Sunday, September 03, 2006


I've been here for a week now. I've seen the big city sights, and met a friend from Taiwan.

Anton was born in Taiwan, grew up in New Jersey, went to University in California, and now lives with his parents in Shanghai. He's been studying Chinese for the past couple of years, and he is going to start a five year program in Traditional Chinese Medicine next week. The whole program is in Chinese of course, so I guess he should be absolutely fluent when it's all over and done with. Then he plans to move back to the States and open a practice.

Finally got out of the city a couple of days ago, and right now we are staying in a little village called XiDi in AnHui province. This one's a UNESCO world heritage sight with hardly any tourists. Amazing place. We are staying in a guesthouse in the middle of the village that some friends of Anton's parents own. They bought a 500 year old farm house and renovated it into an amazing living space. Apparently the UN folks stay here when they come.

Looking out over the village from the third floor.

First floor - recieving room, dining room and sky well. There is an opening in the roof three floors above these plants that lets in the sunlight and the rain. Letting the rain in has something to do with letting wealth in... It's really beautiful.

Anton and Aki.

The neighbor's place.

And more neighbors still.

P.S. LiJiang sucks.


Brett said...

XiDi looks awesome. That must be what Lijiang dreams about. How did you feel about the east coast after spending most of your time in the hinterlands?

Aaron Franz said...

It's true that as I walked the quiet streets of XiDi, I really missed the crowded, carnival like atmosphere of the other great tourist sights in fine China.

"Where are the neon lights that these important cultural relics demand to be illuminated by?" I thought.

"Where are the old women that should be chasing me around explaining how polution has destroyed farming in the area and would I like to buy a postcard?"

"Where is the ticket booth that charges an entrance fee equivalent to a weeks wages for the average rural Chinese?"

It was good to see a little of the east coast in Shanghai and Anhui. I wouldn't necessarly want to travel there, but I recommend a visit.