HK&C: Day 3: Yongzhou, PRC

The commentary was a bit challenging for me to follow.

This morning started with pork buns, which made me really like Yongzhou immediately. Kiely went out and picked the buns up before heading out to give his exams, and they made for a most excellent breakfast.

I had thought I’d squeeze in a bit more sleep after breakfast, but such was not to be had. As I told Kiely to take the keys with him, I kept busy by watching Game 7 of the NBA finals, in Mandarin. (Basketball, Badminton, and Ping Pong are the most popular sports here. )

The head isn’t visible in this shot. Ignorance is bliss. 

Kiely returned, and we headed out into town to run a few errands, have lunch, and explore. We headed over to a local spot and had a delicious lunch of cabbage and chicken. As someone who doesn’t eat meat on bones often, doing so with chopsticks just adds to the fun. I found myself digging around the plate, trying to find easier pieces to start.

I was so focused in my search that I didn’t process that the rather uniform piece I was considering was actually the chicken’s head; eyes, beak, and all. It came as such a surprise, I jumped, much to Kiely’s amusement.  He told me the head was the best part, but only kept up that claim for a minute or so, ultimately admitting that he couldn’t eat it, either.

Yongzhou is a very big city, geographically. The area where my brother’s University is the old part of town, which is locally called, “LingLing.” We did much exploring around the area.

View of the temple from within.

We headed out to the temple closest to where Kiely lives, which we believe honors a famous poet from Yongzhou and then walked through the old part of town. this area contains older buildings which are now protected from demolition but aren’t really cared for either. We came back, enjoyed some AC, and headed out again, only this time onto the bus into Yongzhou city.

The LingLing Waterfront

The bus is amazing – when it’s moving. Yongzhou is so crazy humid that feeling the air whilst on a moving bus really does feel fantastic. Unfortunately, we had to sit on the bus and wait for it to start, but it may have been worth it.

What really shocked me was that as we sat there, hot and sticky as can be, plenty of people outside were heavily dressed; women wearing long sleeves and lots of older men wearing Mao-style jackets. I can’t imagine ever acclimating to that – it took my camera lens half an hour to unfog each time we went outside.

A view of the old part of town, near the first temple we saw.

We took the bus over the bridge, and visited two more temples as well as taking in the view from this music school. I also got to meet some of my brother’s students, all of whom clearly appreciate him. I can see why it’s a bit strange and wonderful to be a foreigner in Yongzhou. People definitely stare. A whole bus of middle school children was very excited to see us, and I have never had so many strangers tell me how pretty I am. It’s rather fun to suddenly be perceived as special.

The second temple was beautiful, but closed. 

We hopped back on the bus (no waiting + open windows = glorious), enjoyed more AC and showers, and watched a Chinese children’s cartoon, Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf (喜羊羊与灰太狼) before heading out to dinner with my brother’s old friend , Albright.

“Dumplings again?”, was a welcome suggestion, and after a delicious dinner, we went for a walk. We ran into one of my brother’s students who was celebrating her birthday and setting aloft a lantern with her wishes noted… it’s a bit like when you light an Amaretto cookie wrapper on fire. We watched her wish blow off into the horizon with high hopes. She said that usually one keeps these wishes secret, but hers wasn’t… that she hoped there would be no weather related disasters, to which I had to tell her that wish for good weather was very English.

Poster on campus encouraging students to
speak Mandarin (the lady is a film star)

We headed back to Kiely’s, and Albright, Kiely, and I, and we sat out on the balcony, chatting and people watching, until bedtime.


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