China
Xinzhou

Here you’ll find travel reports about Xinzhou. Discover travel destinations in China of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

2 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    From Tourist to Guest

    September 23, 2018 in China ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    The train rolled into Taiyuan right on time, around 2.25pm. Here I headed for the West exit and found Jared, Yuan and her second cousin waiting for me to transport me an hour north by car to her home town of Xinzhou, where her parents lived, my family was staying, and the wedding would be held in a couple days time.

    An opportunity here to talk about traffic in China. It'll appear fairly erratic and wild by Western standards. Speed limits are guides, indicators are optional, horns are plentiful and cars go anywhere at any given time! Mobile phone use when driving is standard, and milimetre collision evasion is expected. You've got to constantly on your toes. Its chaos, but works. When crossing the street, a "pedestrian crossing" is a suggestion.. you've got to walk briskly, confidently and cautiously. If you can predict who is going where and weave between a car and bike, you can assume (and hope) they won't hit you.

    Busy traffic delayed our arrival in Xinzhou a little but we arrived without incident at the hotel I'd spend the next four nights; Funhua Jinglun Hotel. It's basically the grandest, most Western Hotel in the city, organised by Yuans (bride to be) parents. Its nice, and Im on the 23rd floor. I was pre warned about the lack of aircon and its the clear standout issue.

    By 6pm, we headed by 2 taxis (myself, my youngest brother Brody and his fiance Alyssa, my parents, Jared and Yuan) to Yuans parents apartment about 10 minutes away to meet her family and enjoy dinner and drinks. Yuans family home was lovely and her parents were gracious guests leaving us all well fed with plenty of home cooking (noodles, duck, soup, pork etc). The family dog (Jui jui) s a sheep like spawn of Satan but loveable none the less. There were many shouts of Gambei (cheers) as we tried Chinese white wine, some beer and whiskey.
    We saw plenty of excellent pre wedding glamour photos of the bride and groom to be, not before the family albums and baby photos came out. By 11pm we had taxied back to tbe hotel to rest up.

    I'm exhaustes from my Beijing adventures and content to relax, feast and experience true local over the coming days. If Beijing had the fewest Western tourists I've seen for a big city, Xinzhou has none... Tomorrow, afternoon wedding rehearsals! For now, sleep.
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  • Day6

    The Day Before

    September 24, 2018 in China ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    No alarm was set this morning, which started at a leisurely pace. I met my parents, Brody and Alyssa downstairs in the lobby for a "Western Style" buffet breakfast. Well... Western it wasn't. There were some fried eggs and "bacon".. with a bit of bread, steamed pumpkin, wonton soup and that steamed corn thats so popular here. Washed down with a grape juice/ flat coke flovoured syrup it still filled a hole.

    We spent a few hours wandering XinZhou, through some shopping malls and streets. We are literally an exotic species here. I've never experienced anything like it anywhere in the world. We stopped for a "Chinese burger" and in turn stopped dozens of passers by in their tracks.. as they would literally stop, stare and grin at us from behind the cafe glass windows, like one would at a zoo... one guy pulled out a cigarette and basically got within 20cm of my dads face. It's not particularly pleasant.

    Westerners don't exist here, and have no real reason to ever come to this place. After an afternoon break, we piled into cabs to head tp the wedding venue to rehearse and plan. There was initially some major conflict between the "popular/celebrity" celebrant and the bride and groom to be.. largely stemming from a miscommunication about the bride's white and traditional Chinese red dresses, and procedural incompatibilities between procedure, tradition and process of Chinese and Western culture.

    Eventually, after 4.5 hours, enough compromise, practice and agreement had been made to satisfy a wedding plan. With the time drawing late, we settled on KFC for an unglamorous but delicious final family meal before Jareds big day. Tomorrow we look forward to what should be an interesting and memorable experience.
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  • Day7

    Wedding Day

    September 25, 2018 in China ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    The big day finally arrived. It was a grand occasion; busy, hectic and lively from start to finish. We started off in the hotel around 8am, in the elaborately decorated room of the bride and groom for an extensive photo shoot.

    By around 9.30, we filed into wedding cars to be transported to Yuans parents apartment complex. On arrival, we were greeted by a spectacular dancing dragon show. After arrival in the apartment, the Mallegrom family was invited to a brunch feed with Yuans family.. and many more photos were taken.

    Then, back into cars and off to the wedding venue. There, we were greeted again not only by dragons but a vehicle with what looked like rocket launchers on its room that would deafen us all with a relentless barrage of fireworks.

    The wedding was set up for around 300 people.. and once the red envelopes had been handed over, we were ushered into the venue proper. It appeared some Chinese relatives had tried to steal our table, but once that was rectified, we were seated to await the commencement of proceedings.

    Food flowed before cutlery, just piled plate on top of plate. Nothing was ever cleared, as beer cans, peanut shells and litter soon cluttered and piled up on table and floor alike. The wedding ceremony was preceded by a few acts of singing, violin, harp, drums and flute before we got underway just after noon.

    The compromised and somewhat disjointed ceremony was largely effective and flowed without too much incident. My dad made the effort of memorizing his speech in Chinese to surprise the bride and groom. Sadly, perhaps 50 or less of the 300 attendees cared or even paid any attention, many talking loudly, drinking or feasting. Most didnt clap or stand when prompted via translation.

    The final touches of the wedding were a lovely coming together of the happy couple. Surprisingly, minutes upon conclusion of the official ceremony, 80% of the crowd trampled each other for the door, leaving a trashed garbage dump behind. By 2.30pm the venue was mostly empty. A few friends and family remained to toast the happy couple and enjoy some drinks; beer, red wine or "white wine" (45% spirit). I wasn't a fan of any.

    In time, drinking escalated and my parents and I opted to head back to the hotel. A couple of us went for an evening walk for a late dinner. Overall, the wedding was certainly memorable and different. It was a pleasure to be there for my brother and nice to see the bride and groom enjoy themselves so.

    Tomorrow is my last full day here. I think we have a bbq afternoons meal planned in a more rural setting.
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  • Day8

    Rural China

    September 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.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Xinzhou, Горад Сіньджоў, Hṳ̆ng-ciŭ, Sin-čou, شینجو, WUT, 신저우 시, Hian-chiu-chhī, Синьчжоу, شنژوو, Hãn Châu, 忻州

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