When the sun came out, we left the regiment and started out walking through fields:
Our goal was to take dirt roads as much as we could:
And so we walked:
…past pink houses…
…and past a mosque:
No, actually we didn’t just walk past that mosque. Just when we were passing by, a police car stopped and a dude jumped out, pointing a finger at us, yelling: “What are you doing??”
We ended up explaining ourselves for over an hour at the local police station.
Then they let us go.
We were only tourists after all.
This was what we were coming here for, we had told them:
The old town of Huiyuan 惠远.
This place used to be the center of Chinese administration during most of the later years of the Qing dynasty.
But behold! Did I say “old town”?
Sadly, it doesn’t matter where you go in this country, it’s the same almost everywhere: the remaining old structures are being torn down, and new “old” buildings are built in their place.
As of now, THIS is what’s really remaining of the original old town:
The original old city wall.
Most of the pictures you are about to see are just new things that are supposed to look historical.
So we passed the Eastern Gate into Huiyuan:
Looked at the Confucian Temple 文庙:
Found it pleasant on the inside:
Looked at different statues:
Most of which we didn’t understand:
But I liked this one:
…I think because of the hand:
Then we followed the “old” walls…
…until we got to another historical relic:
This used to be the military administrative complex, of course it had been rebuilt too though:
We walked around in there for a while:
Then we got hungry and had lunch in a restaurant across the street.
There was a cop there, but he didn’t bother us:
Instead, we took pictures together:
Then we walked past some more buildings:
Until we got to what seemed like the former civil administration:
Rebuilt, nice and clean:
It housed a statue of Lin Zexu 林则徐 (1785-1850), one of the most famous government officials of the late Qing dynasty, who had been sent here as punishment for his firm stance against the British opium trade (which led to the First Opium War of 1839-1842):
Of course he hated it here.
We wondered if he would have enjoyed visiting the new “old” buildings in this place. Like the drum tower:
Or if he would have deemed the original city walls to be more interesting:
Even though they were withering away:
We had about enough anyway. And we were tired.
We crossed a small river:
Then there were more sunflowers:
They were spared the honor of being jumped around in by us though. We were too lazy this time:
Then we reached Huocheng, a mid-sized town and our walking goal for the night.
It greeted us with a leaping horse:
And with a pile of trash:
The town was nicely quiet, except for the noise of birds in the trees. They were literally everywhere.
We had fun with them for a while:
Then we found a hotel room.