Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Night Stroll in Zhangjiajie.


It was 9p when we set out from the hotel for a short walk around the hotel which is located right on a main road.  The only obvious place to walk towards was a complex of buildings that looked like a commercial complex of some sort.  We were drawn in by the lights :-)

The place turned out to be exactly as we thought it to be - a shopping complex with a few restaurants and bars.


With nothing else to do, we window shopped.  There was not much that held my attention except for the tea shops.  Based on the prices, these places definitely cater to tourists so while there were some items I was interested in, I thought I could get a better bargain elsewhere so I held off buying any thing as did the other three.


Surprisingly, I also found the jewelry shops very interesting because they offer these incredibly elaborate Miao silver headdresses for sale.  There are three main ethnic minority groups in Zhangjiajie: Tujia, Bai and Miao. These groups make up 77 percent of Zhangjiajie's total population  and for the Miao, the headdress is an integral element in their ceremonial dress.  One day, I would love to come back to Zhangjiajie to explore the culture of the ethnic minorities.  This headdress will serve as a reminder to return.


Zhangjiajie takes great pride in the fact that the surrounding mountains and landscape served as inspiration for the backdrops in the movie, Avatar.  In a courtyard, there was a fountain and sculptures paying tribute to the movie.  It looked very out of place in a courtyard surrounded by buildings inspired by ancient Chinese architecture.


From the shopping center, we crossed the road to head back to the hotel. On their walk earlier in the afternoon, Yim and Sal had spotted a vendor selling stinky tofu and since I love the stuff, they were hoping to lead me back to the vendor.  While they did not spot the original vendor, we did come across this women who was busy frying up a batch of the stinky stuff.  I had to have me some!



Stinky tofu is definitely an acquired taste and I had my first taste on a visit to Qibao - a water village located near Shanghai.  It was not a pleasant taste at first but as I ate it, it some how grew on me.  That was seven years ago and while my taste buds could not recall what stinky tofu tastes like.  Tonight, I pretty much had the same reaction.  Took me a few bites to get the taste.   All I can say is if you like peidan i.e., thousand year old egg,  you will like stinky tofu.  I happen to love peidan so much so that I will very often snack on them :-)

It was Mal's night tonight.  Not only did she get to ham it up with the woman selling the stinky tofu but she also got a request to pose in yet another photo.

The woman was impressed at how skilled Mal is with using chopsticks.

Smell not so good.

First of I don't know how many photos.  This guy kept wanting his picture with Mal to be taken from different angles.

Poor Mal. She's still not comfortable with strangers wrapping their arms around her like they are her long lost friends.

A fruit vendor had set up his stall nearby the stinky tofu vendor.  Sal was drawn in by the sight of mangosteens which we would typically see in Southeast Asia but most certainly, I was not expecting to see them here.  She bought a few; I think she misses the taste of them.  I was happy to get a few more kiwi fruit.


It was a long day today and despite the clouds (it never did rain), I think we all enjoyed ourselves.  We're back to the park tomorrow.  I hope the weather takes a turn and it will be sunny so the views will be nicer.

Goodnight from Zhangjiajie!