ugly man Most of the day was to be spend driving from Taiyuan  to Pingyao and visiting sites along the way. Mostly a clear day but despite the air conditioning the car was uncomfortably hot.

First the Jinci Temple, set in splendid grounds there is a huge amount of work going on to extend the gardens. We saw the oldest bridge in China, (read, a new bridge more or less in the style of the oldest bridge which used to stand here but probably wasn't made of concrete), a 3,000 year old tree (LP says 1,000, you choose) and a splendid old pavilion. David's pretty good but does tend to draw it out a little.

A better lunch than yesterday at a large complex with fish in tanks, indoor fountains and streams and Heaven knows what else catering to locals.

The Qiao family courtyard house is an ornate residence  with six courtyards or houses with actually quite a few more courtyards than six. Pretty interesting but a bit hot. Luckily it was not too crowded.

Best visit of the day for me was the Shuanglin temple, a 1,500 year old World Heritage site with thousands of painted statues. Again not crowded at all which was just as well, I rather think we did not do it justice.

happy Somewhat hot and fed up of the car we arrived at the Pingyao International Financier Club, (yes, that's the name) a hotel in the traditional Chinese style with a traditional Chinese double bed complete with desk! With this go a number of limitations like the shower is quirky and our bags occupy most of the floor, but its still well near the top of the list.


After a browse of the internet (provided free of charge and fast too) a drink in the bar, (no sav blanc, indeed only bottles of wine, both flavours though, red and white) we took a brief walk in what seems to be a replica of how the town might once have been.  I rather expect that the locals did not previously sell tourist tat or rent bikes to each other, so that must be a more recent innovation. That said it's very picturesque.

David collected us and took us over the way for dinner. We asked him to join us and had an excellent meal and a very informative conversation. Do try the Pingyao beef, it's terrific but the local wine is some kind of undrinkable spirit, avoid, really. We had just finished and it started to rain so we decamped inside and shared a table with a couple of French ladies. David remarked to them that Mary had a tendency to ask weird questions, I'd have to agree.

The only faux pas of the evening came when An apparently impromptu band came down the road. On it's return we went outside to clap and take photos, turned out this was a funeral procession! David apologised for misleading us but we felt rather bad...... but concluded the evening in grand style.

our room