Waiting for Better Weather

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m going to spend the day hanging out in Tunxi. I was originally planning to head up to Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain), but the weather has not cooperated. The whole region is getting rained on. However, the weather report indicates that it will be mostly cloudy tomorrow, with only a slight chance of rain, then rain and thunderstorms for the next 8 days or so. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Yesterday I got hit with my first “food reaction”. The previous night I met my friends Gaby & Alex at their hostel. I’d had an excellent beef and onion dish. At 5:30 am I was running downstairs for the bathroom (because the toilet in our room is broken). After 3 more runs, I was feeling relatively stable, but I was worried about getting on the tour bus to the villages. But I held it together – or perhaps “clenched it together” would be a more accurate statement. By the time we arrived at the first village I was fine. I’m sure that was just the first of many food incidents to come. Actually I’m really surprised that it took this long to get hit – the food in this country is pretty sketchy. I’ll write a post on the food soon.

The villages, Hongcun and Xidi, were both interesting. Both very picturesque, with tiny narrow passages crisscrossing throughout the city. Many of the streets have small stone irrigation canals on the side, and with the pouring rain, these were flowing full. The architecture was pretty cool – many of the buildings have open roofs. So you walk into the front door to enter the first room and notice that it’s still raining in the center of the room, then you walk into the next larger room and it’s also raining. Seemed a bit odd – like huge skylights, minus the glass. Since our tour guide only spoke Chinese, I immediately ditched the group and went exploring on my own. It was much better than being shuffled along by a guide wearing a high pitched speaker strapped to her belt. In fact the city was filled with groups being led along behind loud annoying speaker wielding tour guides. I did my best to find side streets away from everyone.

On a side note, what is with the speakers in this country? I’m not talking about people speaking, but Chinese audio speakers. Why do all speaker systems seem to the volume and treble cranked to 10, and the bass turned off???? There must be no concept of good tone in China. I had the misfortune of sitting in a seat under a speaker on the tour bus, and I had to stuff toilet paper in my ears because it was so loud and abrasive when the tour guide was speaking. There was a couple from Australia on the bus who were waving their arms and yelling “it’s too loud, it’s too loud!!!” but the guide had no idea what they were saying, so she ignored them.

After the villages, our tour bus stopped for a “tour” of a discount warehouse, where you could ogle all the plastic wrapped dried mushrooms, and candies, and dried fish, and tea that I suppose is grown in the area. All in all, and interesting day.