China: Yunnan: #16 More exploring in Jianshui

Early morning on our final day in Jianshui and, quite by accident, we walked into an area in the old town that is undergoing restoration… a big make over.

DSC01283 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01283 © DY of jtdytravels

Billboards explained what was being attempted.  It was good to have Kenzo to translate!

DSC01284 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01284 © DY of jtdytravels

A computer generated overview of the whole area was on show. It appeared to be quite an ambitious project but one that will make Jianshui an even more interesting place to visit.

DSC01275 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01275 © DY of jtdytravels

The most imposing building in the complex is the Chongwen Pagoda, also known as the Wenchang or Wenfeng Pagoda. The thirteen story brick structure was built in the 13th Century during the Yuan Dynasty.  It has been repaired a number of times since, including 1555 and between 1654 and 1655.  

DSC01280 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01280 © DY of jtdytravels

A nearby two-storied building in dire need of some TLC… and a lot of hard work.

DSC01279 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01279 © DY of jtdytravels

The other side of the same building.  New bricks ready for the work of restoration.

DSC01286 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01286 © DY of jtdytravels

We walked on, soaking up the atmosphere. This was the colourful entrance to a plastic flower and plant shop. One of my great hates in life; plastic flowers… but they were colourful.

DSC01287 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01287 © DY of jtdytravels

Goods were being carried to a market in the traditional way.

DSC01293 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01293 © DY of jtdytravels

You could buy almost anything you could possibly want.  Anybody for some geese?

DSC01294 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01294 © DY of jtdytravels

 …or maybe a sad looking tortoise. This one no doubt on its way to a soup pot.

DSC01299 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01299 © DY of jtdytravels

Frogs for dinner? You don’t find these on our supermarket shelves.

That’s what I love about markets… no shelves filled with cans and boxes of ‘food’.

DSC01297 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01297 © DY of jtdytravels

Moon Cakes looked somewhat more palatable. It was coming up time for the big Moon Festival in China so there were lots of feverish activity taking place in this bakery.

DSC01298 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01298 © DY of jtdytravels

Fresh fruit looked really good… Plump bunches of grapes and pears.

DSC01300 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01300 © DY of jtdytravels

Various grades of sunflower seeds, peanuts and lentils.

DSC01302 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01302 © DY of jtdytravels

Various grades of rice wine… a necessary ingredient in much Chinese cooking.

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The pork buns were being freshly made and looked very good.

DSC01301 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01301 © DY of jtdytravels

A happy group of smokers!

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An interesting form of transport for people and goods coming into the market.

We began to think about getting lunch before we had to catch the train back to Kunming. Kenzo ducked down a small non-descript sort of lane.  I followed, but I’d never have ventured into this lane without Kenzo leading the way.  We had to literally duck down to pass through a low door way and into a tiny courtyard.  Inside there was a middle aged lady sitting on the lowest of stools trimming a green leafy vegetable. And so we stayed there for lunch… a good choice.

DSC01304 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01304 © DY of jtdytravels

Delicious stir fried, fresh leafy greens…

DSC01305 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01305 © DY of jtdytravels

… a slow-cooked chicken dish…

DSC01306 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01306 © DY of jtdytravels

… and at last, some crispy skinned, succulent duck. Head and all!

‘Twas a very good meal to last us for the journey back to Kunming by train.

More from Kunming anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

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China: Yunnan: #15 Back to Jianshui

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Forty five minutes on the train and we were back in Jianshui… and just a little hungry.

DSC01234 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01234 © DY of jtdytravels

Kenzo again excelled and found a place that served up a delicious meal… lotus root slices filled with a sticky rice mix and deep fried – delicious!

DSC01236 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01236 © DY of jtdytravels

Bamboo shoots, capsicum and some meat… not sure what, but tasty anyway.

DSC01235 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01235 © DY of jtdytravels

And for our veggies… fresh broccoli and carrots… cooked perfectly.

DSC01233 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01233 © DY of jtdytravels

Fed and happy, we wandered further along the road. Crispy skin duck in one of the market shops looked good. Maybe we’d look for a duck dinner later on.

