Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kaifeng

I found the place that I stayed at in Kaifeng on a travel form on the internet. The message said to find the place by getting a cabby to call and get directions. It worked out ok but no one spoke any English which was ok but a little funny since they kept trying to talk to me. After checking in I tried to get them to show me on the map where in the city I was but they could not understand me so I just started walking and found my way with no problems. I made a lot of mental notes so that I could find my way back and make it back without any problems at about 10 or 11PM. I found it funny that they appeared to really worried that I was lost and where happy to see me again.

On returning to the hotel they gave me peanuts and duck but since I had been eating at the night market I did not really want either. I could not get accross that I did not want anything so ate a little bit to be nice. I did not like the duck at all. It was cold and cut up with the bones still in it. They also gave me some beer and the owner of the hotel sat and drank some with me. He would say cheers and drink all that was in the glass so I did this also and he kept saying cheers. I think I scared him off after we had gone thourgh 2 bottles of beer really quick. I thinking he may have realized at 1/3 my size he could not keep this up for long. He was real nice and gave me a 3rd bottle but no more cheers. I never paid for any beer or food the 2 days I stayed at the hotel. I did not really like the following morning getting woken up at 8 in the morning for breakfast and soup is not really what I call breakfast. The following morning I did not hear the wake up knock for breakfast so missed the 2nd day of soup. When I did go to leave they had a friend come over that spoke English and they would not let me leave without eating something and answering some of their questions. The food they gave me before letting me leave seemed like potatoes but the lady told me it was not potatoes. I still think they tasted like potatoes but they showed me you should peel them and them dip them in sugar. I ate as many as I could even though it seemed like a really strange breakfast. I am also amazed how small most of the Chinese are with the amount of food they seem to eat.

I really enjoyed Kaifeng and there were a couple of things I found different than most other places I have been to so far. All of the sites that I visited in Kaifeng seemed to have loads of flowers. I have been to so many temples and buildings that they are all sort of start looking the same but the flowers really adds something to the sites. The flowers was of the things in Kaifeng that I really enjoyed. The following picture is of the Kaifeng Prefect Complex.



I also visited the Temple of the Chief Minster, the Yangqing Temple, Kaifeng’s City Wall, Longting Park and the Shanshangan Guild Hall. The Shanshangan Guild Hall had some really ornate woodcarvings as a part of all the buildings. You can’t really see the woodwork in the pictures that I took but here is one of the guild hall.



The other thing that was different about Kaifeng was the night market. In some areas of town the streets were taken over with stalls to sell different things. These stalls only started coming out about 6 in the evening and in some areas it was all about food. I was there on a Saturday and Sunday night and have to say that I enjoyed Sunday night a lot more because it was not as crowed and was easier to buy food and get a place to set. They had a lot of places that had food on a stick and would grill it but I had not seen the seafood at the places in the past. They also did not have as many vegetables on sticks like I have seen in other places.



I got hooked on the grilled meat with the stands next to them that were making a type of pita bread. I saw people buying a piece of beard and a number of sticks of meat and having them make a sandwich. I gave this a try and fell in love. With the hot bread and the spicy meat it was fantastic. Before I caught the train to leave Kaifeng I found one of these places with the bread and stick meat guys and had one last sandwich. While setting and enjoying my sandwich I watched the guy making the bread. He would stick the bread to the top of the over and let it cook. I was surprised I never saw any of the bread fall into the fire and also looked like really hot work to me. I took a picture of the oven with the bread in it.

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