Posted by: Megan | August 28, 2007

Does anyone need an old Mao Clock?

I simply ask because there are streets full of them outside this cafe (Sakura) where I am – in Pingyao! Now that I have my bargaining skills a little more down-pat I am sure I can get a good deal. But you have to be quick as I am out of here at 3pm! In fact, there are also hordes of local Chinese tourists outside as well (sorry I am NOT bargaining for one of those though). Guides raising their flags, with their respective groups trailing behind (cluttering up the old ancient streets of Pingyao as they go), wearing their same color hats to match the guide’s flag – the red hatted group amongst the yellow amongst the blue amongst the … Intrepid Travel group who disperse themselves from any such groups to go and wander where these hatted tribes dare not go! We (well I certainly do) like back- backstreets – away from the crowds, and the sound of the megaphones, to then venture into lesser wandered streets where the locals exist – not selling Mao Clocks and other useless trash! I hope my group do not feel like they are deprived of a hat to symbolize they are a group united in the madness of China? I am actually thinking of buying some for their outing on the Great Wall of China. Red or yellow? I guess it will depend which color I can get 13 of!

So yes, here I am in Pingyao – world heritage site where Raise the Red Lantern was filmed. Pingyao is wild … I love it … once I escape the crowds … The old town is enclosed within an intact wall that you can walk on top right around it – depending on speed (and it does say “no striding” up there) you can make it around in about 1hr. It will be my morning walk after this post … I think I might aim for 2 laps …. From the wall is it great looking down into the courtyards of people’s homes and just life on the streets in general!

I had a massage yesterday after a lap of the wall just to recover from the heat. Given I could not access email at all yesterday it was frustrating – had to experience a few things instead. The thing is, in hindsight, I could have just stood in the middle of one of these busy streets and been knocked down by motorized rickshaw and the effect would have been the same – bloody painful! I have had some good massages in my time in China but that was not one of them!

Due to accessing email, the posts have been a little random – sorry! Xian came and went with little mention but best summed up as: “Don’t step on the grass – it’s too convenient” (keep to the concrete paths when walking in the parks around the city walls).

It was a later train departure than the last – out of Xian bound for Pingyao where we are now. Sipped on “Shanghai Summers” farewelled Shanghai! Sipped on “Xian Shandys” (the latest train beverage) farwelled Xian! “Xian Shandys”:- a mix of Mandarin Vodka, 7-UP (served warm from train station vendor), Bravo Multivitamin Juice and a slice of lemon! With a change of drink was a change in train experience … a little more of a rustic carriage … open window airconditioning … One thing though remained the same – lights out at 10pm! Getting to the station questioned whether or not we were on the basix style trip or … the active style … When our bus driver dropped us about 700m down the road from the station it was thought at one point the active as we all had to load up like mules and walk back to the station entrance!

This afternoon is the 3rd overnight train experience. The choice of drink is yet unknown! We are Beijing Bound!

It is time to send this before the likely happens – the computer shuts down
Until Beijing ….

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  1. While I don’t require a Mao clock i do fancy a new Chairman Mao cigarette lighter – you know one of those lighters which plays a communist ditty when you flip the top, and flames appear to be coming out of Mao’s very own head? brilliant. I actually have one but it’s never worked. Well the tunes play but there is no flame which is kind of the point, right? And I know I don’t smoke but I might be tempted to take it up if I can flip out that baby everytime I want to light up ..

    keep the stories coming Megsy – its great to hear your shenanigans… 🙂

  2. mmmm I hope you are bring home a little Mao so the Uncle Ho is not lonely on the wall….we need more commos in our house……..

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