Actually I wasn’t interested in Huaihua, it was just too late to continue. My destination was Fenghuang, and today I took a bus there. It’s only 40km as the crane flies, but takes two and a half hours because the road is almost never straight and goes through one gut-wrenching curve or switchback to the next.

I had been unable to reserve a hotel because the two numbers given by the Lonely Planet did not reach someone who speaks any English. So I just walked around in Fenghuang until I find a hotel I like, and check in. Of course, no English at the reception, but they have an Internet PC and we discuss the rooms using the Yahoo translator. Cool. They also have a talking calculator that chirped a cheery comment in Chinese on every key press. The Flowers Procumbens Hotel – who comes up with these names? – is modern, very uncharacteristically stylish for China, and generally pleasant.

Fenghuang is a beautiful old town on both sides of a river. The waterfront with its old but renovated wooden houses is exceedingly scenic in the evening sun. I really love the place and will stay here for a few days. There are tourists but not many, although I bet that it’s completely packed during holiday seasons. They are all Chinese, again no Westeners in evidence today. I am standing out so much that Chinese tourists ask me if they can take pictures of me.

It took a while to find a restaurant because of the language barrier. In the first I asked for a chicken dish by pointing at a huge chicken in a coop outside, and all seemed fine, until the cook grabbed the chicken and carried it to the kitchen before I could stop the impending massacre… The strategy works at another place, and I get my chicken. Preparation is easy: they simply chop it into rectangular pieces, bones at all, and fry it in a wok; I wolf it down with chopsticks except the head and the feet, couldn’t find any meat on those.

This Internet Cafe in Fenghuang has well-maintained Windows PCs that don’t put a virus on my flash card, and I type this into and not into a Google search box before cut-and-pasting it into a mailer with a maximum lifetime of 30 seconds between crashes. Even picture uploads work without sending IE south, so I added a few to previous posts.

2 Replies to “”

  1. Chicken feet are a delicacy Thomas…

    The story is really funny!

  2. A friend of mind had an application on the iPhone which speaks load the translation. It is unfortunate that you didn’t bring the iPhone with you!

    It looks like your eating really fresh food, was it bio ? 🙂

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