Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

Lanzi Village

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You'd think that if you'd seen one village you'd seen them all but that doesn't hold true in China. Each is unique since the landowner chose to set up his village in whatever way he wanted.

We hired another tour guide and driver that took us to Lanzi Village. This village is walled and has a seven story tower. It's about 300 years old. We sauntered in and Lynn found a friendly old lady. She was about 80 years old. She rattled on about the town, the landlord, and the tower. "I can take you on a tour for 10 yuan," she told Lynn in Chinese. Lynn thought she was telling her how old the city was; at least that's what Lynn asked her. But no, the woman was telling her she couldn't go any further without paying 10 yuan and she held up her ten fingers. Lynn told her to hold it right there and snapped a picture of her. As the woman persisted in holding up her fingers, Lynn realized that the woman wanted money. So much for friendliness.

This seems to be the pattern here especially when they see a weiguoren, they want money. Lynn gave her a few yuan and she "toured" her through which basically means gesturing toward a doorway already open. At one point the old lady told our tour guide that for another 5 yuan she's show us a seven story tower. We told her no, we don't need to see the tower.

Our group rounded a turn and found some stairs so everyone went up the stairs. I was lagging behind and heard the tour guide yelling: "Come on up here, we found the tower." So I followed the voice. However, standing between me the the stairs was the old woman. She blocked my way and told me in Chinese I needed to pay her 5 yuan to go further. She was bent over from age so it was difficult to push past her. I told her: "Wo buzhidao." (I don't understand.) Which was true. I didn't understand everything she said, just the 5 yuan part. I kind of smiled and brushed past her and joined the others at the top of the tower. We had a grand view.

We snapped a few pictures and watched some people below. But we
were unprepared for what lay below. When we got downstairs the old woman had closed the large wooden doors, locked them, and wouldn't let us pass without paying. What a crazy lady. Lynn paid the 5 yuan (less then 50 cents) after hearing that she didn't have a husband or son to take care of her. Maybe they died of starvation after being locked up in a tower.

There's really nothing in any of these buildings. They're just old dusty, cobweb filled, brick and wooden structures with lots of history. They don't even look inhabitable. But it is interesting to see the craftmanship.

The tour guide asked if we wanted to have lunch. There was a wooden door laying across some saw horses with raw chopped meat and a fist full of greens but I didn't see a restaurant anywhere. "It's right here." he said and pointed in the general direction of the flies. So a village restaurant is nothing more than an outdoor fire? He says that the food in the village is very good. I'll have to take his word for it. Let's get back to town.

After lunch we shopped for Chinese chops. These are stone stamps hand carved with your Chinese name on them. We bought a few chops and some scarfs. (My chop reads: Tian DaWei. Tian means field and sounds as close as possible to Terry. DaWei is as close as possible to David.)

Just a few days ago KFC opened a restaurant in Yangshuo so we had to patronize it. We HAD to say we ate at KFC in China. I had trouble ordering. Even though I said Pepsi I got orange drink. Fortunately they had a picture menu so I pointed. Otherwise I would have starved.

We crashed, tired from all the walking and bouncing around in the mini-van. Tonight's our last night in Yongshuo. Tomorrow we go to the area of Longsheng (Yangji and Pingan village), the place with all the terraces. We plan to spend a couple of days there before going to Qingdao.


A man's conversation is the mirror of his thoughts. -Chinese proverb
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