But for now, there was still more of the town to see so we walked to the Confucius Temple complex, the third largest in China.  It was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

DSC01239 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01239 © DY of jtdytravels

The entrance gate to the Confucian Temple was pretty impressive.  The entry fee was high, so I just took a peek through the entrance gate.

DSC01238 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01238 © DY of jtdytravels

And what I saw was a large pond full of lotus plants.

DSC01241 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01241 © DY of jtdytravels

Further along, we came upon another of the many ancient wells in Jianshui. The first of these wells, the Dongjing Well, was originally dug in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) making it around 700 years old.  The sweet, crystal-clear water from these wells is said to make the best tea. I just hope they don’t ever ‘sully the waters’ with mining or fracking or whatever in the area!

DSC01270 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01270 © DY of jtdytravels

A decorative shrine filled a niche in a wall.

DSC01274 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01274 © DY of jtdytravels

A neighbourly afternoon chat!

T’was time for us to take a break, too.  The heat and high humidity sent us back to our hotel where a shower was in order… and the first Nanna nap I’d had since arriving in China.  I think I’d earned it. But I couldn’t stay snoozing forever… it was time to eat again!  So off into the streets – again.

We were heading for a place well known for its duck dishes… and we salivated at the thought.  However, we were a little late – they had run out of duck.  So instead, Kenzo ordered BBQ pork which was absolutely delicious.  He also ordered an eggplant dish which he promptly sent back because he’d ordered it without chillies.  The chef was obviously not in the habit of omitting the usual handful of chillies when preparing this dish.  The replacement dish came… it still had fresh green and orange twisted capsicum in it, but thankfully, these didn’t impart such a hot taste.  It seemed strange to me that I was looking for the hot bits, while Kenzo, my Asian friend, was dodging them!  The whole meal, including a Harbin beer, was ¥39 (AUD9)… excellent value!

DSC01246 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01246 © DY of jtdytravels

On leaving the restaurant we heard some music a little way up the street. We just had to follow that sound and found a covered stage set up in a bit of a square where dancers were performing in colourful costumes to very loud amplified traditional music.

DSC01249 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01249 © DY of jtdytravels

We sat around for 20 or so minutes watching dancing and umbrella twirling before we agreed that it was time to call it a night.  We were back in our hotel by 21.00 and well and truly ready for bed.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

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more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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China: Yunnan: #14 Exploring Tuan Shan (Part b)

DSC01192 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01192 © DY of jtdytravels

Back on the narrow streets

DSC01193 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01193 © DY of jtdytravels

Dried gourds for sale in a small shop

DSC01194 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01194 © DY of jtdytravels

Dried lotus pods.

DSC01196 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01196 © DY of jtdytravels

In this lady’s shop items made from plant stalks were for sale

DSC01195 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01195 © DY of jtdytravels

Yet another decorative manhole cover.

DSC01198 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01198 © DY of jtdytravels

Gates also often contained living quarters.

DSC01199 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01199 © DY of jtdytravels

 Arachis glabrata, a ground cover plant.

DSC01200 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01200 © DY of jtdytravels

Yet another gateway to a courtyard

In 1905 the Zhang jia Family ancestral temple and garden complex was built.  The complex contains 119 rooms, 21 courtyards, covered walkways, airy pavilions and of course the ancestral temple.  A large central pool is surrounded by decorated stone railings.

DSC01213 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01213 © DY of jtdytravels

A view of the central pool through a moon gate

DSC01204 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01204 © DY of jtdytravels

Central pool

DSC01205 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01205 © DY of jtdytravels

Zephyranthes carinata growing in a garden bed surrounding the pool

DSC01202 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01202 © DY of jtdytravels

A balcony being used to dry lotus seed pods

DSC01221 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01221 © DY of jtdytravels

Extracting seeds from a lotus pod

DSC01223 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01223 © DY of jtdytravels

A toothy grin

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DSC01215 © DY of jtdytravels

Crooked old lanes lead onwards

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DSC01216 © DY of jtdytravels

A broom resting on a window sill

DSC01217 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01217 © DY of jtdytravels

A window barred with wooden poles

DSC01219 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01219 © DY of jtdytravels

The sign said this was a “Century Cactus”.  The leaves are used as a vegetable.

