Da Peng

We found a parking place!
Yesterday we were at Da Peng fortress (well, really it is a sort of fortified town, so I suppose that it is the Chinese equivalent of Veliko Tarnovo). Bill and Julia very kindly took us there in their car. Normally it takes about an hour to drive there, but yesterday was a Chinese Public Holiday, so it took us three hours to get there. Finally finding a place to park was a cause for celebration. Then it was another four hours to get back to Shenzhen.

Cockles and mussels alive alive-o!
Unlike the ultramodern SZ, the historic Da Peng fortress is hundreds (if not thousands) of years old, with some impressive ancient fortified gateways and crenelated old walls. It is a massive tourist trap, with every conceivable piece of tat for sale to the endless throngs that fill up the narrow streets. There are innumerable restaurants, cafes, bars and street food sellers. As Da Peng is a seaside town, Molly Malone would have been impressed with the buckets and basins full of fresh (and very much alive alive-o) seafood of every description. The crabs and the lobsters had their claws tied together, to prevent injuries.

The Beefeaters at the Tower of London do wear the authentic uniform, dating from Tudor times. At Da Peng, the silly “golden guards” at the entrance set the tone of fake historicity and tourist bling. Once inside, the fortified town mostly consists of some nondescript old buildings, probably from the 19th century and painted a whiteish sort of grey, with lots of black mouldy bits on the walls. A few of the more impressive ones seem to have been the home of a general or two. Most of the “restored” bits of Da Peng appear to have been completely rebuilt, so I think that there is almost nothing left of the original fortified town.

Fans of the old BBC series Around the World in 80 Days will remember that Michael Palin brought back a Chinese roof tile as one of his “proofs of travel”. While I was in Da Peng, I also found my very own ancient Chinese roofing tile! I felt like Richard Leakey with the cranium of the very first homo erectus. This great treasure and priceless antiquity from the Middle Kingdom has been scrubbed with washing up liquid and it will be brought back in triumph to Bulgaria. 

On 8th June the school is supposed to be paying me everything I am owed: my salaries for the summer, as well as my gratuity. (Gratuities are a rather nice little tradition in international schools. Here in China, your gratuity is a month’s salary for each year, so it really is worth having.) Well, in theory we should be able to do a bank transfer for nearly all of your cash, so we will not have to carry a lot of money onto the plane. Maybe this time I will take my copy of Anna Karenina to my branch of the China Merchant Bank.

www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com has now hit more than 10,000 “hits”. I suppose that is pretty good when you remember that I only started this blog in October. The bad news is that almost no one leaves a comment or writes any sort of reply. If you are reading this, I would like to hear from you!


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