Dinner in Fengjia village   Leave a comment

On our arrival in Jinshuin, we got chatting to a young girl and her brother.  She was studying English and welcomed the opportunity to practice on us.  When we arrived at our hostel we went for a wonder around with our tour guide and we bumped into her again.  She invited us to lunch the following day with her family….all nine of us!

So off we went to her village, about 15 minutes ride out of town.  We were greeted very warmly by Luji’s mum.  And given a guided tour of the village (wow the UK urban planners would have had kittens at the cobbled togetherness of the place) and the adjacent fields where all manner of crops were growing, including lotus flowers, peppers, pomegranates, tomatoes, Chinese yam, potatoes, beans, corn, rice and peanuts.  At various points my imagination was running riot….were we being lead out of the security of town to be kidnapped and held hostage?  See the film Babel for such a scenario or the Amy Tan novel, Saving Fish From Drowning.   As it happened all was well and my worries….ok fears were without substance.  Our meal with the family was amazing.  In China they use every scrap of an animal or vegetable.  Therefore my biggest yuck factor food was presented…..chicken feet…….gross.  Apparently the nails on the feet make great tooth picks.  We also had spicy mushrooms and beans, peppered beef, chicken with veg, runner beans, pork with chillis and roasted peanuts.  All accompanied by rice.  We all took gifts with us, bought the day before.  One of our group was even more prepared.  Kath from Newcastle produced from her bag , I love Newcastle pencils and car sticker and a union flag mug coster.  They loved them.

It was a great experience mixing with a real family in their own home and I’m not entirely sure Jerry (our guide) knew what to do as we were so laid back and willing to interact with them.  One humorous point during the visit was when a few of the boys needed to go to the loo.  Many homes in China have no bathroom facilities.  They had to therefore use the public loo down the road.  They came back traumatised.  The loos were only waist height, roofless, doorless and a trough only in the ground was the means of waste disposal.  All (yes all) the waste just sitting there and not flowing away.  There were flies and maggots and even with the structure being only waist height the smell was overpoweringly rank.  Apparently the ladies weren’t anywhere near as bad.  I’m so glad I didn’t need to go.  I’ve seen some sights in Russian/Chinese bus stations and roadside services (toilet cubicles doors don’t feature heavily in any of them) this may be the worst.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

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Posted 12/09/2011 by Stefan Palmer in China

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