Feeling Like A Celebrity In Pingyao
Pingyao Travel Blog› entry 5 of 95 › view all entries
April 4th, 2010 – by: allisonroad
Anyways, Pingyao is this well preserved ancient city enclosed inside these protective walls. It was amazing to see how little has changed in the centuries that have passed. Of course the area is mostly touristy these days, with street vendors selling anything from Moon Cakes to Buddha statues to the random cowboy hats which seem to be very popular with Chinese tourists. But perhaps the most interesting part of the city was the fact we were basically treated like celebrities. I guess most of the Chinese tourists there are from such remote areas that they had never seen a foreigner - let alone a blonde, a tall brunette, and a tall male red head before! We got asked to have our picture taken with random people about a dozen times and caught tons more trying to discreetly take our picture when they thought we weren't looking.
We didn't do a whole lot of the touristy sites in Pingyao, but we were able to hustle a lady tour operator into giving us a discounted (and illegal) trip up to the city walls. Even though it was way cheaper than the asking price, I still felt a little hesitant about going up a back way where she "knew a guy".. I thought to myself, oh great, Day 2 China: Jail. But it all worked out well in the end, so no harm done. I think China is a place where you can bend the rules just a bit ;) We were in Pingyao, and later in the day Taiyuan, for Easter, but since no one over here really celebrates it it felt like just another day.
Tommy introduced to me, rather excitedly in the manner of someone about to witness an innocent person experience a horrible thing, Bijiu, a lethal alcohol which is too cruel on the senses to describe adequately. He made us do shots. But after that and some more Pijiu (beer) it didn't seem so hard to finish off a flask of the now not-so-bad liquor. And oh man, the food is A-MAZING. American Chinese food has nothing on the stuff here. And it's all so cheap! You can get a meal for three, plus drinks, for about Y80 = $13. I then spent the night on probably the hardest "bed" I have ever had the pleasure to sleep on. It was basically a wooden table with about a half inch of a "mattress" for cushion.
And thus concludes my trip into the Chinese countryside. Maybe the last one as well.. or not, we'll see. I still have a lot of planning to do, which normally I really enjoy, but I kinda like this whole drifting around with no real objective thing. I AM on vacation, after all.
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