There was a short holiday from Monday-Wednesday just passed, so to fulfil the travel bug within some of us expats a party of four ventured out of ‘the Shiz’ to a magical ancient realm known as Pingyao.
Ollie, Lucy, Alheli and I were that party. On Monday we set off on the G Train to a city called Taiyuan, which would then allow us to connect and continue to Pingyao. Over the course of the whole trip I think we spent ~30 minutes in Taiyuan, and I can say for sure it is one of those places I would never wish upon my worst enemy. Icky, ick, ick.
From there we were hoping we’d get lucky and jump on a bus to Pingyao and arrive relatively safe and sound. Unfortunately the bus was a nightmare to find. We settled on bargaining with a taxi driver who took us there relatively safe and sound (I think there were only two cars driving on the wrong side of the road, and one guy dragging a cardboard box in the middle of the road. Overall for China it was quite tame).
We came into Pingyao that evening, and walked down the road towards the walled ancient area we would be exploring. It was a nice transitory action, being able to walk from a modern perspective of China, to crossing into a time-warped land of old but unforgotten China.
That night we walked up the main street and found what we thought to be a nice quiet bar to relax in. Chinese music is very predictable though and consists of the same ‘doof doof’ beat, which became far too persistent to allow for relaxing, so the relaxing was resumed when we finally hit the hay and called it a night.
Day two was our only day for a proper exploration. Waking up relatively early we exited our hostel (a nice, cheap place) in search of some better food than what we could find near us. A hostel named ‘Harmony’ was what we found, and if I ever go back to Pingyao I will be staying there. Finding another hostel owner with the English calibre of that lovely lady owner will be nigh impossible. We then set off to the Western part of the city, which held some attractions but none of the main ones. Upon arriving at one of the temples we were informed we must purchase a ticket near one of the biggest attractions.
The mentality of China when it comes to waiting in lines to purchase tickets and other various things is a resounding collective ‘NOPE’. The chaos surrounding the ticket office was comparable to a heavy metal rock concert, complete with some young girl sucker-punching a blow up cow wearing individual. Finally, after many elbows in personal spaces, we collected our tickets and promptly booked it from that area to further continue the travels (the tickets were valid for two days so we explored a great deal of ancient Pingyao).
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Pingyao. A walking holiday in relatively fresh air, surrounded by old Chinese culture is just what the brain needed. Pingyao used to be a financial hub as well so I enjoyed knowing I was in an area that helped developed the economical infrastructure of a country soon to be the most powerful in the world.
Some pictures will be included to describe what my words cannot.