Monday, October 6, 2014

Real China: Kaiping

The next day we decided to go to a small town in Southern China called Kaiping. They have a UNESCO world heritage site there to protect the ancient city and the diaolou--watch towers and residence buildings that were built during the early 1900's. Those of you interested in more history its at the end of the post.

Since the city is hard to get to (the bus took 4 hours) there were not too many tourists and we only saw one other foreigner the whole day. It was cool to check out a place that had a good deal of history but was not too crowded!

Here we gooooooo! 

Typical tourist shops

These must be local specialities because I have never seen them at any other touristy places in China
This is fried tofu with pieces of pork on them

On the left you can see dried fruit and on the right is dried fish/sardines (eek ew)

Hard boiled eggs--they had small ones and huge ones (one they said was duck eggs and the other was goose eggs)

Sugar cane juice (surprisingly not sweet)

The first place we went was Li Gardens, which was owned/is owned by a Chinese family that emigrated to America. You can see the influence of western architecture--these are all residences

This is a Chinese kitchen in the 1920s

Here is another Chinese kitchen--this is the stovetop (no oven)

This is where they kept clean water

This is how they made soy milk

Next to the historic houses, they had created a gorgeous garden

with many strange artifacts in a cinderella carriage 

Next up the three of us took this little tuk-tuk to the next village. (so uncomfortable) 

The next village had residences and watch towers--and thousands of tacky pandas everywhere (which meant tons of photo opportunities for chinese people) 

You can paint your own panda--some interesting pandas out there

This picture is so china--a beautiful historical site with some kind of tacky touch--result fabulous picture opportunities 

The last part of the trip was a place where movies had been filmed

The town looked old and charming

The Paris Hotel

River market

A kung fu training/practice thing

the highlight--someone brought their pet pig!

recycled gadgets at the market

Overall it was a lot of traveling in one day and the heat/humidity was exhausting. But it was really neat to see and surprisingly not too crowded  

Kaiping was devastated by the Opium War from 1800-1840s and was in a state of desperation and social chaos. During this time, the West began to recruit Chinese to work abroad. As a result, many Kaiping natives emigrated to South East Asia, America, Canada, Australia and other countries looking for work. The gold rush and building the trans-continental railroad attracted many immigrants to America. They faced a great deal of discrimination, but gained knowledge and money to send back to China to develop their country.

Through this, Kaiping eventually transformed from devastation to a place of prosperity. Investment and development was initiated by Chinese living abroad. The western influence is evident in the architecture--which are called diaolous. They are scattered across the countryside and became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007.

1 comment:

  1. Such interesting history- and nice for you to find a place that was not packed with people!