Well... we were supposed to move out of our hotel (right) into another hotel because it's cheaper and better but not all of us will be moving out. Some stayed back for an extra day before moving to somewhere else to prepare for their Wushu examination. So those moving out today had their stuff packed and moved to another room before we head down for breakfast and to checkout.
A friend of the team leader made an arrangement for a van to pick us all up. Our destination... Kaifeng, the ancient capital of China. And you know who was our driver? He's a Chinese FBI and we were actually sitting in a police van. I was just a plain and simple van so I didn't even realised that it's a police van until I was told of it but the locals recognises the van immediately. Every toll we passed we need not pay for it. All the driver did was to show his pass and we're off.
The first location we went to is the 2nd oldest temple in China (or was it in Kaifeng, I can't remember). It's called Da Xiang Gou Shi. The oldest was destroy during the war but I'm not sure which war.
At the entrance:
When I was in the temple, it felt very much different than the temples in Malaysia the whole time. It was very serene... very relaxing. The whole temple was very well maintained and upkept. Being a temple, you would obvious know what to expect in it. So just enjoy the photos.
Our next stop is a place called The Millennium City Park. The place was built and decorated according to the ancient times in China. Even the workers were all dressed in ancient costumes. Because it's a tourist spot, it was obviously well maintained. For that it comes with a fee of RMB 80, if I remembered correctly. So that would make up about MYR 40. Of course there are performances, dancers and singing which we missed all of it because time disallowed us to stay there long. All the shows are either late evening or at night.
Anyway, it's gonna be another flood of photos. Enjoy.
The group photo right after we entered the area.
The sceneries are just mesmerizing.
Prior to this, we were all 'outside' the city and below is the city gate. Every gate would have rows of gold coloured cylinders (sorry, I don't have any photo to show, so had to explain). If the gate has 8 rows, it means that it's only a normal gate used by commoners. If there are 9, then it means that it's the gate the emperor uses. You get the whole idea?
[updated Nov 16, 2006]
If you can't imagine what I was talking about. Look at the gate at the background. See the yellow dots. The emperor only passes through gates with 9 rows.
Afer that, we had lunch. Lunch was at a restaurant nearby and we were served with I think over 30 dishes of varieties. Some taste pretty good, some was ok. But ALL are oily and salty. Oil and salt must'd been really really cheap in China. We spent almost 2 hours eating and we still could not finish all the dishes. What a big waste.
After lunch, we went someone's training centre. Remember the Shaolin diciple I mentioned few post ago? He made an arrangement for us to meet with some Tai Chi master there. While everyone else was exchanging knowledge and learning from one another, I was practically stucked at where I sat (and stand) because I don't know what they are doing and perhaps will never will, simply because I don't learn Tai Chi. I think we spent almost 2 hours or so there.
We then continued with our visit. And this time, it's the Kaifeng ancient court... the court where Justice Pao used to hear his cases. The place has been made into a tourist destination with some extensions around the the court. We saw the court, the dungeons, and training ground for the army (Justice Pao has his own small recruits of army) and of course, his residence.
I'll let the pictures do the showing and talking.
Outside the main gate. Funny the entrance was not at the gate but beside.
From outside the court garden into the court arena.
The replica of Justice Pao's official seal.
Outside, at the garden.
Anyone mind translating this for me?
Ah, finally, the court itself.
The 3 beheading equipment used by the judge. The one with the dragon head (middle) was used to behead corrupt royal family members. The one with the tiger head (right) was used to behead corrupt imperial and government officials and the last one on the left, the one with the dog head was used to behead other criminals during his days.
That was the last photo of the day. After that, my camera battery died again. The court was also our last destination before we headed back to our hotel, our new hotel that is, for those who was moving out.
And now, a little description of the new hotel. To even get a stay in the hotel, you must have a diplomatic relationship with the local government or you know someone of high authority. The hotel was actually reserved for the use of high ranking officials in the Chinese government. It is actually located behind two government buildings, hidden the view of many. We must have authorisations to stay there. And because it was reserved for government officials, none of the common people knew about the hotel and its existance.
I was told that the area was guarded by over 300 policemen (I think it's on a rotation basis, because I did not see that many policemen when I was there) and to reach the hotel itself, we had to pass through 3 security guard post. The hotel guaranteed the cleanliness, hygiene and nutritious food... so we can be sure, we won't get SARS, bird flu and other diseases. Hey, the food isn't as oily or salty as the food we had so far, so it's seems all good to me.
I dare not take any photo of the hotel because I didn't want to be accused of spying. Kind of looking forward to the experience of staying there. Later, I went back to the first hotel we stayed to collect our bags. This time, the person who drove us back to the first hotel was an army man who was with us the whole trip. When we return to the new hotel along with our luggage, I don't remember seeing him showing his pass or anything. It kept me wondering. I was trying to look for any symbol or plate on his 4WD or anything to indicate or show his authorization to enter the area and I could not. Even his 4WD has no number plate. So I guess I'll be wondering this for the rest of my life.
The biggest regret of the day... we all missed the closing ceremony of the compeitition because of this trip. Today was the last day of the championship and also the day where the closing ceremony were to be held, at night. It's really something that I had not wanted to miss (in an athletes point of view), but I also didn't want to miss travelling around China (in a tourist's point of view). But I guess I can always attend another closing ceremony in my future competitions if I ever were to compete again but to miss the chance of visiting China like that, not a chance.
We were all so tired, we went straight to bed after unpacking our luggages. End of Day 5.