25.03.2017 - 25.03.2017
I went back to Zhaoqing after getting rained out last weekend. It was pretty cold and I booked a cheap hotel on booking.com, but it was a little hard to find. I showed the address to someone at an apartment building where I thought the hotel was. He kindly got his son to look up the actual address, and quickly showed me the way.
Again, they didn't find my booking. I thought booking.com was the most commonly used site around, guess not. Also, they didn't take debit cards, so I had to wander around looking for a bank before they would let me take a shower. Finally I paid and everything, ate whatever peanuts were left in my bag and then tried to take a shower. Wouldn't you know it? No hot water. I went down to the lobby in a towel and she told me to take a shower in another random room. Ugh. So annoying. I know I went with the cheap hotel, but really? Anyway, I didn't sleep well because there were mosquitoes coming in from the windows that didn't have any screens on them. Sigh.
It was easy to get to the first village about 20 km from town, once I had the correct directions, that I received last week from my waitress. I took bus 315 from the bus station beside the train station. Everything was going fine. Even the ticket lady showed me the way to the village when I got off.
A bagua village is shaped like a yin yang symbol. There is a big one in the middle of town and all the buildings radiate from there. From above, it looks really cool. Walking around in it from the ground, is extremely confusing.
The first village, Lisha, was on a little river or canal.
One of the many entrances into the village.
The yin yang in the centre of town
No one really lives there anymore, so it was quiet and spooky seeing all the abandoned buildings. Frequently, I would walk into an abandoned house and be greeted by the flapping wings of birds, desperate to escape from me. Other times, I would hear people singing or humming, and I wasn't quite sure if it was a human or a ghost. Everytime I stopped walking to hear the ghost better, it would stop singing. It must've been a coincidence, right?
People just left all their things behind, when they left this village to live in more modern housing.
Sometimes there were huge plants living in the stone buildings.
This is the ring road around the village, so it was hard to get lost.
I think this might have been an old dock for boats.
Lisha village from above:
The other bagua village was Xianggang and it was two obscure buses away. I showed the Chinese words to the ticket man and he told me to get off and change to the 308 bus. The next ticket man was not so friendly. He just yelled at me and shooed me to the back of the bus when I tried to show him my paper. It was lucky that I saw one sign that said something like Xianggang in pinyin and I got off there. That guy was not gonna help me.
There was a market in front of the old village so I couldn't find it at first. I bought some snacks from a friendly lady, and she told me to get back on the bus, there was no bagua village there. I was confused until another nice lady told me to walk straight until I see a tree. She was exactly correct.
This village was full of "ancestral halls", places where family members come to eat together and worship the ancestors. One of them was open and there were about 200 people inside, chowing down with heaps of food in giant bowls. I was so surprised to see them, that I didn't take a picture. This village was much the same as the last one, so I didn't feel bad leaving after rambling around for about a half hour. I felt like I had experienced the bagua village and probably won't need to see another one in my whole life.
An example of a seldom used ancestral hall:
One of the big trees outside the bagua village:
A nice path leading to a well kept up ancestral hall:
So similar to the last village.