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Ping Yao, a well preserved walled city. How it managed to remain so well preserved is quite interesting. While the rest of the country was undergoing the rapid development during the 60s and 70s, Ping Yao couldn't muster the funds to update any of its infrastructure. Eventually it was so far behind it could make the transformation to old timey tourist trap. Inspirational. I'm forced to wonder if this is a common reason for any historical city?

A few pictures at the top, out of order, that I thought worth commenting on.

Dressing up the monkey makes perfect sense, but green eye shadow. I shudder to think what that monkey is made to do after dark. I also wonder what goes through its handlers head every morning as he wakes up, gets his coffee, and starts applying makeup to his monkey.

Seeing temple after temple (after temple) and palace after palace, it was the staircase in a small watchtower that most impressed me. It is hard to fathom how many years and how many footsteps it takes to wear those stairs down like that.

How offensive would it be back home to dress a guy up like a sterotypical "chinaman' and get your picture taken in a rickshaw?

Donkey cart full of coal...that explains why I can taste the air.

Seriously, cucumber beer?

Nothing compliments an ancient city, like converting its cannon to be air powered bouncy ball launchers. Get it through the hoop, win a prize (crappy prize to be exact). Entertaining and educational.

Stuffed bunnies nailed to a wall by their ears. No idea why, but I suspect there is at least one creepy loner child in the area who doesn't blink enough, giggles too much, and is never left alone with the family pet.

Overnight train rides without air conditioning are cruel and inhumane, especially on the top bunk. And what sadistic fucker puts the fan switch at convenient reach to the bottom bunk which is about ten degrees cooler. It was the most unpleasant battle of wills throughout the night, climbing down the Chinese sized (ie not James sized) bunk bed ladder to turn the fan on every time I woke up in a sweat after they turned it off again. Come on!! You're not even using your blanket, you can't be that cold. I suspect they believed in some Chinese version of "Fan Death" (if you've never been to Korea look it up). Unfortunately, no matter how hard I looked in the English-to-Chinese section of the Lonely Planet I couldn't find "If you turn off the fucking fan one more time I will climb down from this bunk, pry open your mouth and wring my sweat soaked boxers out down your throat!!"