Monday, August 31, 2009

Last post on our Henan trip.

We sure packed a lot of touring into such a short 3-day weekend trip, so far we've only talked about Friday and Saturday. We still have another full day to post about...

After we finished touring the home that was carved down into the earth we had about an hour ride to the hotel in Louyang and our guide explained to us that the only item on the itinerary for Sunday was to head back to Zhengzhou and visit the museum. That didn't really sound like fun to us so we inquired as to what else there was to see - initially the tour had included visiting the town of Kaifeng but that was bumped when we decided that we wanted to climb Songshan.

We decided that we would wait until we got to the hotel where we could quickly go online and see what else there was nearby to see, however in the remainder of the time heading back to the hotel Tina decided on something else - or rather her body did. Apparently the time in the rain on Songshan the night before wasn't good and she suddenly came down with a fever and was burning up.

Once at the hotel we put Tina to bed, talked the guide into not leaving for Zhengzhou until 11:30 the next morning, and then I wandered over to the local store to pick up some drinks and snacks for us to enjoy in the hotel.

The next morning we got up late, Tina was pretty much all better, and we headed back to go see the museum and then back to the airport. It's about a 3 hour drive back to Zhengzhou where we passed through some nice hills and valleys - here we could see the housing that was carved directly into the hillsides that we had been expecting the day before, but we didn't manage to get any photos of them as we zoomed along the highway.

I think we spent a total of one hour in the museum, it was alright, well great if you're a pottery major, but the majority of it was closed for renovation. Now it's just about 16:00 and we don't need to be at the airport until 19:00 at the earliest as we have a 20:45 flight back to Xiamen. Poor tour planning, and when we asked our guide if there was anything else in Zhengzhou to see she couldn't think of anything that we would be interested in.

Had Tina been feeling better the night before we would have pushed her to get up early and drive us to Kaifeng, as it looked like it has a few nice sights to see. Even checking the internet once we returned home showed us that there were things right in Zhengzhou that we would have enjoyed, we just think that the guide was tired and perfectly happy to send up to the airport to sit around for just over 4 hours. But it worked out as we sat in the coffee shop and managed to sort through our photos and write the first post for the blog.

Overall this was an excellent long weekend, and it could probably be done in just two days if you really wanted. We were disappointed with our guide as she never seemed to offer up suggestions, even for where there was good dining nearby when we would stop at the local hotels. We've probably been spoiled with lots of great guides and had this been our first trip within China we wouldn't have known not to be impressed. Biggest complaint that we have comes from the Longmen Grottos where you can cross the river and there is a temple and some more Buddhist caves - our guide said "You could cross the river, but it's a long walk and the sights there aren't any different then over here. You saw Shaolin Temple yesterday, that one isn't as nice. I think we should just head back to lunch now."

So we missed chances to get photos like this one, this one, or even this one. For her not to have suggested the photo after she kept commenting on how many photos we had been taking all tour I can't even begin to comprehend...

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