Saturday, August 25, 2012

Villages of An Hui

During my visit to An Hui, I think I've visited at least 3 village with it's own history. One of the village has turn into a tourist attraction as it's the village of Hu, which is somewhat related to the China's current leader, Hu Jin Tao. As we all know, for a chinese family, our first name is our surname and normally people with the same surname in Chinese most likely is related in the olden days.

Let me quickly introduce 2 village that I visited which I honestly do not have much memory of it.

XiDi  (西递)

An extract from Unesco's site. A brief history of XiDi Village:

Xidi was originally called Xichuan (West River), because of the streams that pass through it, but its present name, which means "West Post," comes from the ancient caravan posting station some 1.5km to the west of the village.
It owes its growth to the Hu family from Wuyuan (Xinan), who adopted a son of the Tang Emperor Zhaozong (888- 904) after the Emperor was forced from his throne in 904, naming him Hu Changyi. One of his descendants, Hu Shiliang, moved his family from Wuyuan to Xidi in 1047. From that time onwards the family lived and prospered at Xidi.
The population began to rise sharply from 1465, when the Hu family began to act as merchants. The construction of a number of important private and public buildings, and in particular the Huiyuan and Gulai bridges, began at around that time. From the mid 17th century until around 1850 the Hu family was influential in both commerce and politics. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties members of the family became Imperial officials, whilst many also became graduates of the Imperial College. At its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries the village had more than six hundred residences. However, with the decline of the Anhui merchant community and the disintegration of the feudal clan system during the later Qing Dynasty and the Republic, Xidi ceased to expand.

Due to heavy rain when we were there that kind of kills my mood to take photos at the beginning, so kind of missed out few shots that I should have take as it is the iconic symbols of the villages. :(

A rainy shots that I took outside of the village.

Seriously, it was raining, my mandarin wasn't that great that I had trouble understanding the history of the village and the amount of tourists there is just crazy lah ~~ So, even if I walked into someone famous house in the village, I seriously don't know who and all I know its's a residential area xD

Anyway ~~~~ Here's some shots of the village which I don't think you can have a real view of how does the village is :P

What caught my attention was the art students who were actually doing their projects of sketching. It's like every corner we walked to, there are students sitting and drawing at their best. No wonder they can be such a great artist !

Hongcun (宏村)

An extract of the brief history of Hongcun, also from Unesco's website:
Hongcun was founded in 1131 by Wang Wen, a Han Dynasty General, and his kinsman Wang Yanji, who brought their families from Qisu village to the upper part of the stream near Leigang mountain and built 13 houses there. The village knew two periods of great prosperity, 1401- 1620 and 1796-1908. Like the Hu family in Xidi, the Wang family became officials and merchants and accumulated enormous wealth, which they used to endow their home village with many fine buildings. Around 1405, on the advice of geomancers, a channel was dug to bring fresh water to the village from the West Stream. Two hundred years later the water supply system of the village was completed with the creation of the South Lake. The 19th and early 20th centuries saw the construction of a number of imposing public buildings, such as the South Lake Academy (1814), the Hall of Meritorious Deeds (1888), the Hall of Virtuousness (1890), and the Hall of Aspiration (1855, rebuilt 1911).
Somewhat later than Xidi, Hongcun fell into a decline with the birth of the Republic, but it still retains many of its fine buildings and its exceptional water system.

 The bridge into the villlage

Hongcun's central clearing

Can never get rid of those peoples out of my photos ! RAWR ....

What is interesting to look at is definitely the amazing artwork, crafting at the walls, the pillars just like the above photos. People in those days, I'm not sure if there's just too rich or just too free or what but it's just really amazing ... Don't look at the artwork just like that cuz each has its stories. It's all about story telling through artwork.

We were very lucky to be able to enjoy the local foods here at the Hongcun village at one of the farmer's house, well which basically has turn into a restaurant for tourists. But us, able to have it inside the house. It's just so kampung-feel lor .....

Reason why everyone is standing is not because we are having steamboats, is because it's either the chair is too short or the table is just too tall that we had to stand up to get the vege and so end up everyone my as well just stand while eat. xD

Some of the more "special" dish that we had here ... Can i just say it's omnomnomnom ... :P

 Ayam dish

 Katak dish

Rabbit dish

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Venice, City of Love

Last year around this time, I finally managed to put steps onto few countries in Europe which is France, Switzerland, as well as, Italy.

