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Published: January 14th 2006
Brown, it's the new black
From the train to Datong on the Loess plateau. It's brown, very brown.
Even though I'm back in Old Blighty, I thought I'd finish the story of the trip. Last time I wrote, we were in Beijing, we then made a detour to the wild west to the town of Datong.
We took a train to Datong, 165 miles south west of Beijing. The train rose up through the mountains outside Beijing and on to the Loess plateau. This place defines the colour brown. Everything is a different shade of brown, that's when you can see it that is, for Datong is one of the most polluted cities in China due to industry and coalmining.
While we were staying in Datong we visited the Hanging Temple (Xuankong Si) at Heng Shan.
Really spectacular and a touch scary when you look at the pillars it's supported on. I'd advise not to examine them too cllosely until you get back down to the bottom!
We then went to the Yungang Caves, more Buddhas.
Literally thousands of them, built from 494AD onwards. Sadly the polution is starting to take it's toll and erode the stone.
After Datong we headed back to Beijing and then flew to Shanghai for the end of the trip. We stayed at Julian's
Hanging temple of..
Datong, not Babylon. Rather amazing,pearched high on the side of a cliff. Tip, if you ever go, make sure you don't study the posts until AFTER you have been in it. Not for the faint hearted!
parents on a Navel base in the city. Her parents were very good to us, lots of fantastic home cooking and watermelon galore. They also gave us full use of their military car and driver, I'm not sure what his Chinese name was, but it translated in to English as 'Golden Spring'. He even wore a uniform, it was great fun being driven round by him as he can park almost anywhere.
Shanghai is a wonderful city, the Bund on the front of the river has some wonderful Art Deco architecture and it over looks the modern Pudong area which was not much more than fields 15 years ago.
Finally we had one final day out to a Yangtzee estuary village, very pretty. I think it's called Jin Xi, but I can't be sure, let's just adopt it for now.
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