We checked into our hotel in Hukou a short while ago. The ride was actually around 6-7 hours instead of 4. We traveled through hilly farmland.
On the way, we stopped at two sites. The first was the tomb of the Yellow Emperor. According to legend, all Chinese are descendants of the Yellow Emperor. His tomb was basically a mound with grass growing on it, on the top of a hill. It took a bit of climbing to get to.
The next site was a temple. The most interesting thing there was a cedar tree that was supposedly planted by the Yellow Emperor. Its base is so wide that it takes seven people, spreading their arms, to go around it.
Our hotel is very close to the Yellow River (Huang He 黃河). We will go out there tomorrow. Right now we’re just waiting for dinner.
The hotel is not nearly as bad as I’d feared. Last time the LSU group came, rooms were riddled with what looked like bullet holes, they said. Our room is quite spacious – the biggest we’ve had so far (it actually has a large living room too). Although old, it is not as bad as Kashgar’s.
I went out to the river after dinner. It runs right in front of our hotel. There is a multi-year drought currently in progress, so the river was very low – at least 50-100 feet lower than its peak. The exposed rockbed has unusual patterns due to the weathering by water. There are many waterbugs in the puddles; they eat mosquito larvae.
The river here flows so fast that the locals say if you fall in, you will die.
Tomorrow we’re going to see more of the river and a waterfall. We’re to stay there for about 1½ hours before heading back to Xi’an. I hope it’s worth the long bus ride.
Hukou is in Shanxi (山西) Province, just across the border from Shaanxi (陜西) Province, where Xi’an is located. They are pronounced exactly the same except for the tones. (Note that the characters are very different, as you can see if you have Chinese fonts installed.)
This morning we went to an area of the Yellow River popular with tourists. (There weren’t that many there, though.) The river here is truly powerful. There was a great waterfall that churned the water from brown to white, with a roar. The mist created a large and pretty rainbow. No one fell in.
Pictures of the Yellow River
Then the long bus ride back to Xi’an. We stopped along the way at the tomb of a guy who was a medicine man during the Tang dynasty who was said to have lived 141 years. We also stopped at a peasant’s village. The houses reminded me of college dorms: one room.
For dinner we had a local specialty of mutton soup with bread. It was delicious. Some of the group is getting tired of these extravagant feasts for every single meal, however.
Tomorrow will likely be our last night with Win(ston), who is going to study at the Xi’an School of Fine Art, and our hosts Wan Ding and Mr. Fan. We are supposed to have a surprise for dinner. [I’m not sure what it was.]