The country that gave me most unforgettable memories is definitely Italy where I've visited Rome, Venice, Pisa and Florence

Venice .... I would say it's the most romantic place that I've ever been to. Even for a single lady like me, I fell in love with my imaginary boyfriend. It's definitely one of the perfect getaway for a couple.

Everyone know that Venice is the city on water. With that, it is so different with any other city already. It is not a big city where you basically finish walking the main streets in just within a day. However, for you to venture within the blocks, bridge after another bridge, all i can say that is FUN! Because at every corner of this small street, there's just interesting thing to see and eat. So, just be adventurous and get lost in the Venice .. The most is ..... you drop into the sea only ma .... :P

 Adding with the romantic night out at the St. Mark's square, it's perfecto ~ *kissing fingers*

Day view of part of the square which was flooded with last night's high tide

Night view of the Square 

So romantic kan !!!!! Just imagine all the romantic songs are playing around the square ... And we spotted this elderly couple dancing away with the waltz ... Ok ok .. I couldn't remember what was the music that they were dancing to ... xD

Oh and of course, not forgetting this as the companion .. :D

At the square itself, you can already visit the St. Mark's Church ...

as well as the Doge's Palace ... A very educational visit of the palace where it's consists of the Doge's residential area, the Palace of Justice and the prison. It is also served as the seat of the government in the olden days. And being to experience the Bridge of Sigh, where that's the bridge where the prisoners were able to look at the outside world one last look before they were walked to the prisons.

Other than the St Mark's square, you must also at least take a picture of the famous Rialto Bridge. It's people mountain people sea, so it's really hard to get a shot without humans in it .. RAWR ...

OO OO !!! As Venice was our first stop in Italy, of course we couldn't stop eating the yummilicious GELATO lor .. I seriously don't know how many I have taken in the 2 nights stay xD

Best evah GELATO !!!!

Also, caught this awesome shot near the St Mark's square during sunset

Pls say CANTEK !!!!!! :P

And for the guys, this is for you la ~

I officially now wants to revisit Venice asap T___________________________T

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Selamat Hari Raya

Just a simple greetings from yours sincerely

Be safe when you are on the road
Eat as much as you can but not till you vomit
Have all the fun you want but not risking your own life


SELAMAT HARI RAYA to all my dear readers who is celebrating

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Hui (安徽) - Part 1

A little introduction of An Hui that again I got it from

Anhui (Chinese: 安徽; pinyinĀnhuī) is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny section in the north. The capital of the province is Hefei.The name "Anhui" derives from the names of two cities in south Anhui, Anqing and Huizhou (now Huangshan City).[1] The abbreviation for Anhui is "皖" (Wǎn), because there were historically a State of Wan, a Mount Wan, and a Wan river in the province.

In addition to that, An Hui now is also known as the Huang Shan City to the tourists because this is the city where Huang Shan is basically located and every tourists who goes to Huang Shan will have to pass by here.

So, here are some of the places that we were brought to visit.. Basically, is all villages la ~ except for the first stop, Old Street .. It is just something like Petaling Street where certain old buildings are maintained yet the street is converted into tourists area.

So here are some of the shots that I manage to get here though not many due to poor lighting but I'm still very glad because most of it turns out awesome ...

In An Hui, one of their famous skill is making these calligraphy brushes, what more to say, this is the city of art .... 

Saw the top of the roof with white lights? According to our tour guide, in the olden days, if there is three steps at the roof, it mean that their family has a scholars or some generals .. If there is only one step, it mean that their kids has not turn out to be successful in career 

Just loving this mystery lane shot ..

Also, here in Old Street, I am also glad that I manage to get some people portraits .. All taken without flash nor tripods ...

One of the local foods that you MUST try here is TAUHU BULU (毛豆腐). If you ever tried TAUHU BUSUK, probably you don't mind going for this. Well, it's basically fermented tofu where some kulat grow on the tofu and then you fried it .. Honestly, it is just AWESOME !! Me gusta ~~

You can only get it in An Hui and no other place that I know so far ... So a must try whenever you are there !!

Lastly, caught this shot ... Just a man who is so enjoying chinese food that caught our attention .. xD

Up next more about An Hui and its unique villages ...