DSC01222 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01222 © DY of jtdytravels

Intricately carved and gilded doors that have seen better days

DSC01224 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01224 © DY of jtdytravels

Rice stalks drying in the sun

DSC01225 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01225 © DY of jtdytravels

Courtyard of an old timber house… fire fighting equipment at the door!

DSC01227 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01227 © DY of jtdytravels

Which key do I use?

DSC01226 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01226 © DY of jtdytravels

…to open this door

DSC01231 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01231 © DY of jtdytravels

An ancient moon gate in need of a little TLC. 

DSC01230 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01230 © DY of jtdytravels

Water droplets looking like crystals on a taro leaf

DSC01232 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01232 © DY of jtdytravels

It was 13.00, time to be back to board the train

Without stops, it only took 45 minutes to get back to Jianshui.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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China: Yunnan: #13 Exploring Tuan Shan (Part a)

Tuan Shan village is the only intact village of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).  It was inhabited by the Yi minority and some traditional Chinese Han.

DSC01159 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01159 © DY of jtdytravels

Some of the courtyard houses, built of grey mud bricks, are 600 years old.  It is said that all the houses face east and therefore catch the first rays of the sun each morning. The first old house we saw had a sign which gave the building date as 1910… so not as old as some.

DSC01162 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01162 © DY of jtdytravels

A very old covered doorway.

Many of these old doorways have a stone known as a Tai shan shi Gan Dang.  It’s believed that it can break spells and protect the house from evil and disasters.  An interpretive sign said that stone is believed to have “the cultural connocation (sic) that people wish blessings to the officials, health to the commonwealth, prevail of education and the promotion of rituals and music”.

DSC01161 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01161 © DY of jtdytravels

A fig tree with a strong hold on its wall.

DSC01164 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01164 © DY of jtdytravels

A fancy restaurant built on stilts above a lotus pond.

DSC01157 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01157 © DY of jtdytravels

The light rain had left a delicate dusting of water drops on this lotus leaf.

DSC01165 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01165 © DY of jtdytravels

Lotus seed pods about to shed their seed.

DSC01166 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01166 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking up the street to the main gate of the walled village.

DSC01167 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01167 © DY of jtdytravels

A sign we probably would not see in Australia!

DSC01168 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01168 © DY of jtdytravels

Colourful decorations

DSC01169 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01169 © DY of jtdytravels

The main East Gate of the village was built in 1904 as a two-story residence with three rooms.  It’s been an important fortification for the village.

DSC01172 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01172 © DY of jtdytravels

Another decorated man hole cover.

DSC01175 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01175 © DY of jtdytravels

The village square… a meeting place for a chat.

DSC01177 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01177 © DY of jtdytravels

Red-coloured corn

DSC01178 © DY of jrdytravels

DSC01178 © DY of jtdytravels

A peep into a small square just off the main square.

DSC01179 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01179 © DY of jtdytravels

Doorways are good places to meet… but the conversation must be somewhat boring!

DSC01179 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01179 © DY of jtdytravels

An interesting house with traditional saddle-shaped roof.

DSC01182 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01182 © DY of jtdytravels

 A sneak peak through a window into somebody’s kitchen.

DSC01184 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01184 © DY of jtdytravels

One of the rooms in a museum house

DSC01185 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01185 © DY of jtdytravels

A long bench table

DSC01186 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01186 © DY of jtdytravels

A painted door panel

DSC01187 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01187 © DY of jtdytravels

The panel on the other side of the double doors

DSC01188 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01188 © DY of jtdytravels

An ornate gateway

DSC01190 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01190 © DY of jtdytravels

One of the courtyards in the Liuyuan Garden and Mansion which was built by Zhang Youcai in the second decade of the 20th Century.  It has 17 rooms and two courtyards.

