Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Datong - Shanxi Provence

I had a four day weekend at the end of May because of the Dragon Boat Festival. While I missed all the festivities for that, I did get to see some interesting things in Datong.

I took an early flight on Thursday morning to Datong. It ended being colder than I expected so I was glad I packed a light sweater. It rained the night before, so we had cool temperatures and no rain during our trip.

Our first stop was to meet an 80 year old man who lives in a cave. He was very nice and showed us around his home.

Next we headed over the Hanging Monastery of Hengshan Mountain. It is around 1500 years old.

I was waiting to take my picture by the rock but people kept jumping ahead of me. Eventually, I had to run up so no one else would take my turn. And of course, I had to do a good Chinese pose.

Finally, we visited the Yungang Grottoes.

We went out to a nearby restaurant for dinner where we had lots of tasty food and some baijiu. After dinner, we walked down the street for a foot massage.

Here's a picture of the strange sculpture in the lobby of our hotel.

Friday we got to relax and sleep in (kind of hard to do when it gets light before 5am here right now). At 11am, we headed over to the train station to wait for our train. We had soft sleepers for the 6 hour trip home so we got to hang out in the Soft Sleeper Lounge (which smelled slightly less of urine than the rest of the train station). Soft Sleepers are rooms with two bunk beds, pillows, and duvets. You can shut the door for some privacy and to try to keep out the cigarette smoke from the rest of the train. After the 10 of us walked into the lounge and sat down, two Chinese men walked in. You need a soft sleeper ticket to hang out in the Soft Sleeper Lounge and they obviously did not have those. The lady who checks for your ticket asked them, "What do you guys want?" and they replied, "We just want to see what these laowais are doing." She told them to scram.

The train ride home was uneventful but 6 hours on a train is a long time. At least this time it was during the day so I could check out the scenery on the way back to Beijing.

I am looking forward to seeing my sister and dad on Saturday! Stay tuned for tales of our antics in Beijing!


P.S. So I wrote this sometime last week or so but I just haven't had time to fill in more details of Datong. Now that Dad and Jessica are here I want to get this post out there so I can move on to post our adventures. Go do your own research of Datong.

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