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Sunday, March 31, 2013

TunXi Old Street (屯溪老街)

The time was nearly 6.30 pm when we went back to HuangShan town area. Since it's still a bit early to go for dinner, our lady driver had suggested us to go to a famous tea shop to try out their tea products.

She said there is no entry charge for all of us, plus she emphasized that it's totally ok if we won't buy anything from the shop after the visitation, so why not?

The visitation turned out to be quite ok cause they have PR to handle each visitor. The PR had given us a brief introduction about the history of tea plantation in the region, and of cause, a free session to sip various tea sold in the shop.  

We are not particularly like Chinese tea (green tea), so end up we bought 2 packets of chrysanthemum tea, which we felt taste better than the green tea.

After this, we asked the lady driver to drive us to the nearby TunXi old street.

She dropped us at this main street and recommended a few restaurants to us.Then we set her free...

We were quite exhausted by then, so we decided to go to this restaurant which is closest to us.

We were seated in the upper floor, near a window. Perfect...

The boys still look ok, but husband couldn't open his eyes wide anymore, haha...

We ordered some local dishes quickly, then didn't want to move anymore. Gosh, really tired.

Anyway, we were pleased with the interior design of this restaurant, very nostalgic. We felt like we were back in the ancient time.

Too bad there wasn't any mo-lam-ko-sau there to show off their martial arts.

We have waited for around 20 min for our order foods....anyway we didn't mind cause we were not in the hurry anymore. 

Hairy toufu. We love it.

Fried Char-Shu-Ku

Steamed fish

Fried kar-ku-choi

The bill came with around RMB 250, no wonder the lady driver said it's getting very expensive to dine outside around HuangShan area now. 

After dinner, we strolled around the old street. 

To us, there is nothing we wanted to buy home. So, it's really just a walk after dinner. 

Even though there isn't anything we wanted to buy, it's still nice to walk on this old street. After all, we can only see this kind of old street in a movie.

Looking at this lazy dog, I felt like wanted to sleep too.

We halted a taxi and asked the driver to take us back to the hotel. I checked my watch, the time was nearly 9pm by then. 

Just when we get off the taxi, my brother found out his camera had dropped in the taxi. We then tried to chase the taxi immediately, but it's too late. His car had gone no where to be seen. The hotel manager had checked his CCTV, but couldn't see the taxi's plate number, nor the taxi's company name. So, there's really no glue how to contact the driver. End up, we left my China's mobile number to the hotel manager, asked him to give me a call in case the taxi driver returned the camera to us. 

It's truly a mishap, I would say. Imagine it's me who lost the camera, I would most probably throw a very big tantrum over it. See, the most unfortunate thing was not losing the camera itself, but the previous pictures that was stored inside it.

My brother stay cool, though I knew he felt awful about it. Sigh, there was nothing we could do but hope for miracle...but that miracle never happen. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

ChengKan Old Village (呈坎)

About 30 minutes driving, we reached the 2nd destination, ChengKan Old Village. 

ChengKan is located on the south foot of HuangShan Mountain scenic area, which belongs to the list of World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site.

ChengKan Village was built according to the theory of Eight Diagrams, the east is Qian (Heaven), the west in Kun (Earth), the south is Li (Fire) and the north is Kan (Water). 

Besides, there are also eight mountains surrounded this village, ad they also form the natural structure of eight diagrams. The human eight diagrams and natural eight diagrams are integrative and show the big wonder of Chinese ancient villages.

Initially established in the period of late East Han Dynasty and ancient called LongXi (龙溪, Dragon Stream). This village has a history over 1800 years. 

In late Tang Dynasty, Qiu Yin and brothers of Luo Family has moved to this area, currently it has a population of more than 2700. ChengKan village is one of the best preserved ancient villages of China.

Standing here, I could feel the good energy coming from the river & the mountain, truly a place with good "fengshui".

Good "fengshui" won't come in free, husband got to go to buy the entrance ticket again.

While waiting, we just sat here to admire the tranquility of the place.

Oh yes, we have hired a local tour guide to walk with us this time. This man approached us as soon as we get off the car, said tourist can easily get lost in the 8 diagrams village without any guide.

Without thinking much, my brother hired him, not because of the reason we may get lost without him, but more on the reason we wanted to know the history of the village. Also, to give him a job opportunity. After all, he only charged us RMB 30, why not?

Husband on the other hand, prefer to walk peacefully on our own, without someone narrating along.

5 minutes later, husband returned with the tickets, and thus we proceeded.

According to our tour guide, every moon bridge got its own name. This one is called "fire".

The path that lead us to the village, cool.

This stone is unique because it has 2 faces...one side looks like this....

and the other side looks like this...In fact, the tour guide said since it looks like the word of fortune(福), it can bring good luck to the people who touch it. 

For this reason, my brother and I touched it many times. Too bad the other 3 had walked too fast that I couldn't make them to touch the fortune rock as well.

After passing by the fortune rock, there got another 2 animal statues we need to pass through. The tour guide said man should touch the right hand side one, and woman should touch the left hand side one, for the reason I had forgotten.

I would say this is a very charming ancient village...

Saw this abandoned house as soon as we entered the village.

While my brother and I were busy listening to the introduction of this and that, husband and the kids kept their usual cool way in sight seeing. At this point of time, I rather joined them too.