Time for a rest… more of this village anon

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

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more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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China: Yunnan: #12 Train Ride to Tuan Shan (Part b)

The little yellow train came to a stop at the Shuanglong (Double Dragon) Bridge, only 3km. (a little over 1 mi.) west of Jianshui.  The bridge was built at the confluence of the Lujiang and Tachong Rivers.  These two rivers twist along their separate courses looking like two dragons, hence that bridge’s name.  Below the confluence, the new river is called the Nanpan.

DSC01110 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01110 © DY of jtdytravels

The bridge was originally built with only three arches during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty between 1736 and 1795. However, it had to be increased by another 14 arches during the 1820‘s due to a flood which widened the river.  The bridge is now 148 m. (486 ft.) long and varies in width from 3-5 m. (9-16 ft.)

DSC01112 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01112 © DY of jtdytravels

The central tower of the bridge is quite spectacular, although it would undoubtedly look better on a sunny day when the colours of the tiles would show up. Never mind, when you’re travelling, you get what you get and I was just grateful that it was just misty not pelting down with rain!

DSC01113 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01113 © DY of jtdytravels

We had time to walk over the bridge, but first we had to get past the ‘elephant’ guards!

DSC01114 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01114 © DY of jtdytravels

The rain became a little heavier as we walked onto the bridge. But that red umbrella just gave the touch of colour that lifted the scene with the main tower.

DSC01116 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01116 © DY of jtdytravels

A closer look at the coloured tile roof of the main tower.

DSC01119 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01119 © DY of jtdytravels

There’s another, smaller tower at the far end of the bridge.

DSC01121 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01121 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking down on the bank showed another way to enjoy the view of this bridge! 

DSC01124 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01124 © DY of jtdytravels

 A beautiful reflection on the lee side of the bridge.

DSC01125 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01125 © DY of jtdytravels

The river looked so peaceful as I began to walk back over the bridge towards the train.

DSC01126 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01126 © DY of jtdytravels

And, then, guess who got in the way and clogged the bridge walk?  Yep. Those models and their army of photographers. They were simply taking command of the whole bridge.

DSC01128 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01128 © DY of jtdytravels

Although it was raining lightly this parasol was just for show! However, I noted that the light rain didn’t suit the make-up, costumes or cameras.  Our way was totally blocked, and, if you look at the faces, we weren’t especially welcome walking into their shots! With a little patience from everyone, the photos they wanted were taken, and we made it back across the bridge. 

DSC01127 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01127 © DY of jtdytravels

A bemused local.

DSC01136 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01136 © DY of jtdytravels

 …and another one. I’d much rather photograph these faces than the heavily made up faces of those models. These faces have lived. I’m sure these men have great stories to tell.

DSC01132 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01132 © DY of jtdytravels

Rear view of another fisherman. They’re not real raindrops on the umbrella.

DSC01134 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01134 © DY of jtdytravels

A final look at the lovely reflections of this famous Shuanglong (Double Dragon) Bridge. Then it was back on the train and onwards towards Tuan Shan along a track that was originally laid by the French when they had greater influence in the area than they do now.  Hence, of course, the metre gauge track. 

DSC01140 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01140 © DY of jtdytravels

Our cheery (!) musician regaled us with a piano accordion this time. I did like his hat!

DSC01141 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01141 © DY of jtdytravels

A fellow passenger enjoying lunch!

DSC01142 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01142 © DY of jtdytravels

Our next stop was at an old French inspired station that had seen much better days… but at least there was a toilet… even if it was only a slit in a concrete slab.  When needs must…..

DSC01145 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01145 © DY of jtdytravels

A local used the station as a short cut.

DSC01150 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01150 © DY of jtdytravels

Quite a stern look from this little fellow.  Wonder what’s up with him.

DSC01152 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01152 © DY of jtdytravels

It wasn’t long before we came into the outskirts of a small town.

DSC01156 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01156 © DY of jtdytravels

And then we were there, at our destination for the day. It was around 11.30 and now we had 90 minutes to walk around the old village before the train returned to Jianshui.

More of that walk anon

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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More of our travel photos are on

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China: Yunnan: #11 Train Ride to Tuan Shan (Part a)

We were up early for another day of exploration only to find the streets rather empty.

