The past few days have not been spent as fruitfully as I wanted because I was mainly outside and away from my books. But on the bright side, it did give me some quality time to be with my relatives and friends.
On Saturday, my Uncle, Aunt, Mom, Sharon, Richard, and I went to a place called “Fenghuang Cheng” (Phoenix City) in Henan Province, just an hour away from Tongren. This area is home to the Miao ethnicity group. Although the city is famed for its beautiful, tall traditional houses that line up along the river and the fact that it is the location of (a well known Chinese story), I found it too commercialized. Along the stone-cobbled streets, there are shops set up on both sides inside the old-fashioned houses. They sold unique handmade ginger and peanut candies , silver and handmade jewelry, fresh vibrant flower crowns (so fresh there was still little bugs on some of the flowers), clothing, etc.
I especially wanted to purchase the weird little hair clips that have a plastic flower sticking up. When you wear it, it looks like a plant is growing out of your head. The clips are definitely cheaply made but sold for ¥2 since they are special to Fenghuang Cheng and cannot be found elsewhere. So many tourists were wearing it and realizing that I wanted it so bad made me think, what a perfect business opportunity for me to start in Seattle; the clips are so unique and quirky!
Eventually, I did get two for 3 Yuan.
Later, after crossing this long plank-bridge, we bargained with a lady to let us get a discounted price to try on “Miao Zu” (Miao ethnicity) dresses and take our own pictures instead.
For dinner, we walked to a nearby resteraunt and had some satisfying, but not the most delishes, dinner. Because we wanted to get back before it is too late, we fast walked to the river again to observe the night scenery. The lights of the line of buildings made a sightly reflection in the river. On the distant mountain, there was a lighted pagoda that had a laser green sky light that stretched all the way across the sky like a rainbow. However, since the night was so dark, it looked like a magical pagoda was on an island in the sky!
The next day, as planned, we went to meet Liu Luyao, her mom, and their biker friends to go down into the more rural area that is surrounded by hills to go swimming in the river. I was a little skeptical at first about the cleanliness of the water but since the river current was pretty strong and the water clear, I was reassured. Time passed so quickly and before we knew it, lunchtime was here. I ate too many buns and dumplings before we went to a local resteraunt so I was not too hungry to eat the food there.
That night, we met up with Mom’s childhood friends for dinner. I could still recognize many of them from 8 years ago and meeting them again made me really happy. There were two sons there; one I could still recognize and the other, who I haven’t seen since 2005 when he was 12, I couldn’t recognize. I am sure Sharon and I changed a lot as well though. Anyways, it was very fun talking to them all again. After dinner, we walked all the way home. Richard realized that he forgot his toy snake at the resteraunt and threw a fit. I guess he learned his lesson to take care of his belongings.