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Feeling Like A Celebrity In Pingyao

Pingyao Travel Blog

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Wooo! First tuk-tuk experience.
I arrived in Beijing Friday evening to be greeted by my old Denver roommate Laura, and her husband (ah, weird to say!), Tommy.  It was really cool seeing a familiar face in such a foreign country and not have to worry about running around like a chicken with it's head cut off - as I imagine I would've been had they not saved me - trying to find my way around.  We awoke early the next morning to take the 5+ hour trip via taxis, subways, trains, buses, and even my first tuk-tuk to Pingyao, China.  Planes, trains, and automobiles have nothing on us.  So what if we had to enlist the help, aka stalk, of a Danish girl who speaks Mandarin to help us.  That's what random foreigner friends are for.
So it was a little dusty.


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.
Spring Break Pingyao 2010!
  It was quite fun to then smile or wave, or do a corny thumbs up, and see them get embarrassed that we noticed.  I wasn't expecting that sort of attention, but it was pretty cool. 

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.
One of a few temples.
  Laura and I did treat ourselves to some ice cream though as a way to somewhat celebrate.

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.
Laura and Tommy at night with the cool red lanterns.
  Laura joked "how'd I break my hip?  I rolled over".. ok, maybe it was funnier at the time, but I had a good laugh.  Had to be there I suppose.  The bed literally creaked every time you turned over, much like stepping on an old hardwood floor.  But it was an experience and not a bad one at that. 

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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Wooo! First tuk-tuk experience.
Wooo! First tuk-tuk experience.
So it was a little dusty.
So it was a little dusty.
Spring Break Pingyao 2010!
Spring Break Pingyao 2010!
One of a few temples.
One of a few temples.
Laura and Tommy at night with the …
Laura and Tommy at night with the…
A random camel in the middle of Ch…
A random camel in the middle of C…
View from the city wall.
View from the city wall.
That is corn, my dear friends.
That is corn, my dear friends.
Aw, I thought this was nice.
Aw, I thought this was nice.
Pingyao
photo by: halilee