DSC01073 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01073 © DY of jtdytravels

Saturday must be sleep-in morning. Shutters on shops down. Where would we find breakfast?

DSC01075 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01075 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

DSC01077 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01077 © DY of jtdytravels

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!

DSC01078 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01078 © DY of jtdytravels

Fed and happy, we wandered back out into the street.  A few more people out, but still not busy. 

DSC01036 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01036 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

DSC01094 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01094 © DY of jtdytravels

Now here’s something really different from so many railway stations… immaculate ‘loos’.

DSC01039 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01039 © DY of jtdytravels

The platform and the one metre gauge lines.

DSC01087 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01087 © DY of jtdytravels

A rather smart looking yellow loco was ready to pull our touristy train.

DSC01095 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01095 © DY of jtdytravels

The carriages waited at the very tidy, pleasant platform!

DSC01081 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01081 © DY of jtdytravels

 The carriages were old style… but newly built.

DSC01085 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01085 © DY of jtdytravels

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!

DSC01086 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01086 © DY of jtdytravels

No… not the loco. They were ‘shooting’ a bevy of  tarted up models.

DSC01084 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01084 © DY of jtdytravels

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!

DSC01091 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01091 © DY of jtdytravels

Another really odd place to pose!

DSC01092 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01092 © DY of jtdytravels

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!

DSC01097 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01097 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

DSC01100 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01100 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

DSC01101 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01101 © DY of jtdytravels

A view of neat and tidy vegetable beds… no space wasted.

DSC01106 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01106 © DY of jtdytravels

Stooks out to dry… may not dry too well on this drizzly, mizzly, misty day.

DSC01105 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01105 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

DSC01109 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01109 © DY of jtdytravels

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

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

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more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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China: Yunnan: #10 More Exploring in Jianshui

So what else did we find as we explored the old part of Jianshui a little more? Let’s see.

 

DSC01007 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01007 © DY of jtdytravels

This was the street scape opposite the gate to the Zhu Gardens.

DSC01006 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01006 © DY of jtdytravels

The pomegranate seller made a wonderful still life photo. I wonder how many hours she just stood their hoping for someone to buy her fruit as they emerged from the gardens. It was getting late in the day and at least one basket was empty so maybe it had been worth her while.

DSC01011 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01011 © DY of jtdytravels

There were still a few people out and about along the shopping street.

DSC01009 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01009 © DY of jtdytravels

A china shop in China!

DSC01012 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01012 © DY of jtdytravels

Glazed and unglazed storage jars.

DSC01013 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01013 © DY of jtdytravels

The entrance to a ‘Foreign Nationals Hotel’.

DSC01032 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01032 © DY of jtdytravels

A lot of thought goes into these manholes that incorporate a story.

DSC01035 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01035 © DY of jtdytravels

Another decorated man hole.

DSC01042 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01042 © DY of jtdytravels

A different sort of decoration… a web woven of electric cables!

DSC01030 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01030 © DY of jtdytravels

A shop selling woks, steamers, brooms, hats and hardware items.

More electric cables decorate the roof… and they aren’t Christmas lights!

DSC01033 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01033 © DY of jtdytravels

A REAL hardware shop

DSC01034 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01034 © DY of jtdytravels

A larger house with a courtyard.

DSC01044 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01044 © DY of jtdytravels

The old and the new, side by side.

DSC01046 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01046 © DY of jtdytravels

Different strengths of rice wine are sold from these jars.

DSC01048 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01048 © DY of jtdytravels

Street fruit market

DSC01052 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01052 © DY of jtdytravels

Vegetable market…. bring your own shop on the back of a bike!

DSC01053 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01053 © DY of jtdytravels

 

 

 

Delicious looking mushrooms

DSC01054 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01054 © DY of jtdytravels

A wider variety of mushrooms… all look delicious… pity we can’t do any cooking.

DSC01049 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01049 © DY of jtdytravels

Those mushrooms would taste really good with these cooked ‘chooks’.

