Monday, May 14, 2012

April 26; From Luoyang to Kaifeng with the Grottoes in between

Day 81
We (once again) had an early start today as we wanted to reach the Longmen Grottoes before the tourist rush. We actually didn’t get there before the rush, as the bus ride and walk from the stop to the actual attraction was longer than anticipated...but that didn’t ruin the mood. The area was absolutely astonishing. The Longmen Grottoes, which took four dynasties to construct, is a cultural relic located in Luoyang in the Henan province. This UNESCO site is famous for its excavated statues of Buddhas.
taking a nap on the tree
TanG's body is ready. 
the big shabang
I've been practicing group self portraits.
Buuut, I prefer when someone else takes the picture.
Crossing the bridge to get to the other side of the grottoes.
One side is green and the other side is rocks. 
The steps were massive!! bigger than my hands.
Families drinking tea.
secret gates... I'm sure there were more marvels in there. 
frog trash bins
Mr. Prince Charming? Is that you?
girls souvenir shopping
On our way out, Tanjin bought an enormous ball of cotton candy. 
Entrance Fee = 120 RMB
(Definitely recommended!)

After touring around the area, we headed back to the train station area and grabbed a late lunch where we waited for our train to Kaifeng. There wasn’t much veggie friendly cuisine, so I sadly opted for KFC.
China's peach eggtart = amazing. TO take note.
Mashed potatoes and peach eggtart – both of which were amazing, especially the tart which was fruit filled. 
When we brought the train tickets, the only ones available were the 2nd class seats. Not the best, but at least the ride was only 2 hours. We didn’t make friends on this train, but there was a man nice enough to offer to switch seats so I could sit with the rest of the girls.
Train station art
Me: I'm scared of showing any signs of richness
Kristie: I wanted to listen to my music.
Tanjin: Is reading for the poor?
 Just before the arrival in our new destination my expectations, which were formed on the 3 hour train ride, was sort of like “we gonna be in the ghetto. There was a scenic view of trees, plain land, and shack communities. We waited for our bus, but it looked like to would never show. Even the Chinese people gave up on the bus and took cabs instead. We followed the Chinese, and took a cab too. I’m so glad we did too, it was only 7 RMB for a 10 minute ride (divided by us meaning $0.30 CND each).  As a bonus, the cab driver was really friendly and helpful. He even showed us a few places in the city on route to the hostel.

Arriving at the hostel made me feel relaxed, although I admit the first hostel we stayed athad better facilities and looked nicer. The Kaifeng Youth Hostel provided all the basic necessities: a roof over our heads, washroom, bed, and wi-fi.
Ancient computers that can access facebook? Not bad
Closet sized washroom in our 6 people dorm.  Showers make the floors extra swampy. My bad
Before crashing, we decided to look for dinner and luckily we found it right at the hostel. I was really impressed by what came out of the (imaginary) kitchen. My chili eggplants and rice was amaazing, and only for 8 RMB!
Magical food comes out of this closet sized kitchen. 

Mmm, at least I know I won’t starve.

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