Chinese Doors of Ancient Walled Cities.

Doors, shutters, inner courtyards, Menshen or door gods, all these features of ancient Chinese architecture denote security and protection. Once safely inside the inner courtyard of a wooden Tang dynasty house, a sense of calm and peace descends: you feel perfectly secure and removed from the world.Chinese doors make a fascinating study in themselves. The ancient cities of Dali and Lijiang in Yunnan Province and Langzhong in Sichuan Province afford the traveller with an enormous array of wonderful doors to study and photograph.

Many are richly carved an ornate but today I have chosen a few modest examples.

Dinnertime in Langzhong

We were travelling by car around Sichuan province with some friends from Chengdu, China.  Shú song (树松), a dedicated foodie, and Tia, her anglicised name, found the best places to eat at dinnertime.

Ma Po Tofu, Cabbage and chilli, White lotus and Black fungas.
Ma Po Tofu, cabbage and chilli, white lotus and black fungus.

They both took a week off work to accompany us on the road trip of a lifetime, visiting the more remote regions of Sichuan, and travelling through wild and overgrown passes in Éméi shān (Mt Emei ). Towards the end of the journey we stayed in the ancient city of Langzhong, where we shared the most remarkable meals.

River fish hotpot, Sichian style
River fish hot-pot, Sichuan style ( hot)

Shú song would have private chats with the chef at our Tang Dynasty Hotel, or go hunting around the town in search of good river fish, and bring them back to the chef to cook.

More fish in Langzhuong
More fish in Langzhong

Dinner time was always a special occasion in Sichuan with these two friends. It was a little more difficult sourcing a wine to go with the meal. Beer and spirits are readily available throughout China. But things are slowly changing as the Chinese become more interested in wine production.

A quick lie down after dinner
A quick lie down after dinner

Mellow Evening in Langzhong.

Card players of Langzhong meet to relax on a hot evening in summer. The mood is mellow and the pace is slow.

Cad players, Lijiang, Sichuan, China
Card players, Langzhong, Sichuan, China. 2014

Langzhong is situated in the North East of Sichuan Province, China. It is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the area, home to many well restored Tang dynasty houses, cobblestoned lanes and temples. The traffic remains outside the city walls, making street life more appealing for all.

A weekend post, responding to a themed challenge from Ailsa in Ireland, allowing me the indulgence of vicarious travel as I search through my digital files.

Travel theme: World Cups

After an enforced absence from posting due to internet censorship in China, with no access to Google, Gmail or WordPress, I re-visit my blog tentatively, my brain now wonderfully word slow but over stimulated with image and colour.

This week, Ailsa, from Where’s My Backpack, has chosen World Cups as the travel theme. With all the tea in China, beautiful cups are never far from sight.

The cups above graciously decorate a Tea House in Chengdu, Szechuan Province, China. The cups below wait for the return of Mao in a well preserved Tang dynsasty courtyard house in Langzhong, an ancient city in the north of Szechuan. Mao visited this particular courtyard house on the Long March. Mao memorabilia is now quite scarce in capitalistic China.