DSC01061 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01061 © DY of jtdytravels

Or maybe these succulent crispy ducks. Yum!

DSC01050 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01050 © DY of jtdytravels

Could add some tofu as well.

DSC01051 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01051 © DY of jtdytravels

Might rethink the tofu… not sure about smokers blowing smoke over the food

DSC01057 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01057 © DY of jtdytravels

Thoughtful market seller

DSC01059 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01059 © DY of jtdytravels

These dried chrysanthemum flowers are used to make chrysanthemum tea (pinyin).  The flowers are steeped in hot water 90-950C, (194-2030F).  Chrysanthemum tea is said to have many beneficial health properties.  In China it is used to recover from a sore throat, influenza and acne.  The flowers are also used as a compress to alleviate circulatory disorders such as varicose veins.

DSC01060 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01060 © DY of jtdytravels

A potential buyer of the tea.

Then after our interesting exploration around the streets it was time for dinner. We found a cafe with a balcony and watched the city quieten down while we ate a delicious dinner.

DSC01070 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01070 © DY of jtdytravels

The East Gate illuminated at night.

A wonderful sight at the end of a very special day in Jianshui.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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More of our travel photos are on

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.

.

 

China: Yunnan: #7 The Zhu Garden and Mansion, Jianshui (Part c)

One of the rooms in the Zhu Garden residence held clues to the real Zhu family. We had seen their house, their furniture, their paintings and vases and now we could see them … through a series of old photos… which I, in turn, photographed. I don’t know exactly who is who, but the photos give a sense of the people who lived in this place more than a century ago!

DSC00924 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00924 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00926 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00926 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00927 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00927 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00928 © DY opf jtdytravels

DSC00928 © DY of jtdytravels

This was not your average Chinese family of the time. This was a family who lived in plenty. After moving to this area, they built up their businesses, purchasing real estate, founding ‘grinderies’ (mills), and selling wine. They set up tin ore firms. They had shops widely distributed in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guandong and Hong Kong… shops that sold provisions such as cotton yarns, cloth, tin and indeed, opium. They became one of the top eight trading names in Yunnan. Their wealth brought them prestige and they became important bureaucrats under the late Qing regime.

DSC00921 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00921 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00922 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00922 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00923 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00923 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00925 © DY of travels

DSC00925 © DY of travels

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DSC00929 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00929 © DY of jtdytravels

During their time here, there was much disquiet in China. The Qing court, racked by corruption and incompetence, failed to contain foreign intrusions into China. The opium wars ensued. Then, following the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Yunnan came under the control of local warlords, like the Zhu family, who had more than the usual degree of autonomy due to Yunnan’s remoteness. They financed their regime through opium harvesting. They had become embroiled in both the political and military ‘games’ of those very volatile times.

DSC00938 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00938 © DY of jtdytravels

A couple of photos showed what happened to anyone captured fighting on the ‘wrong’ side! Off with his head… it was then put in a basket and hung on a wall. A very graphic message?!

DSC00935 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00935 © DY of jtdytravels

The last leader of  Zhu family was Lieutenant General Zhu Chaoying.  However, as a Chinese proverb puts it, “the rising wind forbodes the coming storm”. This family was directly affected by all of the twists and turns of political events in the early 1900s. There were sharp changes in the social situations of the elite and wealthy during and after the downfall of the last Imperial dynasty and the rise of the Republic of China. The Zhu families fortunes began to fall away. As one of the signs said, “The rise and fall of the Zhu Family mirrors the modern history of Yunnan in an age of rapid change across China.”  They’d had their days of glory.

DSC00967 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00967 © DY of jtdytravels

However, fortunately, the residence and the gardens they built, remain today for us to have a glimpse into life as it was then. After learning something of the family’s story, it was time to go out and explore the larger garden area. But on the way there, we enjoyed seeing yet more of the work of skilled masons and carpenters, of artists and potters and calligraphers; ordinary people whose work has not been forgotten.

DSC00950 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00950 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00950 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00950 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00961 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00961 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00971 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00971 © DY of jtdytravels

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DSC00973 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00973 © DY of jtdytravels

This had been a very special experience, one that I thoroughly recommend.

