Raise the red lantern!
Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
36Trip End Jul 16, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Four of us shared a room at a hostel near the Bund and on Saturday Courtney, Eric and I walked along some of the Bund – it was starting to get hot and humid. Being in Shanghai you would think we would get less taunted – fewer “hallos” and stares, but actually, we were just as “famous.” I guess the others were tourists as well and we were entertainment for them. We decided to start at least posing for the pictures and this has actually opened up opportunities for the sly photographer to come get in the picture with us. From the Bund we walked toward the Yu Yuan Gardens and through a market. The crowds of people are always impressive and we worked our ways through the market. Eric and I left Courtney doing some shopping and headed back to catch a subway to the airport. We flew out of Hong Qiao at 1pm to Tai Yuan. It was a 2 hour flight and to my surprise we had booked First class! Poor Eric booked his tickets separately from us and sat back with the common folk :) We were served wine and hot food and had plenty of leg room. Arriving to Tai Yuan all you could see was the smog and lots and lots of wind. Not the cleanest city I’ve been to. John thankfully had ordered airport pickup and we had a 90 minute ride to Ping Yao.
On the drive there were TONS of factories, coal piles, and everything was all very very dry. Once we entered the city walls it felt like we had stepped into a different time period. The roads were cobblestone, narrow and everything looked like it was hundreds of years old. I loved the look of the city from the beginning! We checked into our very rustic, old Chinese hotel – YiDe – looks like it was straight from the movie “Raising the Red Lantern.” Eric and I were sharing a room, which is normal as we usually have two twin beds
Our first day there we walked through the town. It’s an ancient city with the old city wall still intact. It was the Labor Day holiday; thus there were tons of tourists. The amount of horn-honking was out of control. I wish I had had earplugs. However, with all the tourists we were treated like movie stars. I have been photographed and hollered at a lot here, but Ping Yao and Ian (Kate’s brother) took it to a whole new level! John even got asked for his signature. Tiring as it was, we had an awesome time. The first night we had dinner in our hotel. Pingyao is famous for its beef and noodles – cat ear noodles, flying noodles, all of which were delicious. The beer wasn’t anything new or fantastic – just a different brand, but the same low 3.? %
Sunday we did more walking and went to many of the courtyards, houses, businesses, shops on a pass that got us in to all of these places once. We went up on the wall for a bit even. The wall is less than 5km around and has a great view.
Our last full day there we hired a driver and drove out to a mountain, where we were amazed by the amount of Chinese tourists. Then we went to an obscure underground city where our guide offered a very insightful tour. By the time we got back inside the gates of PingYao many of the tourists had gone home and we basically had the walking street to ourselves...well, sort of - I think we managed to still take a few pictures with some stragglers.