China: Yunnan: #17 Fresh Food Markets in Kunming (Part a)

Back in Kunming with Ross, we had a good meal, lots of chat and a good night’s sleep.

Next morning, we had a slow start, no hurry to do anything today.  Ross had to leave early to do his tutoring so Kenzo and I walked to a place near the apartment for some Muslim noodles for breakfast.  The noodles are made from the usual dough mix but the cutting/shaping is different.  Check out the video on You Tube … the link is at the end of this post.  It shows the process better than I can describe it.  Our big bowl of noodles in a meat broth cost us just 7 Yuan each.

DSC01325 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01325 © DY of jtdytravels

Then, we caught a bus to a fruit and meat market.  I love markets, particularly Asian ones.  They are full of the most wondrous things! There was some cooked food…sautéed capsicum and red chilli, and lotus root… looked so good. But this market is mainly for fresh food. It’s always fun to wander along and see what I might buy if I was going to prepare my own meal.

DSC01327 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01327 © DY of jtdytravels

Just look at the colours in these Spanish onions, cucumbers and carrots.

DSC01328 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01328 © DY of jtdytravels

Long, thin, purple aubergine with the orange of carrots… more great colour. 

DSC01329 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01329 © DY of jtdytravels

Chinese cabbage… of course. Often used in Chinese meals.

DSC01324 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01324 © DY of jtdytravels

There’s quite a bit of a difference between this butcher’s shop and those we’re used to! If I bought the RH carcass, I’d even get a bag of bile!

DSC01331 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01331 © DY of jtdytravels

Not to mention the poultry shop! Those are the yolks of unformed eggs.

DSC01320 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01320 © DY of jtdytravels

And if you buy a ‘chook’ (chicken) you get the feet as well!

DSC01330 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01330 © DY of jtdytravels

Fresh ginger, capsicum and red chilli to add lots of flavour.

DSC01342 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01342 © DY of jtdytravels

A variety of peppers to pep things up a bit!

DSC01363 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01363 © DY of jtdytravels

Or, maybe, some red chillies to hot things up!

DSC01341 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01341 © DY of jtdytravels

Plenty of pulses to choose from to accompany our dish.

DSC01360 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01360 © DY of jtdytravels

Some rice wine might be handy to have. Lots to choose from.

DSC01355 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01355 © DY of jtdytravels

And, of course, we had to choose some greens for our hypothetical meal… like these bok choys.

All good fresh, in season, food. At home we have become too used to having any food we want at any time of the year. Not here. Thankfully, we do have more chances now to buy good, fresh local produce at farmer’s markets in Australia with a small footprint on the environment… and no need to buy processed foods with who knows what additives and an over supply of salt, sugar and fats.

DSC01319 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01319 © DY of jtdytravels

Now, to end our meal, we might need a little something sweet… some fruit, maybe. Any plumper and these grapes would start to jump out of their skins.

DSC01338 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01338 © DY of jtdytravels

And how good do these peaches look… each one individually wrapped.

DSC01340 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01340 © DY of jtdytravels

Nashi pears looked nice and crisp… straight from the trees to market.

DSC01333 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01333 © DY of jtdytravels

Or we could go really tropical and try a dragon fruit!

More anon… but before I finish up this post… a reminder…

the You Tube link to the video on Muslim noodle making is …

< https://youtube.com/watch?v=4Gb4DvQB2pw>

.

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: #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

www.dymusings.com

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

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DSC01217 © DY of jtdytravels

A window barred with wooden poles

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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

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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: #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

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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

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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.

.

.

 

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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

www.dymusings.com

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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.

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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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More of our travel photos are on

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China: Yunnan: #4 First Walk in Jianshui

Having arrived in the walled city of Jianshui, we had to walk along Lin An Road to get to our accommodation.  It turned out to be a very interesting walk indeed.

DSC00830 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00830 © DY of jtdytravels

At least, some of the signs were in English as well as Chinese.

DSC00831 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00831 © DY of jtdytravels

Shade trees helped make the walk pleasant.

DSC00834 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00834 © DY of jtdytravels

It was a delight to be walking up such a beautiful cobble stone street. Although there were many old buildings, new ones were being built in the old style.

DSC00836 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00836 © DY of jtdytravels

Intricate carvings decorated some of the wooden doors.

DSC00834 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00834 © DY of jtdytravels

Even the manhole covers were decorative and told traditional stories.

DSC00844 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00844 © DY of jtdytravels

  They were all cast in concrete and each one was different; this one depicted a deer. 

DSC00840 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00840 © DY of jtdytravels

The tree surrounds had been carefully laid…

but I did wonder about the health of the tree roots.

DSC00842 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00842 © DY of jtdytravels

It can sometimes be difficult to find a good angle for a photo!

DSC00845 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00845 © DY of jtdytravels

An impressive entrance to a restaurant; it looked very inviting.

DSC00847 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00847 © DY of jtdytravels

The city retains a wonderful ‘old Chinese’ feel

DSC00848 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00848 © DY of jtdytravels

Traditional roof styles and tiles

DSC00849 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00849 © DY of jtdytravels

A colourful street scene of small shops.

