Today our kids were thinking of their friends at home going back to school. At lunch, Sophie got her first lesson in never eating the little red pepper. Ever.
We were on our way to the ancient village of Cuandixia, about two hours west of Beijing. We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall that our guide knew well, and ordered a few plates of food including a spicy dish with chicken and peanuts.
“Mmmmm…. peanuts!” thought Sophie as she shovelled a few mouthfuls in before I could warn her about the peppers. Poor girl had tears running out of her eyes while downing coke and half a pot of tea. When we finally reached Cuandixia 45 minutes after leaving the restaurant, she whispered that her tongue was still tingling!
Cuandixia is a quaint little village more than 500 years old with well-preserved courtyards dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties. It lies in a valley of green-covered mountains, and the buildings are covered in stone and woodcarvings, paintings and calligraphy.
We were the only tourists there, but the place was busy with over 400 art students taking a university prep course to beef up their portfolios for admission into art school. Kids were painting and drawing everywhere, and the photo mobbing of the girls continued.
Before going home, we hiked up the side of the mountain to get a good view of the village. As we neared the top, a truck came by playing the Happy Birthday song. Thinking it was an ice cream truck, we found out it was actually a garbage truck that alerts residents to bring their garbage to the curb with the music!