Friday, July 12, 2013

Shanxi Hospitality

Bryan, Wang Xueyan, with his extended family
We come to Shanxi Province, 2 hours by plane, to meet up with Ken's work friend, Bryan, and his extended family.  Whenever you travel to a foreign country, be sure and hook up with as many friends and their families as possible.  Travel becomes a more authentic and fun experience.

Enjoying lunch in a Pingyao courtyard
So many dishes!

The first thing one learns about Taiyuan in Shanxi, is THE NOODLES.  They are very proud of their fantastic food and abundance of noodles:  oatmeal noodle, cat eared pasta, knife cut noodles, hand pulled noodles, 25 meter long noodle in one bowl, and noodles cut with giant scissors 
It's OKAY to slurp noodles.  Really.

We travel two hours south of Taiyuan to Pingyao.  Pingyao is China's best preserved walled city.  40,000 people live in this ancient city.  No cars are allowed, just bicycles and tour buggies.
 Confucius Temple from the top of Pingyao city wall
Pingyao City Tower

Reenactment of ancient court system
 from Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644
Mao Lan, Jeanie, Fannie
at Temple Garden
Pingyao is a World Heritage Site
One can walk the city's wall:
 6 km circumference

New friends made in Pingyao

Qiao Family Couryard
Raise the Red Lantern

Near Taiyuan, we visit another unique site called Qiao Family courtyard, Qing-dynasty merchant's residence. This complex is made famous by the filming of the movie Raise the Red Lantern. 

Zhou Cypress has been growing at
an angle for 900 years!
Finally, we relax at the park in Jinci Temple before travelling back to Shanghai.

One final restaurant before we depart

We are in awe of the hospitality of Bryan and his wife, Wendy's family.  The minute we arrive, we are not allowed to pay for anything, and everything is organized for us:  hotel, transportation, meals, and tourism.  We are additionally overwhelmed when we are presented with numerous gifts upon departure:  hand-painted scroll painting, bottles of Shanxi famous vinegar, tins of green tea, and a beautiful lacquer-ware jewelry box. 
Xie, xie !!

Proverbs 11:25
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

We hope to repay their kindness by being excellent hosts to any of you who can come visit us whether it be Shanghai, China, or Tacoma, Washington.

Zai jian, 
K and J

Next Up:  Granite peaks, twisted pines, and the poetic mist of Huangshan Mt.

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