Day 14: Hefei through Marty's eyes

Well a big hello from us here in Hefei, as we enjoy another day in this fast-moving city of almost 5 million people. The concert at the University that we were supposed to do today got cancelled, so we have been enjoying some downtime after a few hectic and action packed weeks leading up to our departure for China, and we have been shown the sights and some of the best restaurants by our lovely tour manager, Tina. Today we headed out into the old part of Hefei, stopping off to have lunch at a funky restaurant that seemed to serve every type of fruit juice imagineable (none of us got around to trying the corn juice).

We have been eating like kings and today's lunch was no exception. We have slowly become accustomed to the very large food portions here in China, yet none of us are willing to take the leap-of-faith into what I consider a culinary no-go - animal extremities. As part of today's delicious feast, we got to enjoy a rich and tasty roast chicken soup, with head and feet included. Tina, our ever patient guide, then began to discect the chicken's head making sure that all us got to try some of this delicacy. It wasn't until she removed the brain and beak, that we politely declined her generous offer, and suggested the flavour would be lost on us non-chicken head eaters.


And here's a lotus root salad and green bean soup...

From there we then headed off into a large pedestrians-only shopping street, which was already heavily populated with shoppers and people selling their wares. This street provided us weary pedestrians, with much needed respite from the ever present danger that is trying to cross a Chinese road. The bliss of having an hour knowing that you're safe from madly honking motorcyclists, or swerving taxis, or from angry old women on silent, fast moving motorbikes, was a welcome relief.

We visited the Temple of Luzhoufou and got to learn about this remarkable man, who had a significant impact on China during the last years of the Qing dynasty.

Most of this temple has been perfectly preserved and with some thorough explaination from our guide Tina, it made the whole experience incredibly interesting and offered a valuble insight into how people must have lived back in the late 1800s.

After the temple, we explored the shops in the city centre...

Here are a few shots of some funny English translations we found!

As we were heading back, Ben and Emma were approached by a local news team, who were working on a story to do with Thanksgiving in America. Although Ben and Emma both tried to explain that we don't celebrate this holiday in Australia, a crowd of almost 60 people had gathered and were waiting with baited-breath for their response. Below is a picture of the two most famous non-Americans in Hefei.

After the media circus had died down, we headed quickly back to the hotel and were promptly picked up for our next dinner engagment. After our lunch yesterday with many prominent members of the local government, we were invited to have Chinese hot pot with Mrs Xi, the wife of the head of the Hefei Theatre. Mrs Xi had invited a few of her close friends, including a friend who lived and studied in Australia for over 12 years. With the meal came a beautiful bottle of Red which perfectly complemented the fantastic food and company.

When we got back to the hotel, we were able to confirm travel plans for tomorrow's exciting adventure to a historic Chinese villiage.