"In china if it has a price to get through the door, its probably not worth it." me
The greatest sights to be seen in China are not around the Great Wall, or the Forbidden City, they are all around you where ever you go. Cities and countryside alike always pop up some new unexpected thing that makes you think twice about everything surrounding you.
One of the interesting things to do in China though is get on a bus, then another, then another until you end up somewhere out of the way where there is barely a road and hardly a phone. Walking in anywhere would not a problem if it were not for the scorching sun that has dried out everything in drought.
So on one such road we arrive in Tang He. A small town outside of the city of Chongqing where there isn't even a road in the conventional sense leading to it. A place where tourism isn't that big yet and the townsfolk live in a simpler existence away from computers and billboards, except the occasional one reminding people to have only one child to help China's out of control country side population of over 1.2 billion people.
In this town there is an old street where the houses are of the older style and farmers and other people wander around looking for supplies they need or sitting in the shade talking and playing cards. Its pretty typical of China for the most part except one thing. Places like this are usually tourist traps and we seem to be the only "tourists" around.
This place doesn't have a real road going to it yet, what they do have that is a "road" barely qualifies as a dusty path. Its not very easy to get to this place so no wonder when we wander into town we are not bombarded with questions like "where are you going" "do you want to go here" and so on.
The town is built up a little on one side, then the rest of it is obviously a farming community. Wandering up long paths into the mountains takes you through farmers fields and out away from the modern area of the town. A lot of the people here live for the most part as they have for the last couple hundred years. Houses made of earth and grass, simple clothes, water from the well, carrying everything around on bamboo poles, and of course, the people are very hospitable. Everyone seems to know everyone, and people welcome you to their houses without suspicion. It seems almost like Chinese people will do something nice for someone else with the only reward being seeing that person happy. Seems pretty civil to me.
An old temple where revolutionaries in the past have damaged some of the wood carvings and words in the walls. Three boys play outside of the temple with toy guns, looks like they are getting ready for war. An old lady outside of the temple talks to me and kind of wont let me go, apparently I've been "adopted".
It's a neat old street. The stones in the walkway have been worn smooth, the houses are made of wood and cement, and cats wander around everywhere. It's a pity that they are building a major roadway to this town and the town itself is preparing by building up its tourist attractions to bring money into the town. Seems like a quick way to loose your soul here in China, far to many towns I've seen converted to tourism and the simple country life goes right out the door.
After wandering around the old street snapping photos, the next day we hike up into the mountain side up a very hot stone path through the farmer's fields to find an old lords manor. An old man who has to be well past his seventies shows us the path on his way back from the town. He speaks with such a heavy Sichuan accent I can only make out part of what he says. On the road up we see a lot of old earth houses and several farmers tending the fields. Most of the people however are back in their houses out of the sun. They are the smart ones; we decided to go on our little walk when the sun was brightest.
Nearing our destination we stop at a farm house where a lady offers us water and a place to sit in the shade. There is a girl there who has just washed, water dripping around her, with the most penetrating unyielding look on her face watching us as she goes on to brushes her hair. A young boy shows off his abilities by doing summersaults in the dirt and everyone has a good laugh.
Onward to the manor we find a huge old house with a few families living in it now. We wander through, being led around by our self appointed guide and make a few stops to peoples homes to sit, talk, and wash our faces with cold clean mountain water. I leave a pile of sweet dried plums on a table and a old lady munches on them as she observes us as we observe her.
The old house has the typical platitudes to Chairmen Mao, a common site in the country side. We are invited to eat lunch everywhere we turn and finally settle down in one house to drink soup and eat snails with the locals. Naturally everything is as fresh as it possibly can be. After lunch we wander back down the hill to the town and try to figure out some way of getting out and heading into a nearby town to catch a bus somewhere else which will sooner or later lead us back in to Chongqing. Everyone who gets on the bus complains about the price and tries to bargain the fair down, its sort of amusing to see everyone do the same song and dance routine as they get on.
Sooner or later we arrive back in Chongqing, with a lot of photos and some interesting memories of a neat old town that ill have to go back to soon to take them copies of photos I took here and experience more of the slower lifestyle.
Ive finished sticking up photos for this series for now.