Our first destination was an old part of the city called Qingyan Ancient Town (青岩古镇 – qīng yán gǔ zhèn) in the southern outskirts of Guiyang.
It wasn’t a photo-friendly day. The sky was grey and gloomy but at least it wasn’t raining. On days like these you do your best to keep the sky out of the frame:
Unless you are trying to make a point:
The weather actually made it easier on me. With scenery photos out of the question I could focus on food, and when it came to food, just like any touristy place, the Ancient Town of Qinyan had much to offer. First, I came across this small place run by a very patient woman:
She offered me Pig Feet Stew (卤猪脚 – lǔ zhū jiǎo) and Tofu Balls (豆腐丸子 – dòu fu wán zi) but I was more interested in something called 玫瑰冰粉 (méi guī bīng fěn) which literally translates to roses-icy-powder. I thought it would be some kind of fragrant cold noodles but it turned up to be something completely different:
It took a lot of explaning from the nice lady but I finally understood 冰粉 has nothing to do with ice or noodles. It refers to a flower known in English as Apple of Peru. In Chinese it is called 冰粉花 (bīng fěn huā) because it’s the flower (花) from which you make Bingfen (冰粉) – a cold summer snack which is traced back to the Ming Dynasty to a place called Wuyang (武阳, modern time Gushan (鼓山) in Sichuan Province). The seeds of the flower are soak in water and their extract creates a paste. This paste is mixed with icy water, fruit and nuts to form a very refreshing snack. I had a rose flavor Bingfen and though it was very tasty it also felt a bit weird because it’s like drinking perfume. Rose Bingfen is pretty rare and there aren’t many other places you can find it, so try it if you get a chance. While I was grooming my stomach a friend of mine tried the Tofu Balls and according to him, they taste as good as they look:
We said goodbye to the nice lady and went up the main street. I found a stand which had huge bowls filled chili peppers on display:
The difference between the bowls was the degree of spiciness. I started with the least spicy and worked my up. I even bought a little jar of the least spicy one just to freak people out while they watch me munch on raw chili peppers, and then let them try and see for themselves that it’s not that spicy.
We had less than one hour to walk around before we had to get back on the bus and it was barely enough to scratch the surface. There many back streets and little allies that looked very intriguing but I couldn’t explore them further:
Our next stop was Guizhou University. We toured the campus, heard some lectures, had lunch and interacted with the local students.
As I mentioned in the previous post, each class was asked to prepare a little performance. Since I was the guitar player I spent most of my time practicing, tuning and getting ready for the show so I can’t show ot tell you much about the campus or the lectures other attended. We sang an acoustic version of Hit Me Baby One More Time inspired by Travis:
After the performance we swapped presents with the local students. I gave my counterpart hand made origami and in return I got a book explaining Confucius quotes in modern Chinese. From my teachers, I got a box of Guizhou candies made of sesame and nuts called 波波糖 (bó bo táng):
They were very similar to a famous Middle Eastern Snack called Halva, only with a softer texture.
That evening, since we were finally done with the performance and didn’t need to rehearse no more, we went out. Our hotel, Guiyang Forest City Wanyi Hotel, was very near Road Two Seven Snack Street (二七路小吃街 – èr qī lù xiǎo chī jiē) and that’s were we started the night.
The main beverage was a brand of beer I haven’t tried before called Snow. It was very yellow. You know what they say about yellow snow, right? Well let’s just say the beer didn’t prove the saying wrong, but at least it was cold.
We played a bunch of Korean drinking games and ate a lot. We had the pigs feet I skipped this morning:
Some chicken wings (鸡翅 – jī chì):
And Spicy Potato Wedges (辣薯条 – là shǔ tiáo):
After that some of us went home and some of us embarked upon a journey to find a club. Maybe it was Guiyang or maybe we just didn’t know where to look but all we found was a bar. After a couple of more hours at the bar there was another split. I went home but I heard those who stayed did find a nice club where they danced until 04:00 in the morning. We had nothing scheduled for next morning except check out at 12:00.
Here’s a map that shows all the places mention in this post. Most of them are in the south part of Guiyang:
View Guizhou Trip 2013 in a larger map
And I leave you with one last photo from Qinyan Ancient Town. See you in the fifth and last part of this series.