San He Ancient Town, 三河古镇

3 06 2011

San He Ancient Town, 三河古镇Saturday 05/21 (important date for Chinese! 🙂 ) my company organized a trip for all the employees to San He Ancient Town, 三河古镇, in Feixi, 肥西, a small town south west of Hefei. It is a short drive there, normally less than 1 hour, except for the terrible road conditions! That makes the traffic much slower!

Not too bad given that the tour organizer provided a very active and quite pretty young girl as a guide, that set up a sort of KTV on the bus, first singing and then having my colleagues doing the same. I love KTV and I really enjoyed listening with surprise to a couple of colleagues that showed an amazing voice, given that there was no music, no lyrics and we were all on a bus bouncing up and down on a common messy Chinese road!!

San He Ancient Town, 三河古镇So after more or less one hour on that cloudy and a little warm Saturday, we arrived to Feixi and then easily found the entrance of San He. The name of the ancient village means “three rivers”, since its location. And in fact there are a few nice bridges along the roads of the village, like the one on the side or San Xian bridge, 三县桥. The village first product originally was the rice, of different types, sold around in the area or exported by merchants for longer distances or transformed in the local rice wine, 米酒, mǐjiǔ, a sweeter milder version of the much more alcoholic Chinese “white wine”, 白酒, báijiǔ. Mǐjiǔ is also quite different from Japanese rice wine, sake, 酒.

The walk around the tiny streets of the village and the little bit larger ones around it (that seem extremely new respect to the village area) is quite nice, especially for Chinese tourist (the main visitor population!). Many of the houses are small museum, since they hosted important or famous Chinese people of the last century. Many different kind of people, ranging from politician, to army geenral to some famous doctor that used to live in States (not sure if he also won a Nobel price, but certainly he was famous for marrying a 24 y/o girl when he was above 70 y/o!!).

The architecture was quite nice, and for me it was also funny to spend a different day with the colleagues. I guess for many of them it was the first time they dared to speak to me! 🙂

San He Ancient Town, 三河古镇

One of the pretty guides

Back to Beijing

3 06 2011

Weekend trip to Beijing, first time back since 2008 Olympics.. many feelings.. some thoughts.. actually, at a thinking level, the bad memories have faded, and this time it is a full Aikido trip, along my best past traditions!! 🙂

In 2008 I practiced also Aikido there once, in a dojo with a French guest instructor. Apparently I even met later on the Chinese main teacher of that dojo in Japan during the IAF Aikido big meeting in Tanabe, a few months after the Beijing trip. But I knew that the guy had hit on my past girlfriend of that time in China. And he did all clearly knowing that we were together.. kind of amazing! But no surprising (probably she also gave him a chance..). Still, I really did not remember him, and it was probably better!! 🙂

I am quite sure the people organizing this seminar are different people, but I do not really care!! New life for me and too much in need for a good Aikido session!!

Anyway I will not have time to visit again the beautiful places I saw only once, like the amazing summer palace, except maybe a walk around Tienammen square are (my hotel is not too far). But this is common, given the short time available and the Aikido practice as primary reason! And probably I will be dead tired Saturday night as well!!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – I would have liked to post some of the amazing nice pictures I took last time in Bejing, but some internet problems lately are really annoying me.. I got a good possible solution of the problem (among useless comments of people that think they are the only ones reading the FAQ and trying..) but I still have to try.. So I post here one of the few 2-3 that I can see as well.. funny that most of the people I know vising Beijing after the Olympics show several pics of the famous Bird’s Nest, 鸟巢, and Water Cube, 水立方.. that I have never seen up close, because it was not possible during the Olympics, unless one had the ticket for the day!! The police service was huge, with road blocked kilometers away!

Visiting Beijing

Special lunch “treat”

3 06 2011

Monday it will be Dragon boat festival, 端午节 (Duānwǔ Jié) so today for lunch we got a  粽子, zòngzi, the little package in the left corner of the picture, a sticky rice ball filled with meat (this one, but there are variations!) and wrapped in bamboo leaves..

Zong zi for lunch

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – The first time I had a one of these special rice thing was actually in Norway (Stavanger): bought a frozen package of this stuff, prepared as my Chinese girlfriend of the time told me (steamed, the best way).. But then, she did not tell how to eat, and I thought the leave got soft and was part of the food.. so I tried to bite all (the wrapping thread was much smaller and more difficult to see that time!).. for the huge laugh of my friend!! Now I know and actually like.. and, yeah, do not try to eat the leave!!