Day 18 - Monday June 16, 2008

Welcome to Kaifeng (again)! Here's a little info from the web about this city:

Located in northeastern Henan Province, the city of Kaifeng has an illustrious and in some ways unique 3000-year history. Many of the city's treasures are enclosed by the Old City Walls. The city was a major center of the development of Chinese civilization and culture. It served for a time as capital of the Wei Dynasty, the Liang, the Han, the Zhou and as a capital during the Five Dynasties period of disunion (907-960 AD, after the collapse of the Tang Dynasty), the Northern Song, and the Jin Dynasty. In all, Kaifeng was the capital of China for parts of seven different dynastic periods. During the 11th Century it was the largest single city in the world.

One of the city's treasures having a nap...

After much deliberation the day before, we decided to take a taxi to Kaifeng. We were prepared for it to be 400 rmb but turns out it was only 150 - just over 20 dollars for almost an hour and a half - much simpler than finding the bus station and finding out which bus to take and getting our bags on and off and then finding the hotel we were going to stay at and then taking a taxi with all our bags there. Yes, much simpler.

One sees the old character of buildings everywhere within the walled city. The hotel we were booked in was also within the wall - great starting place.

We booked the same hotel we were in last weekend with Chunhong but this time we were on the 8th floor. Our main interest was in walking around the city and seeing the life of the people and taking pictures. We walked a lot and saw lots of old and weird and wonderful things.

It would be fun to know what these signs say:

I know a Dr Li ... not this one though.

This pink building was probably influenced and/or built by the Russians around the 1980's ...

And if this grey building didn't have that curled roof, it would look like any building in Canada.

In the evening I went out by myself to the night market ...

Meat on a stick was common ...

As was this: home made - right in front of your eyes - spaghetti for the soup.

Bones for the soup.

I was looking in a jewelry store later in the evening when some girls smiled at me and said “hello”, I said hello back. On my way out of the store, they asked if they could take a picture with me. Of course I said yes and we did and then we began chatting. And I took a picture of them.

They were very friendly: Dawn, Anna, Lucy and Julia; all university students graduating the next day with a degree in Education. Lucy was the gregarious one and took the lead (she’s the shortest one). After some back and forth about our respective countries, she asked if there was anything they could do for me. I asked them to come with me and help me buy something I had seen in a booth at the night market. They did. Then we walked for a bit and I gave them my home and email address and they wrote down their names, and I hope they email me - then we’ll have some fun exchanges. It’s easy to make friends in China!

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