DSC00850 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00850 © DY of jtdytravels

More colour in the merchandise hanging by the doorway of a shop.

DSC00852 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00852 © DY of jtdytravels

With very few cars, bikes were the transport of choice… or feet!

DSC00856 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00856 © DY of jtdytravels

Intricately carved wooden doors closed off this shop from the street.

DSC00857 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00857 © DY of jtdytravels

Detail of some of the carving on that door.

…and all of that was seen just walking down the street to get to our hotel…

DSC00853 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00853 © DY of jtdytravels

Reception at the Fairyland Hotel… great name!

The Fairyland is a modern and clean hotel, the only thing that left a little to be desired was the toilet and shower arrangement.  Although clean, they were side by side with a clear sheet of glass between and a partially opaque sliding door that either closed off the loo or the shower, but not both together.  So, when sharing a room, unless you wanted to be on ‘display’, only one convenience could be used at a time.  Apart from this minor matter, I would thoroughly recommend the establishment.

Time to drop off our ‘stuff’ and go for another walk in this lovely old town.

More of that 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: #3 Kunming to Jianshui

It was a grey and overcast morning.  Kenzo and I had to leave the apartment at 08.00 to catch the train to Jianshui which left at 09.32.

DSC00813 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00813 © DY of jtdytravels

We arrived at the rather futuristic Kunming Railway Station in plenty of time…. and just as well. It wasn’t a case of walk in and hop on the train. Not at all!

There was security everywhere with armoured personnel carriers parked at strategic locations and armed police patrolling the street in front of the station as well as the station forecourt.  Airport type security for screening bags had to be negotiated before the station buildings proper were reached. Once through all that, it was straight on to the train (K9832) which consisted of 16 carriages, some sleeping cars, (as I think the train went through to Hanoi in Vietnam).  Our carriage had 118 rather uncomfortable cloth covered seats arranged 2×3 across the carriage.  Each seat had an embroidered antimacassar. And the train left on time.

Map Kunming to Jianshui

Map Kunming to Jianshui

So where were we headed on this train? You can see Jianshui on the map…. it’s 220 km (137 mi.) south of Kunming. It wasn’t the most comfortable of train rides but, of course, there was plenty to see out of the windows.

DSC00820 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00820 © DY of jtdytravels

Shortly after leaving Kunming, we travelled through an area of plastic tunnel houses – perhaps the same ones I flew over on my approach to Kunming?

DSC00822 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00822 © DY of jtdytravels

Every space is used to grow something. All very neat and orderly.

DSC00823 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00823 © DY of jtdytravels

As I was pondering on this view, a warning was given by the crew over the PA. What did it mean? Thankfully I had Kenzo to translate for me. We were being told to be careful of our money when using the toilet because the suction created by the open system had a tendency to suck  money out of people’s pockets!  Not too good for the passengers. But good for some. It seems that local farmers patrol the line picking up this new found wealth!

Another warning… another translation required. This time we were being warned, even discouraged, from brushing our teeth with the water in the toilets!  Maybe it really meant that the water was not potable… something got lost in the translation.

DSC00826 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00826 © DY of jtdytravels

The train arrived a little late … another announcement over the PA. But this time I had an English translation on the sign to tell me where I was. Even though we were late, the local buses were still waiting for the train to arrive so we caught one of them into the centre of the town.

Jianshui is known as one of the famous national historic and cultural towns in China. It’s described as an ancient town with history dating back 1,200 years.  Today, the town retains much of the traditional style of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with over 15 ancient buildings still standing. I was looking forward to our exploration.

DSC00827 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00827 © DY of jtdytravels

Jianshui is a walled city and the bus dropped us off just outside the eastern gate.

DSC01064 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01064 © DY of jtdytravels

This eastern gate, the one facing the sun rise, is called Chaoyang Tower. It’s been compared with the Tiananmen Tower in Beijing.  However, this tower predates the Beijing tower by 28 years!  It’s quite large: 24.5 m (80 ft) high, 12.3 m (40.5 ft.) long and 26.8 m (88 ft.) wide.  

DSC01291 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01291 © DY of jtdytravels

Early in the morning and again at sunset the locals bring their pet song birds to this square in front of the East Gate. Time for a sit and a chat while ‘walking’ the birds.

DSC01292 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01292 © DY of jtdytravels

Some birds are for sale as well.

DSC01288 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01288 © DY of jtdytravels

Once inside, we walked around to the northern side of the Chaoyang Tower. The saddle shaped roof has three levels and is supported by large wooden poles.

DSC01289 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01289 © DY of jtdytravels

The bell that hangs on the NE corner is still rung at sunset each day.

DSC01290 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01290 © DY of jtdytravels

I love finding old door handles. They make me wonder about all of the people who have turned those handles, who have walked through that door. What’s behind that door? And what stories could those door handles tell… if door handles could tell stories! This one almost looks like it could speak… just silenced by the ring. I had a feeling that exploring this town was going to be an exceptional experience.

but more of that 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

www.jtdytravels.com

More of our travel photos are on

www.flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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