Saturday, 20 December 2008

Another Amazing Adventure

When I tell the folks back home that every day is an adventure here - I know it is true, but we talk about how impossible it is to explain it all to everyone. It sounds like we are all crackers - but it is what happens. The language and the culture barrier hits at every turn!

Three of us had planned to go to
Anchung - an ancient village near Keqiao, which is about 45 minutes from Shaoxing. There are several buses that go from the bus station near the college, so we walked to this bus station and were told that we could get on one of the two buses that were ready to go.

It wasn't long before we realised that we were on the wrong bus. It did head in the right direction, but eventually headed through small villages, through fields where the rice had just been harvested, and through places that didn't look like they were on the way to our
destination. In the end we chose to get out of the bus and walk around while we worked out our next "step".

It was
probably not a very old village - but it was dusty and dirty. Above the village were great rock formations, but it was not easy to get photos of it. We walked around the village, looking for a bus stop for bus number 118. We knew that we needed to be on this bus to get to Anchung. We waited at a bus stop, but in the mean time all the men at the bus stop - very friendly and chatty - convinced us to ride on a tut-tut to get to Anchung, so after negotiating a price, we set off. These little carts are most uncomfortable - we felt every bump on the long and bumpy road, and we watched in awe as we almost sideswiped more than one vehicle on our journey, but in the end we were safely deposited at the entrance to Anchung. We chose to look for some food first and ended up in a restaurant where no one spoke English, but with a lot of pointing managed to get a fabulous meal - pork and mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, rice and eggplant. It was very tasty!

From there we walked into the old village - which at first seemed to be deserted, but we soon found ourselves in the midst of a whole range of stalls and shops parallel to the river. It certainly was old territory there.

Everywhere there were chickens and ducks or parts thereof, and ausages and fish hanging to dry for the winter. Quite an odd sight as often the dried meats are haning with the washing!

I bought a couple of things that I had wanted to buy, and as we wandered in amongst the dried fish, dried chicken and ducks and sausages hanging on lines, a Chinese girl called out to me. "Hello teacher" - I was most surprised. She had been a student in a class I taught some months earlier in
Keqiao. Hard to believe!!!! Shirley was great - she had her own business apparently - a Shaoxing Wine shop - so we spent quite a bit of time there with here - and we purchaed some of the wine to take home in beautiful ceramic jars. (How we get it back will be another story!!!)

Then we found a fabulous knit shop - where the guy had a few English words and we had so many laughs with him as he struggled to communicate with us with his converstion peppered with the exclamation "Oh, my God!" We made some fine purchases there!!!

On we went - until we walked out of the ancient village into a busy street. We asked some one about the 118 bus to get back and we were sent to a street, which quite clearly was not going to get us onto the right bus. We had young kids and old folk all trying to talk with us - so manylaughs and so many "tinboudongs."

Eventually three girls who were also waiting for a bus which didn't come helped us get into a tut-tut which took us to a bus stop where bus 118 was supposed to come. WE discovered that was not the case - so in desperation we flagged down a taxi which for 50 RMB took us all the way back to the university campus. I think we laughed all the way.

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