Someone who lives here told me not to go to Kaifeng because it is boring. He was right. We are not on speaking terms anymore, so when I got here, I didn't have much to do, besides visiting the two main sites.
The temple of the chief minister is the main temple in town and it really is beautiful. It would have been peaceful as well, if not for the traffic jam on the main pathways. It was labour day in China, so that must have been the reason for it. There was also a really nice vegetarian restaurant that was run by monks, so I wandered around the grounds and had some fresh tofu and noodles. Pretty sure the noodles were a tricky upsell, but I didn't know what else to order, besides tofu so the waitress brought me some of the noodles that I noticed everyone else was eating. Everything was nice anyway, if a little overpriced. I assume the monks get to keep the profits.
I went to the other main tourist draw, which is an ancient guild hall. The ornately designed architecture and actual peaceful courtyard was worth the entry fee of five dollars. The museum inside is all in Chinese, so don't expect to "immerse" yourself into it, as the Lonely Planet said. There was also a scale model of a famous painting called "Along the river during the Qing Ming festival" to examine.
My host texted me asking when I was coming over, and she said 7 p.m. would be best. I said fine and then went to the museum, hoping to see a version of this painting there. The real one is in Beijing and is only displayed at certain times during the year. It actually is quite the engrossing piece of artwork, intricately detailed and lively. It shows the life of the city during the tomb sweeping festival, some people call it China's Mona Lisa, it's that well known around here.
After all this I was insanely tired. Not sure why, but I haven't been sleeping past 6:30 a.m. recently, due to some very very faint music played every morning from god knows where. I guess I'm becoming a light sleeper in my old age. I'm starting to need naps I think.
I went to the top floor of the museum (which is closed, unlike what the guidebook said) and promptly took a nap on one of the soft benches. Nobody told me to wake up, so I stayed there for an hour and then went to get some street food dinner.
There is a night market not far from the museum with some muslim food, so I went to find this "lamb in a packet of bread". I watched the woman make it and she slathered it with some kind of grey coloured lard... um... pass! No thank you. Instead, I picked up a vegetarian sandwich made with naan bread.
In addition to this, there is something called "almond tea" that you are supposed to drink. In actuality, it's like a cornstarch pudding, more than a tea, and you eat it with a spoon. On top of the pudding, the vendor sprinkled sesame seeds, ground almond, candied fruit and other deliciousness. It was awesome. So I sat down with my dinner and waited until it was time to find my host. At around 7, I went to the university area of town, where my host's cafe was. I didn't end up finding her until 8. I had some strange directions, and no one had ever heard of this cafe. Finally, I just went to an internet cafe and asked if they could call this lady and get her to come over and pick me up. She did, and she was only three doors down from where I had given up. This host is a friend of an actual person on couchsurfing, but he didn't live in Kaifeng anymore, so he sent me here. He told me the sign was only in Chinese, so when I saw a sign that said "coffee" in English, I assumed that wasn't it. In fact, it did have a sign in English. And here I am. I immediately asked (via a translating website on my host's computer) if I could go to sleep, assuming there was a back room somewhere with a cot or something. She said not until 10 p.m. I must have had a sad look on my face, because she immediately changed her mind and chased the customers out so that I could sleep on the floor of the cafe. Then, I felt sorry and tried to get her to stay open, like normal, but she wouldn't hear it. Ahhh, the classic Chinese guilt trip thing again. We planned to go for donkey soup in the morning. Yeah really. And then I would go to a woodblock printing town in the afternoon. What I didn't realize though, was that I would be LOCKED IN here until 10 a.m., when she said she would come and get me. The cafe is perched on top of a hair salon, which is locked securely with a bicycle U-lock. So here I am with nothing but a laptop and an empty cafe.