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8th-9th August

The train took us from Chengdu to Zigong. Zigong boasts a few curiosities that attracted us: - the salt museum and the salt well, as well as its teahouses. It is also home to the best price-quality hotel we stumbled upon during our whole journey. For a mere 100 yuan we received a very modern and clean double room with all possible modern equipment. Everything looked brandnew, including the mahjong tables that this hotel seemed to be devoted to, as two of the four storeys of the hotel contained nothing but special mahjong rooms. It was also very convenitently located close to the station. .

We hurried to the Salt museum in center town, which was housed in a beautiful ancient mansion complex, and very well documented. P1020899.jpg

I have always wondered at the power of salt, its attraction to humans, its economic and historic huge value. It is all the more difficult to grasp for me, because personally I don’t like the taste of salt. However I have to admit that salt generated civilisations such as the one called Hallstatt (city of salt) among others, spawned words such as sou, solde and soldat in French or soldier in English, indicating again its fundamental economic significance, and produced the historic riches of cities such as Zigong. And obviously it is the same story all over the world. Xiaolou had a good look (and hand) at the wooden maquette of salt drilling installation.

After this interesting visit we searched for the allegedly renowned teahouses. Considering the number of wrong indications about their location, they must be renowned to all except to the locals. We finally found the impressive façade of one of them, but the inside had only little charm, so we went for the second one by the river. The tea was good, but the view was exquisite. The windows opened on the the confluence of two arms of the green waters of the local river, A golden roofed temple peaked on the other side, and a lone fisherman squatting under his large conic straw hat at the foot of a flight of stone stairs , had cast his line, and waited, motionless. This was a (tea)room with a view. P1020905.jpg
In order to capture the details of that serene scene, I asked a piece of paper and something to draw. I received a blue ball pen, and a small slit of thin paper, so this is what I had to eternalize this sight of eternal China on.

We had dinner in a small local joint, and while waiting we invited the boy of the house, that sat at the back, to play Xiangqi with Xiaolou. He did and and lost thanks to his father who betrayed his son, shamelessly but commercially, by helping Xiaolou to make the winning moves against his own son.The boy was about the same age as Xiaolou, but since the Chinese are one year old from the first day of their life, it takes some recalculation or translation to understand the real age.
To make sure he would hold no grudge against us, we played tag with him and his friends on the street sidewalk and let him win until I decided to get some medicine at the nearest drugstore against an upcoming sore throat and head ache.

We couldn’t wait to get back to our hotel, and take full advantage of the modern bathroom P1020906.jpgand the big television flatscreen. However sleep quickly took over.

The next early morning we were queuing up to get on the train for Yibin.Two girls who had already spotted us on the platform, ended up (I suspect not by chance) sitting in front of us in the same compartment, although we had entered a the train by a different wagon. They were nurses using their only weekly day off to go to Yibin (150 km away) to have a Yibin ranmian lunch. We thought this must be really exceptional a dish to deserve such a trip. While dreaming about this meal, we proposed to play Chinese poker with them. P1020908.jpgThey readily accepted and we had a very pleasant trip with lots of supporters, as many of the other Chinese passengers marveled at our playing so well (?). Xiaolou won a few times too.

We were not to stay very long in Yibin because we still had to catch one of the few coaches for Luobiao. So we hesitated a long time to join the girls for their alluring lunch, but it seemed it would ruin the rest of the day’s program. The coach to Luobiao however started from another station, we had to reach by bus, the bus stop of which was of course, as usual, wrongly indicated, though without malice of course by the girls. Nevertheless with a lot of patience we found the right bus stop, the right direction and the right bus, and managed to get in time on the coach.

Posted by Pat2014 10:11 Archived in China Tagged and sweet sleep salt

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