Rural ChinaSeptember 26, 2018 in China ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C
The chaos and drama of yeaterdays wedding softened to a casual, leisurely start to this morning... at least initially. Around 8.30 I headed downstairs, equipped with phone, wallet and room keycard slip (with breakfast vouchers and keycard inside).
Downstairs, I handed over my breakfast voucher to gain access to the buffet and met my parents, Brody and Alyssa for bread and a fried egg "Western breakfast". Then I got up to leave, picked up my wallet, phone and... no keycard. The whole slip was gone. Baffling, as I hadn't been anywhere to lose it.
We explained the situation to staff and managed to get a second key (the other key remains in the room electric slot to try keep the room "cool"). This was fine, but when I returned to my floor there was a shady random local, loitering in a hall chair with view of my room.. coincidence, or had he found a lost room key to 2307?
With Yuans translating skills we eventually had staff cancel all previous room keys, check those, and issue fresh ones. This was fun and killed a lot of the morning. By noon we had cars to take us 20minutes from the big city of Xinzhou to a small rural community with many of Yuans extended family.
The town of Xin Wang Zhuang may well have once been a thriving farming community... now it feels 75% abandoned and much in disrepair. Still, many live here in little fenced blocks/squares that house a dozen or so. We'd spend a few hours here with locals, first eating wedding food leftovers, then a delicious charcoal bbq, kicking a ball around and playing cards.
Following that, we visited the homes of some other friends, met a young newborn baby, (around Rylands size), visited a well maintained temple complex, and wandered about neglected cornfields, picked and tasted peppers, and poked around many abandoned homes. By late afternoon, as sunset approached, we bid family farewell and headed back to the city.
Our final full family meal on my last night was arguably one of the best Chinese meals I had there. It was a private dining room and we feasted on things like; fish, prawns, chicken wings, donkey meat pastries, beef chunks, and Chinese burrito things. Red wine from a decanter to wash it down hit the spot.
After dinner, dad and I went for an hour or so around the streets. For a city of 3-4 million, I've never seen a place with so little of interest. It was still good to stretch the legs.
I'm half packed for tomorrow's long journey home. We hope to visit some markets in the morning. From there, its a China Eastern flight from Taiyian to Beijing. Then 6 hours... then Beijing to Sydney with Qantas, and again on to Melbourne arriving 4.50 on Friday.Read more