From Zhang Jia Jie, we took the train to Ji Shou, then a coach bus to Feng Huang (map). The one and a half hours’ bus ride was like being on a roller coaster. There are lots of potholes on the road and it’s also very dusty – typical countryside condition in China. There is no need to book hotels in advance as there are hundreds of small inns alone the riverside, all in similar conditions, price various from 50 to 100 yuan. The first night we were charged for 100 yuan as we didn’t know how to bargin. We found the tourist area was interesting and decided to spend one more day to explore the place more thoroughly. The price went up to 150 yuan for the second night. The owner of the inn said it was so because the second night was Friday and there would be more tourists coming for the weekend. That could be so. But we believe it was more likely because we are “foreigners” using foreign country passports as identification paper. We said no and went to another inn two doors down the street. They charged only 80 yuan.
While we didn’t have good impression at Zhang Jia Jie, Feng Huang county did gave us some surprises. Not only does it retain some old style houses, ancient city walls that draw most visitors’ eyes, but it also gave us (me, at least) a similar feel as Venice – lots of mini shops with different kinds of souvenirs and snack-size foods waiting for you to check out. The shops are not just on the riverside, but in the narrow streets as well. Some said one day all those ancient buildings would collapse, then there would be nothing left to see. That could be one of the reasons this place is popular now.
In additional to running the shops, another popular business is to lend you the clothes in Miao ethnic minority style. You can then take picture on your own or, for a few extra yuan, they can take picture for you. As you can see from the pictures below, the clothes are very colorful. Plus, it’s not expensive at all. Many tourists will go for it. But I would suggest you take your own pictures. The cameras they carried “looked” somewhat professional. But not really. Being interested to know what they were, I approached closer and noticed those were mostly point-and-shoot cameras although being a bit bulky, only two Nikon D40 DSLR but they are really old models. And the way these people holding cameras made me shake my head.
On the riverside, you would often find people washing mops (for the restaurants) or bed sheets (for the inns). The sheets were then hung outside of the inns to dry. Obviously, the exterior look of the inns is not a concern here. We even saw people taking bath (wearing swimming suits) in the river. Oh my …
There are a few musical instrument shops selling drums and music CDs. The drums are again in Miao ethnic minority style. What we couldn’t understand was, they all played the one and only one song over and over again the whole day, with a young lady playing drum to it. Well the song (“寂寞的夜和谁说话” or “Who Can I Talk To In A Lonely Night” in English) is not a bad one. As a matter of fact, it’s quite catchy. But when the same tune keeps repeating, one could easily get bored after a few replays. Aren’t there other songs they can play the drums to? No wonder that girl already looked emotionless when I took that picture at 9:30 in the morning.
Then there is this “improved” version of “Mouth of Truth”. The real one in Rome is said to be able to know whether you’re telling the truth or lie. But apparently this one in Feng Huang county has more capabilities than that. For only 2 yuan (roughly 30 cents US or Canadian), it can tell the fate of your career, love story, luck and so on… I’m speechless.
Overall, the place is worth of a visit.
Copyright © 2011 Jenson Yu. All rights reserved.