More about the gardens anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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China: Yunnan: #6 The Zhu Garden and Mansion, Jianshui (Part b)

There were many more rooms to be explored, all showing the way the residence was in the time of the wealthy Zhu family… late 1800s, early 1900s. In recent years, movie makers and television producers have used this residence for the settings of historical stories. It was one of the very few such residences in China not destroyed under Mao’s ‘cultural revolution’… maybe because it’s in south Yunnan and a long way from Beijing, the centre of authority. And now it’s a good place to visit without the normal throngs of tourists in other better known parts of the country.

DSC00888 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00888 © DY of jtdytravels

A feature of many Chinese gardens is a symmetrical array of similar pot plants. Such gardens can easily be changed with the seasons. Here it mirrors the symmetrical architecture of the building.

DSC00889 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00889 © DY of jtdytravels

A very simple room with beautifully carved furniture… not too comfortable I would think!

DSC00890 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00890 © DY of jtdytravels

The room was decorated with a traditional floral Chinese art work and some beautifully painted vases.I wonder what these vases would fetch on the market today? We sometimes see vases like these on the UK’s ‘Antique Road Show’… many collected by family members a couple of hundred years ago when trade was burgeoning between China and England.

DSC00891 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00891 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking back across the courtyard… a pleasant outlook from the room.

DSC00892 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00892 © DY of jtdytravels

Detail of some of the ‘verandah’ decorations.

A calligraphy style of work told in characters and art.

DSC00894 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00894 © DY of jtdytravels

More decorations on the ‘verandah’. The red hangings are a traditional type of ornament…red being a very auspicious good luck colour in China.  We have a miniature one for our Christmas tree!

DSC00895 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00895 © DY of jtdytravels

The ornate wooden doors fold back to allow air into the room. Every one of the intricately carved panels is different, and each one tells a story.

DSC00896 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00896 © DY of jtdytravels

Decorative stone bases support the pillars that hold up the high ceilings.

DSC00898 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00898 © DY of jtdytravels

There were many varieties of such carvings throughout the complex.

DSC00966 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00966 © DY of jtdytravels

Yet another design on a base pedestal.

DSC00900 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00900 © DY of jtdytravels

The upper parts of the pillars were also decorated in a variety of colourful patterns. It must take a lot of time and money to keep this place maintained. There were many examples where parts of the houses that are open to the weather were falling into disrepair. Gradually they are being restored and repainted.

DSC00904 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00904 © DY of jtdytravels

Chinese calligraphy style art work uses few strokes of the brush to create the scene.

DSC00907 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00907 © DY of jtdytravels

By contrast, the carving of door panels is complex and detailed.

DSC00909 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00909 © DY of jtdytravels

In one of the function or living rooms, there’s an ornately carved set of shelves, specially designed to show off a large display of vases, each one in its own niche. Very impressive.

DSC00910 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00910 © DY of jtdytravels

Detail of some of the beautiful vases on display.

DSC00914 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00914 © DY of jtdytravels

Another room… again made from timber. With so much timber used in the building of this complex, there was always a danger of fire. Kitchens were in their own ‘out houses’.

DSC00915 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00915 © DY of jtdytravels

A rather grand carved screen in one of the large living areas.

DSC00917 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00917 © DY of jtdytravels

Detail of part of that carved wall.

DSC00918 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00918 © DY of jtdytravels

Another panel on the same wall.

We’d really enjoyed being immersed in viewing these rooms inhabited by the Zhu family… not being hurried by jostling throngs of tourists… able to take our time! But now it was time to go to a different section of the complex, one that had photos of the family and photos of life here in the hey day of the Zhu family. And we’ll look at that section of the residence in the next post.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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More of our travel photos are on

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China: Yunnan: #5 The Zhu Garden and Mansion, Jianshui (Part a)

After dropping off our ‘stuff’ in the hotel, we ventured back out onto the streets of Jianshui. It was already 15.30, so it was time to get going again to explore.

