Day 13 Pingyao walls & Wang Compound
Started off this morning at the Pingyao city walls, supposedly dating back to Ming Dynasty. While there, we bought gloves from the local vendor cuz it was kinda chilly up there. I was wearing three layers (including a sweater), so it was just the fingers and toes freezing stiff.
Following that was a visit to the local temple to Confucius, one of the oldest of such temples still in existence - it was built originally during Han and then rebuilt during the Jin Dynasty. My uncle joked that the twins will need to make a prayer there for blessings on getting into MIT; I noted that I was glad to be done with the whole school thing (though I guess I could have used some luck/blessing in passing my CCIE lab exam/certification, I guess). While there, my aunt had a...um...slight 'incident' at the toilets, which required us to rush through the rest of that site and then make a stop back to the hotel.
According to our tour guide, Shanxi (山西) province is actually predominantly Daoist, which I found surprising since I'd thought that Daoism wasn't that seriously practiced as a religion anymore in favor of atheism and Buddhism. I did note the signs saying there was a local temple to Erlang Shen though, and of course, being the fangirl that I am, I requested to see it tomorrow morning before we leave for Beijing. Tee.
After lunch, we took a car to the Wang Family Compound, which while was not as famous as the Qiao family, was much larger. We spent pretty much 2.5 hours walking through the place. It was *big*! I agree with the comparison that it was like visiting one of those old castles in England. The place was built like a fortress, except also prettier, and according to the various Chinese tours I overheard, practically all the carvings on the floors, eaves, columns, etc. had some symbolic meaning or other. The compound was built against a mountain, so the top/north wall could overlook everything. There was also a huge crane there, ostensibly in the construction of a new 5-star hotel that will be connected to the compound. I guess we know what Pingyao's (neighboring town's) development plans are. :P
Tomorrow we hit a few more spots nearby before heading back to civilization (Beijing). :)