The kids made a lot of wild hypothesis about those little fishes living in the pond. Since I could only spare half an ear on them, I couldn't remember what their comment are.

The red lanterns were welcoming us...

After crossing this door, we were officially in the village.

When the kids saw the water wheel, they ran to it immediately.

They simply won't let go the thing they could play on.

Probably because of the sound that Vincent & William had made, these 2 kids came out from the door and watched them playing. They are very steady kids, not like the kids we used to see in city.

As usual, we need to give some time to the kids to play their game. Taking this as a break, it's our photo time too.

The roof's lining of the house, looks like a serious man's face.

Taking photos around the ponds, at different angle...

perfect mirror reflection on the water...

5 minutes later, we proceeded...

Such a beautiful contrast....

beautiful purple blossom...

Still looking for the little fishes...

A nice family photo with the little one only showing up his face...

Finally the little one revealed himself...

The greatest highlight of this village is its splendid show of ancient architectural complex featured of HuiZhou style. The architecture characterizing the different styles has pavilion, platform, tower, bridge, well, memorial and stages.

Today, the most famous sites of this village are summarized to be Five Streets and Ninety Nine Alley. The whole alleys and streets keep the standard in the aspect of materials, and they are all paved with granite strip-style flagstones.

A house with a surprise-look, cute...

Again, it's quick dark inside the house. Don't they like natural light?

Introducing the famous local dishes...since the time was still too early for dinner, the restaurant was not opened. 

But this family-run toufu shop was opened, the business was very good too...Since all of the tables in his small kitchen was occupied, we could take away the foods.

Apparently, ChengKan hairy-toufu is very famous.

Besides of its hairy skin, the other characteristic of the toufu is they uniform dimension, 4(L) x 2(W) x 1(T).

At first, I thought it would smell stinks and taste rotten. But I was wrong. In fact, it tastes quite delicious. We all like it.

The tour guide brought us to visit some old buildings. From here, the tour guide had shown his value by telling the history of each building. 

There are more than 100 ancient building sites established in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Today, it has more than 200 residential buildings of Qing Dynasty and more than 30 residential buildings of Ming Dynasty. Each of them possess various and unique architectural styles. 

The cows and the man had totally ignored our presence, like we were invisible. 

It's true there are many alleys in the village, we started to feel like we were walking in a maze. The tour guide is probably right, without him showing for the direction, we can easily get lost in no where. 

Those alleys look more or less the same....

but not quite the same when look into detail...

Another old house we have visited...This one is called YangYi Hall. 



So dark and gloomy inside there, who would like to live in?

ChungYing street, the main shopping street in the village.

But there isn't much to buy actually.....

Visited this LuoChunfu's Cartilage too...According to our tour guide, most of the villagers here are from Luo ancestors. 

"Hello, anybody home?"

Confirmed with none around, the boys started to make it their own house.

Besides us, chicken were roaming freely in the house too.

Husband didn't seem to have high interest to visit the old house, he rather sat there to wait for us.

The houses which are occupied are not so old fashion.

Since the time was getting late, we got to tour the village in a relatively faster pace...

But with kids tagging along, sometimes it's not so easy to move faster. They are the creature who live in the present, so time is never their concern. 

Out of a sudden, we saw this bridge which we didn't expect to see...

There is a river running across the village.

The air is very fresh, so we took a short break here.

So, washing machine is not a necessity here..

Forgot what he was playing with, but he seemed happy with this thingy. 

Husband looked very tired cause he didn't get enough sleep, actually me the same too.

House built along the river.

I was trying to jump over the rocks and test my jumping skills, but too bad I couldn't complete it by jumping the rock. I hope when I come back later, I will succeed (this paragraph was written by William)

Then, we arrived at the Luo Dongshu Memorial Temple. This is a family memorial hall that the descendants built in memory of their 3rd generation ancestor who was Luo Dongsu. This memorial hall is one of the two cultural relic sites in the village that is under the national protection. 

Luo Dongshu was a famous scholar and a resolute recluse in the period of late Song and early Yuan Dynasty. He has high morality and refused to be the official of Yuan government. Luo Dongshu made a great contribution to Luo family. Hence, the descendants respected him as Confucius. 

Again this paragraph was written by William : I was happy that I could finish the tour around Cheng Kan (some places or other) quickly. This place was sure a good and comfortable place to live in, but I still prefer to live in my very own home.

Lastly, the tour guide had brought us to here...he said we would end the tour after this.

This place has a big court yard in front of its main building...the previous owner must be a rich and famous guy. 

Baolun Hall (宝纶阁used to be the site to sincerely lay or collect the gifts and edicts of emperors to the family of Luo Yinghe in Wanli reign (1573-1620) of Ming Dynasty. Mr Luo acted as a high official an awarded constantly.  

The decoration and carvings of the roof are quite impressive and valuable. 

The big house has a big hall that we can play soccer game here..

Walked out from the house and saw Vincent was sitting there to wait for us.

I am sure he has no idea what this place is, haha...

Ok, time to go now. I checked my watch, it was nearly 6pm by then. 

The tour guide bid farewell to us after he walked us out from the village.

Oh wow, this is a restaurant hotel....too bad it was closed. 

Again, our lady driver gave us an unbelievable look when she finally saw us. She asked me : there really is so much to see inside huh? I nodded my head vigorously.