Rained Out of Shaoshan and a Late Night in Luohe

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June 12th 2019
Published: January 20th 2020
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Mao's BathroomMao's BathroomMao's Bathroom

Di Shui Cave
For breakfast we headed back to the noodle shop. I decided to try the spicy beef noodles today. They were yum. I really liked both kinds of noodles, I had here, but each bowl left me dripping in sweat. Oh to have Asian genes and to not sweat. We headed back to the guesthouse as the owner had offered to drive us to the place we wanted to visit as it was a little outside of town and it saved the faff of using public transportation or calling a cab. The guesthouse owner is an absolute legend, so friendly and helpful, nothing was too much bother for him.

The drive to Di Shui (Water Dripping) Cave was pretty quick, only about 10-15 minutes. After paying our entrance fees, we decided to take the shuttle to the cave and save our legs. The scenery was nice on the drive up and reminded me of the scenic area I had visited near Ningbo. Having done no research on the cave, I had expected it to be a cave, so when I saw a large villa I was rather surprised. The villa was constructed in 1960 for Chairman Mao's use. It is said
Mao's BedroomMao's BedroomMao's Bedroom

Di Shui Cave
to be similar to Zhongnanhai, the Chinese White House. The labourers that were used to construct the villa were not allowed to have contact with those outside, while working on the project. This lead to the cave being seen as mysterious to outsiders. The people and command system within the cave were well protected. We headed into the No.1 Building first. This is where offices, bedrooms, reception rooms, and meeting rooms were located. It was interesting to look around and see the ping pong table that Mao played at, and his bedroom and bathroom. We wandered through some very thick and well protected passages to reach Building No.2. This had a few rooms which had been converted into shops and also a small currency museum. I really liked looking around the museum, it was interesting to see all the old Chinese money and how it has changed over time. We left the building and took the path through the bamboo forest to reach the viewpoint. We had just been saying earlier that morning how good the weather had been. We had pushed our luck as as heavens opened. We continued on for a little bit, but the rain wasn't going to give up, so we did as the view would have been crappy. We headed back to the main entrance and called the guesthouse owner to pick us up. While we were waiting, we spotted a few red three wheeler cars driving around the carpark, which was rather random. Back at th guesthouse, it was time to dry off and pack up as we were leaving Shaoshan that afternoon.

The previous evening at the show, we got chatting to one of the men that was involved in the production and he had invited us to lunch. Since we would be taking the train around 2 pm, he offered to drop us at the train station afterwards. He came to pick us up from our guesthouse and drove us to a place that he knew and liked. Well, there is no way someone without local knowledge would have found it as the place was in the middle of nowhere. We turned off the main road on to a country road and drove further and further away from civilisation. I did wonder at one point if we were being kidnapped to become part of the human trafficking trade. I did feel sorry for anyone that would end up with us as we were past our prime. Even when we got to the restaurant, you couldn't tell it was a restaurant. We dodged the rain and made our way through the kitchen and into our own private dining room. I do really like the concept if private dining rooms in restaurants, it's great for a special occasion or like this occasion to get to know some people better. Our new friend went off to order the food and came back with some beers. I was really content sitting in the room. We were in a really peaceful area, surrounded by lush greenery and I Could hear the rain coming down, it was so nice and relaxing. We chatted and toasted, and when the food arrived we tucked into that. We got to know the two guys better. The younger one was one of the acrobats that had been in the shown the previous evening. The food was delicious, we had Hong Shao Rou again, which I was happy about as I love the stuff and could eat it everyday (or at least give it a go and clog my arteries in the process). We had another pork dish, a fish dish, various vegetable dishes, and some soups. All too soon it was time to leave and we drove to the train station and said our goodbyes.

Our train arrived at Luohe just in the late afternoon. We took a Didi from the station to our hotel. We were definitely back in the city now. The hotel was fine, and after checking in, we headed out to take a look around Luohe. I doubt Luohe makes many travellers' itineraries, as I don't think there is much to see or do there. I could be wrong though. We headed to what seemed to be more the downtown area. The population is around 2.5 million, so it is a pretty small city by Chinese standards. It was a nice summer evening, so we had a walk around. There were quite a lot of people about and the city had a nice relaxed feel to it. We walked past all the BBQ stalls, where we would eat later and found a small park that we took a walk around.

We headed back to the BBQ stalls and found one that looked busy. We each grabbed a tray and selected what we wanted from the big trays on display. There was quite a large selection of meat and vegetables. Then we handed it over for it to join the queue to be cooked and paid. We could also help ourselves to side dishes, so we did that and bought some beers from another woman. We sipped our beers and ate the side dishes while waiting for our food to be grilled. I was really content to people watch here. This place was filled with people and had a great atmosphere. I liked watching the chefs cook the food, I don't know how they did it in the heat. The market was packed with people. Places like this seem to have been stamped out in bigger cities. I remember there used to be raids on the street food stalls at uni, but the stall holders were all warned about the raid before it would happen! Our food arrived and it was really good, I happily tucked into the different meats and vegetables that we had selected. We washed the food down with more beers.

After eating, we started the walk back to our hotel. We took a different route back and found ourselves in another small park. From here, we made our way back to the bridge, however, just as we were about to cross the bridge, we spotted a bar so decided to go for another drink. We were shown to a table and ordered a tower of black beer. I had expected the beer to be quite heavy, but it wasn't. Judging by the fact that we were able to put away several of these towers and feel fine, I'm guessing that the actual alcohol content was minimal. There was a band that played a couple of songs, which was nice. One great thing about the bar was that they had a screen on which there was a QR code. You could scan the code via WeChat and add messages. This was fun as some locals started to talk to us via the screen. It was a nice way to interact. They wished us a pleasant stay in Luohe. We left the bar pretty late and made our way back to the hotel. Luohe might not be the most memorable place, but I had a really nice evening there.

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