DSC00861 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00861 © DY of jtdytravels

The street near the hotel was busy with shoppers… but not one was a westerner. Jianshui is still not on many tourist itineraries.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.23.30 AM

On one of the side streets we came across a young man painting a sign above a new gallery.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.15.13 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

He happily acknowledged us before going back to his work.

 

DSC00862 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00862 © DY of jtdytravels

We’d checked out the town map and walked with a plan in mind… to find the Zhu Gardens and Mansion. Further along, in Hanlin Street, we found the main entrance gate.

DSC00866 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00866 © DY of jtdytravels

The ornate gate heralded what was to come as we entered this place sometimes referred to as the ‘Grand View Garden’.  All of the buildings have saddle-shaped roofs and elaborately painted crossbeams and ceilings.

DSC01020 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01020 © DY of jtdytravels

The layout of the complex is based on a fairly simple grid pattern.

DSC00869 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00869 © DY of jtdytravels

Within this layout there are 42 Tianjing (courtyards) and 214 pavilions and towers… lots to see! The whole complex covers many hectares and we just wandered between courtyards and rooms taking photos as we went. So, over the next few musing posts, you can join us as the photos lead us through this maze of buildings, a peep into China’s past in the late 1800s early 1900s.

DSC00870 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00870 © DY of jtdytravels

The roofs were covered in the traditional Chinese glazed tubular tiles. These are made of clay in a wooden tube-shaped mould. Each pipe is then cut into halves along their length, producing two semicircular tubular tiles. These are overlapped in lines down the roof. When these tiles are used on an eave edge, circular ends are often added, these usually moulded with the pattern of dragon.

DSC00865 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00865 © DY of jtdytravels

There are many ornately carved and painted wood panels.

DSC00867 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00867 © DY of jtdytravels

The garden’s penjing, or bonsai, collection is scattered throughout the various courtyards. Although best known in the west as a Japanese art form, this form of training and miniaturisation of plants in a pot originated in China.

DSC00868 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00868 © DY of jtdytravels

 

These lovely bonsai appear to be very old. They have been created to mimic the shape and style of the mature, full-size trees. Cultivation techniques such as pruning, root reduction, and grafting are used over a long period of time to produce this effect.

DSC00872 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00872 © DY of jtdytravels

A circular opening, known as a ‘moon gate’, lead us into the next courtyard.

DSC00875 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00875 © DY of jtdytravels

We had entered the courtyard of the Embroidery Tower, the only two story building in the residence. Here, in former days, female members of the Zhu family enjoyed recreational activities including reading and embroidery. It was later used as a ‘home school’ for the Zhu children.

DSC00876 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00876 © DY of jtdytravels

A larger Bonsai dominated this courtyard. Its stone label, in three languages, told us that this was a Bougainvillea spectabilis. In flower it would indeed be spectacular.

DSC00878 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00878 © DY of jtdytravels

Further along, we came to the doorway of one of the rooms in the residence, the doorway again flanked by Bonsai.  A sign in the complex explained that the main residence is typical of Jianshui architecture of the time: “three bedrooms with six side rooms, three living rooms with three side rooms attached in the rear, as well as one major courtyard and four attached small courtyards.”

DSC00879 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00879 © DY of jtdytravels

A peep inside the room… anyone for a game of cards?

DSC00881 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00881 © DY of jtdytravels

Yellow chrysanthemums grew beside another ornate door way.

DSC00883 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00883 © DY of jtdytravels

The chrysanthemums had been heavily pruned and trained. 

DSC00884 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00884 © DY of jtdytravels

The central shoot of the plant had been nipped out and the resulting side shoots had been trained to the outside edge of the pot and then allowed to grow upwards. Very spidery!

DSC00887 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00887 © DY of jtdytravels

Inside this ‘room’, in fact a linking passageway, were a couple of chairs but, although we could have done with a bit of a rest by then, they did not look at all comfortable!

I’ll return with more photos of the Zhu Gardens and Mansion in my next post.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

If you enjoy these armchair travels, please pass our site onto others

www.dymusings.com

more of our travel stories and photos can be found on

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More of our travel photos are on

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