Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tour of the country

My two days tagging along as a delegation from Fudan visited sights in Xiangxi Province at the invitation of a local worthy were enjoyable in all sorts of expected and unexpected ways. (The four day trip was abbreviated because of people's schedules.) Some snaps...
We came by overnight train (11 hrs) in an old Soviet-style sleeping car.
Jiangxi is poor but full of beautiful, nearly wild landscapes.
My suite in a hotel closed for the season but open for our host's friends.
Our first trip was to another of our host's projects, a free range chicken farm in a mountain vale. The languid Chinese lute music provided by occasional transistor radios was drowned out by the fowls' gossip about us - or maybe they sensed that three of them would star in our lunch.
Cultural pride on display in an artisanal highway toll plaza.
 
The picturesque terraces at Yuyuan are yellow and purple in Spring.

Across the valley, the town of Huangling, which you already know, in mid-transition to becoming a heritage destination. The villagers don't live here anymore, but the basking trays are carefully maintained.
The land here is poor for agriculture but rich in wood.
Inside one of the most impressive houses.
 
Shrine to an ancient tree; some in the area are 1000+ years old.

Pretty river scene
Shop floor of our host's shoe factory
Rugged mountains
Characteristically opulent meal (giant fish dish yet to arrive)
Gate of Ehu, a school which started its life in the 8th century as a Chan temple. Eight centuries ago it played host to a famous debate involving Zhuxi, one of the founders of Neo-Confucianism.
More of Ehu
Trip home was by bullet train (under 3 hrs). Shangrao's station's is less than a month old (Guangzhou-Shanghai line), so hard of vehicular access and not yet served by my cell phone operator.

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