The next adventure we took-not counting the multiple, tedious, trips around Beijing to get our visas renewed-was to Hengshui (pronounced Hungshway), a “small” city in the province Hebei. The Hebei province sort of “spoons” Beijing so the train ride was only about four hours. The catch was that we took a traditional train there, not the high-speed train we would normally take. This train was dirtier, less private, and much louder then the high-speed trains are, but it was a short ride so we survived. Now like I said, we were told that Hengshui was a “small” city so we were not quite sure what kind of accommodations to expect. When our host Professor Lei checked us in to our hotel we were quite reassured that this trip would not be a Yangling hotel repeat (whose accommodations were a little less then…erm..modern? Sanitary?). This hotel was even equipped with a phone by every toilet so you can even do your business while doing your business! (PS: this small town has a population of approximately 4,340,373…yeah, so small..)
The next day, two students took the day off to show us around Hengshui while Dad worked with Dr. Lei. The first place we stopped was “music town”, about an hour’s drive from our hotel. To be honest when we got out of the car we were a bit confused at why they had brought us there. Turns out that music town was still in development, so it was as “touristy” as one would think but hey! we got a sneak peek how awesome it is when it will be done! I guess?
All joking aside, there really were a few cool shops that we got to check out it the time we spent there. The first one, and my personal favorite, was the guitar shop. This shop was filled with handmade and painted guitars and ukuleles. The guitars there were definitely not the best of quality, but we had fun strumming around, and Abel even got to try out a guitar his size too! (It was actually a ukulele, but he couldn’t really tell the difference so…) ;)We were sad that Dad was not able to join us for this trip because it definitely would have been right up his ally.
The next shop we popped in was a violin making shop. It was a little smaller and a little darker; but we got a live cello performance in that shop, so that was definitely cool!
The last shop we stopped at was a what-not shop. Annie got to make her very own New Year’s Calendar painting the traditional way, using a stamp. Eli also got a match gun as a gift from the students (which got us put on the watch list at the train station later when it was time to return to Beijing…oops.)
After we had seen our fill of music town we stopped into Dicos (like a Chinese KFC) for a quick lunch. The next stop on the adventure was to the New Year’s Calendar Painting Museum. Now, I didn’t quite catch why New Year’s Calender Paintings were so special in Hebei, other then the fact that they were really nice. Still, the museum was very interesting. It was also much larger than one would expect from the outside! There were some cool interactive parts of the museum, including a walk-through traditional hutong house and another New Year’s Painting Station.
Overall, we had a wonderful day of adventures! Now one final question…How many babies do you see?
Thanks for reading! Have an awesome day!