21.11.2007 - 21.11.2007
The more authentic (and less preserved) bridge behind the town.
I walked to the a nearby village today ... enjoyed the scenery and the market scene (being market day) in a village along the way.
It is relatively unspoilt here and the village was unpretentious and authentic, down to a dusty coffin in someone's front porch ... I dared not ask whether there was a special offer, if it was the wrong size or maybe the sick person recovered. Obviously they don't share the same taboo as ethnic Chinese people.
As I was settling into bed (7:30pm), the landlady told me the village is having a traditional dance evening at their Drum Tower. It was an interesting performance which ended in some sort of a Dong line-dancing and best of all ... a big Dutch man being tossed into the air then landed back on the arms of the villagers.
At the performance I met several interesting people .See your name set in stone for a small donation of CNY10 (EUR1)... there was Belgian tour leader, Christophe, who spoke fluent Mandarin (yes, shame on me ... but Europeans rarely get the tones quite right). He explained that the Dutch earn a lot of money, get lots of annual leave and have very tiny living rooms ... hence they're all in China :-)
Christophe being a tall Mandarin-speaking Westerner was most popular with the schoolgirls ... they crowded around him giving him hugs and had their photos taken. Treated a bit like a sex object really. He says that being based in Beijing [Beijing-travel-guide-208144], the local Beijing girls don't care about Westerners anymore ... money talks louder than colour and height.