This is my friend Chang Haiqiang 常海强:
Awesome guy; fixed me up with a nice place to stay and fed me home-cooked chicken wings for breakfast.
The dude has done just about everything everywhere, from motorbike maintenance in the South to running a restaurant in the capital.
He knows everyone in the little settlement that’s clattered around the old Pujiu Temple 普救寺:
Of course I had to climb up here, too. This one wasn’t so nice though; lots and lots of people squeezing through tiny spaces, and in the end, when you get to the top, you find – nothing (except a person telling you that this is the top).
I liked the temple site though:
Very peaceful in some corners:
The thing that Pujiu Temple is particularly famous for is a love story that took place here some centuries ago. They say this is the most romantic Buddhist temple in the country, and I guess that’s why there are so many love locks everywhere:
Love locks – people engrave their own name and that of their love, maybe add a few good wishes and then fasten the whole thing somewhere high on the temple grounds:
Cute, isn’t it?
Well, the fish don’t care much about romance I guess:
They sit in plastic cups and wait for someone to throw a ring around them to take them home.
When I left Pujiu Temple and walked west, I noticed this old structure on the way:
From what I later found out this used to be part of a town wall more than a thousand years ago, and they’re planning to fix it just now.
Then I got to the Iron Bulls 铁牛:
These things are awesome and need some explanation:
During the Tang-dynasty, there used to be a very large and wealthy city here on the banks of the Yellow River. The iron bulls (four on each side of the river) were there to support a hanging bridge that was fastened to their massive metal bodies (they go several meters deep into the ground). In the course of the centuries, the waters of the Yellow River changed their course, and the city is long out of existence (the building above is among the few remainders), but the massive black bodies of the iron bulls still remain, hinting at the glory and power of a city gone into oblivion.
Today, massive historical sites get completely reconstructed everywhere:
Guanquelou 鹳雀楼 had been destroyed a couple of centuries ago. The original building was of different dimensions than this one, and it used to be in a different location as well.
Anyways, you get a nice view on the flat lands next to the Yellow River from up there:
And what’s best:
They have the one animal that can probably outrun the camel as the most ridiculous animal (camel #4) I’ve ever seen:
Dear ostrich, with your neck so long and your head so little, I like your foolish looks – why do you always seem so pissed-off though?
Later that day, I arrived at the Yellow River (I had been so looking forward to this):
The only problem was that I couldn’t see the water:
Guess I’ll get to see it tomorrow.
For now, I’m staying in a place that I don’t like that much:
It’s called Hedong farmhouse, and it’s expensive, unfriendly and cold – the food was good though.
I’m sleeping on a kang 炕, a stone bed that is supposed to be heated by an oven below – but mine isn’t.
And I’m freezing my butt off.