeng was like a game of sardines on wheels. There was not an inch of room to spare. Thank goodness we got to stand near to the driver, he had his window open for some
We arrived in Keifeng at around 12 noon. So we haggled a price for a rickshaw, these are now like electic scooters not men running anymore 😞, and off we went to the hotel. The Rough Guide was right about the hotel. It was ideal, a good price and smack in the middle of the city. The city on first impressions was breath taking. Some of the city seems untouched by time.
Anyway we dropped off our bags and the rickshaw driver took us on a tour of the city. Our first stop was the iron pagoda, a tall buddist pagoda built in 974 AD. After a stroll around the park we decided to go back to the hotel for a nap.
That evening we ventured out into the city to be greeted with an incredible sight. There was a very large and boisterous night market right outside our hotel. The sights and scenes at the market were incredible from the Beijing opera being blared over loud speakers to the stalls selling all kind of food. In either direction the food stall lead into an ordinary market selling goods of all types. We had a
great evening just people watching was great fun, although I think more people were watching us.We feel like superstars with people stopping us in the street and asking to take our photo or to have their photos taken with us.
The next day we started off by visiting a mosque, which is very different to an arabian mosque. It's very tucked away but some old ladies pointed us in the right direction. We also met some other foreigners in the mosque. A nice couple from New Zealand who were visiting Keifeng on holiday.
After the mosque we had a pleasent stroll to the Temple of the Chief Minister. This is a living and breathingbuddist monastary. Really breathtakingly beautiful inside. Here I've never had my photo taken so much every 5 minutes someone asked to have their photo taken with me. As I said in a blog before I can feel a business oportunity idea here. I have never seen so many buddhas in my life. My personal favourite was the buddha with the excedingly log eyebrows, dunno what that's all about.
After the temple the temperature was soaring, it's turned very hot here, so we decided to
go back to the hotel to cool off.
In the afternoon we went to the Shanshaangan Guild Hall. A hall built in the 17th century as a meeting place for local merchants. Again a beautiful building with an opera stage inside very much like the temple here in Zhengzhou. There was a very kind old man who sold us some guide cards for the all the attractions in Keifeng. He also had a collection of caged birds including two miner birds that could say "Nihao". Some of the song birds sang like angels. It was lovely just to sit in the shade of a tree and listen to the songbirds going over their repetoire. We found a model of the city in the main hall and from this we decided to visit the site of the imperial palace which was only just around the corner.
The site of the former Imperial Palace is a huge park now with lakes and in the centre is the Dragon Pavillion which is built on the foundations of the former palace. We even went on a Dragon Boat. I loved the rowing men's costumes, gold kung-fu pyjamas. I think I may look
One of the gates in the city walls
good in a pair of them.
That evening after a good relax for a couple of hours we ventured out to the night market to eat. We had fresh handmade beef noodles. Then I had 4 lamb kebabs and finally I had Xingren cha, a sweet almost semolina pudding flavoured with almonds, sugar, fruit and oddly it had beans in it, this was delicious. So a 3 course meal for 19 yuan or about 2 quid can't be bad can it?
This morning up early to come back, and hopefully to avoid the chaos of everyone returning to the city. Now here I'm not to proud of my chinese. I told the taxi driver with the guide book and my pidgeon chinese that we wanted to catch the bus back to Zhengzhou. The taxi driver took us to the 5-star Zhengzhou hotel!! After consulting with some of the staff at the hotel, they could at least speak a little English, we mangaged to make the taxi driver understand. I thought Dani was going to wet herself laughing in the back of the taxi. He was very kind in the end explaining that if we got on the bus
further up the road we would get a seat, and he was right. The bus journey home was the total opposite from the journey there. We had seats and air-con,lovely. The bus however didn't take us back to a place we knew in Zhengzhou so we had to take a taxi. As we don't know ur address in Chinese I asked him to take us to the station. After a couple of blocks I realised where we were and asked him to drop us off at the bus stop. The taxi driver thought he could be clever and asked for more money than he should. I refused to pay and told him I would only pay the proper rate. He agreed. So a short bus trip later and we were home to be greeted by Perry meowing his head off. Bless I think he thought he'd been abandoned.
We've had a great time in Kaifeng. This is a place that if you visit China you must go here it can seem at times as though you have stepped back in time.
Well people enjoy the photos and until the next time.
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