From Vietnam To China

Day 11 - Friday, April 20, 2012 - Visit Old City Market; Tuan Shan, Village from Qing Dynasty; Explore Shuan Glong Bridge; Dragon Boat ride through Swallow Nest Caves

We met at 8:30 to go for breakfast. We sat at the tables of the noodle café right next door to the hotel. Tashi brought us yogurt, apples, bananas, as well as a kind of sweet bun. Dumplings were the highlight of the meal; we had two varieties, one with meat and one vegetarian.

We took our time walking around the Old City Market as there were so many new and interesting things to see. Tashi was so tolerant answering our many questions; “What is this?” “What do they do with this?” and “Can you eat it?” were all asked a hundred times at least!

Every vendor was willing to give us a sample. We tried rice wine with the rice still floating in the juice, a vegetable for indigestion, pigeon eggs, as well as some very interesting “seeds”.

Tashi explained that this area was notorious for illegal drug trade but the government is working very hard to abolish it. The extremely strict penalty for using or selling drugs in China is death, quite a deterrent!

After leaving the market we drove east to the village of Tuan Shan, meaning the land of gold and silver. A local woman guided us through the countless courtyards, the gates to the city, the three temples, and sixteen traditional mansions that are home to over 1000 three-generation families.

We had our lunch at the Zhang Clan Compound. Mr. Zhang, a retired teacher, and his wife manage a simple hostel and restaurant. Today there were 21 art students as guests for ten days.

Walking out of the village, we met a 92 year old woman with “small feet”. She was exceptionally gracious and let us take photographs of her and with her. We left Tuan Shan with a very warm feeling for these kind people.

As we drove out of town we came upon a group of women planting rice, knee deep in standing water. Pang Ga stopped so we could take a few photos. They motioned for us to come and join them but Vic was the only one who ventured out onto the very narrow irrigation embankment to get some closer shots of their hard work.

Our next stop was the Shuan Glong Bridge (Double Dragon) built in the mid 1700’s during the Qing Dynasty. We took photos and marveled at the workmanship of this solid structure still standing on 14 pillars after all this time.

It was 2:00 but Tashi and Pang Ga knew we are not ones to sit around so they added one more adventure to our day. Heading in the opposite direction, (west) we drove to Yan Zi Dong to see the Swallow Nest Cave.

Our young guide was dressed in a costume from the Yi tribe. She did not speak English, but Tashi translated as we walked through the park. We joined about 20 Chinese tourists on a Dragon Boat propelled by a small outboard motor to go into the caves.

The swallows had not yet migrated to the caves to nest so there were no birds at this time. The stalactites and stalagmites were beautifully illuminated with colored lights for a stunning effect inside the cave. Reflections on the Ljiand River brought a magnified depth to the cave walls.

We hurried back to the entrance for a 4:00 demonstration where a young man climbed to the ceiling of the cave, staggering heights above the water. The local people climb to hang prosperity banners high above the water. The higher the banner with the company’s logo is placed, the more business is supposed to be granted.

At 4:30 we left to drive back to Jian Shui arriving at 5:15, a full day with Tashi and Pang Ga going the extra miles for us as usual!

Dinner was a whole new menu with many of the vegetables we had seen in the market today. We even tried smelly tofu, a fermented tofu that is grilled for extra flavor.

After dinner we found our way to one of the busy main arteries where thousands of local people were strolling together enjoying the evening. Vic brought his tripod to take some night shots.

Back at the hotel, we went through over 600 photos to pick out only five that would represent our day.

Accommodations: Fairyland Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D

Please see our Trip Evaluation -- Click Here -- A Complete Review of Myths and Mountains -- From Vietnam to China: Ethnic People of the Border -- China with Tashi Lamasang


I am enjoying youjr trip while enjoying ours in Bhutan and India. Say hello to Duane for me. Have fun... Andy

Andy and Jack Conine   April 21, 2012 - 3:21am

Love reading your journals and would like more info about this one. Travelled with you folks in Egypt. Heading to Yunnan province and Mongolia With Oat in June.

nancy Soper   April 20, 2012 - 9:48pm

Looks like you are having a wonderful time!

Carolyn Barrett   April 20, 2012 - 4:23pm

Loving your journal, movies and pictures - just don't know how you can narrow down your pictures like that!! Looks like a marvelous adsventure! We are getting ready for Turkey - leave here May 8th!

Cheryl Vieira   April 20, 2012 - 4:12pm
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Yi Hill Tribe Music & Dancers - Swallow Nest Cave

Yi Hill Tribe Music & Dancers - Swallow Nest Cave (1:13)

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Pang Ga and Tashi

Pang Ga and Tashi

Zhang Family

Zhang Family

Planting Rice

Planting Rice

Double Dragon Bridge

Double Dragon Bridge

Swallow Nest Cave

Swallow Nest Cave

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Day 13: Azores & Madeira: Portugal's Unspoiled Archipelagos

Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.

The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.

Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...

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