Zhenyuan: Guizhou’s Eastern Gem – Part 2

This weekend was a little exhausting, but still managed to be a lot of fun!  I think I’m FINALLY getting over my 4 week cold (the joys of teaching my little germ infested monkeys!), and I finally got to participate in the school’s cooking activity Sunday night!  I made deviled eggs, Guiyang style.  I substituted paprika for La Jiao and boy were they a hit!  I had a couple of hecklers in the front row (kids can be so cruel!!) telling me they smelled bad and were going to be gross, but BOTH of them tried coming back for thirds, so I was pretty pleased with myself!!

The event involved all of the teachers cooking western dishes for the students; A brilliant marketing activity on the part of my boss! Not only did the kids learn some new words, but they got to taste western food they’d never heard of before. A full western experience!
My sous-chef, Maggie, and I. She is a teacher at the JinYang branch, and she is lovely 🙂 Behind me, you can see a fellow Canadian Lao Wai…I keep telling him his face is going to get stuck that way….

As much as we would have loved to spend another weekend in another corner of Guizhou province, Dave and I opted to spend this Monday and Tuesday recovering our health and tackling the daunting task that is ‘cleaning our kitchen’.  We still haven’t gotten around to cleaning it since we moved in a month and a half ago.  It took nearly a week to get the rest of the place sanitized, and we needed some pretty heavy duty degreasers to get the layers of filth off the walls, so until now, we’ve just kept the door shut and avoided that room.

Of course, cooking on Sunday made me miss having a kitchen SO much that we’ve decided to make that our project tomorrow.  So here I am, doing the next best thing to actually traveling: writing about traveling!

After a gorgeous and relaxing night in Zhenyuan Ancient town, we set off for our River Cruise Tuesday morning.  A van picked us up at the hotel at 8:30am and we traveled to the Wuyang River dam with 2 other couples (both Chinese), which is located about an hour from the Ancient town.  The road there was bumpy and pretty scary at some points, but we got there in one piece, perhaps thanks to our Chinese friends in the van, who continually told the driver to slow down because they didn’t want the Lao Wai to think badly of Chinese roads or drivers!  One of them spoke English, which was great.  I’m very proud of the amount of Mandarin I can speak (Dave told me about a month ago that he was SHOCKED when we got here…all of a sudden I could speak a 3rd language!), but it’s so nice getting a bit of a break now and then as well!

The dam where our cruise started
The dam where our cruise started
A pagoda with Guizhou mountains in the background :)
The pagoda where our boat docked

We were the only La Wai on the cruise, which was both nice and a bit of a nuisance.  It was nice being the only westerners because so many of the people we’ve met on cruises in China have been very closed minded and extremely judgmental of the Chinese.  But on the other hand, because we were the only light skinned occupants on the boat, we became a tourist attraction ourselves.  Although the views from the boat were terrific, people seemed to be more interested in snapping photos with US…instead of with the scenery.  We obliged for a few people (the ones who had been in the van with us), but then hid away from the crowds, where it was warmer and where we could enjoy the views, just the two of us 🙂

The most famous rock formation near Zhenyuan.
The most famous rock formation near Zhenyuan.
Beautiful Guizhou mountains, and our boat's flag :)
Beautiful Guizhou mountains, and our boat’s flag 🙂

Roughly 3 and a half hours after the van picked us up, we were dropped off at our hotel, where we had to check out.  The hotel’s owner was kind enough to hold our luggage for us while we walked through the ancient town once more.  This time, we viewed the south side of the Wuyang River during the day time, which turned out to be just as beautiful of an experience as it was at night!

The gorgeous pagoda we’d visited the day before
Steps lead into the water all over the ancient town
My favorite shot of the whole trip. I nearly dropped my camera in the river while taking it…but it was worth the scare!
This was the first time we’d felt sunshine in about a month. We were so excited that I quickly snapped a picture! The sun is a wonderful thing!!!
We had supper on the other side of this bridge the night before. Like I said…just as beautiful as during the day 🙂

Eventually, we found the old city wall, that was built around 2000 years ago, and has since been restored.  As the sun shone down on us, we walked along the clean path and enjoyed the gardens and the sounds of the river.


We took the north side of the river back to the hotel and enjoyed such a contrast in environment!  After our serene walk along the old wall, we were met with the hustle and bustle of a Chinese city.

The archway leading back into old town
A construction site. Notice the lack of any safety gear…
Chickens…they’re everywhere. Today, in Guiyang, we saw a woman carrying a live on in a bag over her shoulder…oh China!
There were children playing under this mess of wires. I can’t help but cringe, and wonder what the stats are on random electrocutions due to an insane lack of safety regulations in the country!


Squatter toilets for sale!! Get your squatters here! On discount, today only! Get your squatter toilets here, ladies and gentlemen, you won’t regret it!!

Still, as we wound our way down alleys and smaller streets during our final hour in Zhenyuan, we enjoyed unique sights and absorbed all the ‘new’ we could.  There’s nothing quite like traveling, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be in a situation where I can just pack up for the weekend and experience something like Zhenyuan Ancient Village.  I’m living the dream 🙂

Another one of my favorite shots from Tuesday. This was the view between two random buildings on the way back to the hotel. Just beautiful.
An alleyway we explored, in search of a hostel we'd seen a sign for.  We have every intention of returning to Zhenyuan (there's so much we didn't have time to do!), and although we'd love to stay at the same place again, a traveler knows that back up plans are a must!
An alleyway we explored, in search of a hostel we’d seen a sign for. We have every intention of returning to Zhenyuan (there’s so much we didn’t have time to do!), and although we’d love to stay at the same place again, a traveler knows that back up plans are a must!
I can't be certain...but I'm pretty sure Bowser is waiting to fight me on the other side of this door....unfortunately for him...he has NO IDEA how many hours I spent learning how to defeat him in my youth!!!
I can’t be certain…but I’m pretty sure Bowser is waiting to fight me on the other side of this door….unfortunately for him…he has NO IDEA how many hours I spent learning how to defeat him in my youth!!!

Thanks again for tuning in, and check back soon!  I still have so many posts to write!

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