Saturday, June 13, 2015

China: Fenghuang

Fenghuang means phoenix in Mandarin. In ancient Chinese Feng meant the male phoenix and Huang referred to the female phoenix, but the two words have since been combined and the new word can refer to both sexes. However, in Chinese symbology the phoenix is associated with the female (yin) and the male counterpart is the dragon (yang). That is your little bit of trivia for the day.

Despite previous complaints, this city was the first city where we encountered practically no consideration when it comes to accommodating non-Chinese tourists. There were few restaurants that had pictures (something we heavily relied on to order food) and even our hostel staff spoke only passable (broken) English. We had to use phone app translators and pictures quite often. The people were very nice and tried hard to help us, but it often seemed to fall a little short. This assessment also comes from two largely undemanding tourists who had simple concerns like, “Do you have a western toilet?” We thought we were going to have to actually ‘rough’ it up some and use the squatty potty even in the oasis that had been our sleeping quarters. Luckily, after an email from me to the manager inquiring what the higher rate I was paying provided in addition to the typical accommodations, we were upgraded to a room with a little balcony and a western toilet. This upgrade did not eliminate the pervasive dampness, however, and happened to come with some cockroaches as well. We even had to borrow a can of bug spray from the front desk. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any other accommodation options so we stuck it out knowing that we were leaving after another day.

Despite the less than ideal living situation, we both thoroughly enjoyed the town itself. Fenghuang is situated along a river and has shops and restaurants mixed in with ancient homes and gardens. Some of the original families still live in the homes that are on display as part of the historical tour, similar to our experience in Xidi and Hongcun. The restaurants here offered very unique cuisine, something that we hadn't nor would we see in other cities in China. There were cages outside some of the restaurants that allowed you to pick out your dinner have it cooked up nice and fresh. It was almost enough to make me a vegetarian again.

In China we ate the most 'Ramen' aka insta-noodles that we have since college...

A view over the top of Fenghuang city

The eaves of the buildings were particularly striking

This family wanted Jared to take a pic with their son, and apparently the crab skewer...

These girls snagged this little nook before we could, but what a nice nook it is

The river winds through the city and creates a unique ambiance in the town

One of bridges at night

Would you like a guinea pig for dinner? Perhaps a snake?

The day spent exploring the city was well enjoyed but we were both anxious to move on to our next location, Zhangjiajie.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man. Hopefully no doggies in those cages. :( Poor animals.