We were up early for another day of exploration only to find the streets rather empty.
Saturday must be sleep-in morning. Shutters on shops down. Where would we find breakfast?
We ended up at a noodle house where we had a big bowl of rice noodles with some chopped spring onions and coriander leaves along with an equally large bowl of broth that I think had a chicken base with a bit of chilli here and there for good luck! It all tasted good but not the usual thing I have for breakfast.
The noodle shop was dishing out bowl after bowl to the local residents who seem to eat out most of the time – even for breakfast… perhaps because the food is so cheap; cheap like our fast food (read junk) outlets. However the huge difference I see between at home and in China is that the food being served in China is made on-site with fresh ingredients to age old local recipes – anything but junk food. And the other big difference I see is this… you have to look long and hard to find a fat person… and that’s not quite the same in our Western societies!
Fed and happy, we wandered back out into the street. A few more people out, but still not busy.
We were headed for the restored train station. We had decided to explore a little further afield… to the village of Tuan Shan. We’d heard that one of the places on the ‘must see’ list for Jianshui is the Shuanglong (Double Dragon) Bridge. As luck would have it, a tourist train passes it, with a stop, on the way to Tuan Shan. This looked like a good way to kill two birds with the one stone and get a train ride into the bargain. We even got a 30% discount on our tickets because we’d already visited the Zhu Garden.
Now here’s something really different from so many railway stations… immaculate ‘loos’.
The platform and the one metre gauge lines.
A rather smart looking yellow loco was ready to pull our touristy train.
The carriages waited at the very tidy, pleasant platform!
The carriages were old style… but newly built.
But the carriages were not the only thing to catch my eye. At the end of the platform, there was a large group of professional photographers. So what was the interest… surely not the loco!
No… not the loco. They were ‘shooting’ a bevy of tarted up models.
There were models all over the place; wearing ridiculously high-heeled footwear, carrying parasols and other props and striking poses in what seemed to me to be the oddest of places. At least this one was highlighting the trains logo. Maybe it was to be a promo for Jianshui!
Another really odd place to pose!
Enough make-up to sink a battle ship. I guess it was all just really not my thing!
This whole scene did not auger well for a peaceful train ride out into the country. But, thankfully, they had their own bus and would meet up with the train later. So back to our train trip!
On board, we settled into our not so comfortable wooden seats, new made to look old style, and prepared for the ride. The carriages had a top speed limit of 25km/h although the loco could do 60km/h! Nonetheless the slow ride to the foothills gave us time to admire the scenery.
And, as on many a tourist train, there was a musician to entertain the passengers. This one was a happy chap (?) and played a number of different instruments.
A view of neat and tidy vegetable beds… no space wasted.
Stooks out to dry… may not dry too well on this drizzly, mizzly, misty day.
A lot of new apartment building on the outskirts of town appeared to be in limbo. No workers… no sign of work having been done recently. Maybe this was part of the problem in China of too many apartments being built. The building boom seems to have stagnated somewhat.
Not far out of town, the train began to really slow down. We had reached the famous Shuanglong (Double Dragon) Bridge. Here we would stop, get out and stretch our legs… and no doubt run the gauntlet of that bevy of models, photographers and their entourage once more!
More of that anon
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