This morning I did not need to have an early start. We are heading out to a Yin Yang village, which is out of town. Juliet told me about it the other day, and it looks very interesting. I had invited Melrose to join us, so it will be a great day out.
Juliet is going to meet us at the front gate of the college at 1pm. Melrose came over at about noon, and we went over the road to the little Wallace restaurant, which is a like a local, small version of KFC. Much cheaper and just as nice in fact.
When we met Juliet, we went around the corner to catch a #8m bus over the river to Gaoyao. Not far through Gaoyao we got off the bus, to wait for another one, which would take about 40 minutes out of town. Where we stopped was outside an art gallery, which looks like it would warrant a look around some time. A very elegant and imposing building, with huge gardens around it.
The #315 bus arrived and it cost us 7rmb to get to where we needed to be.
Juliet had done a fair bit of research, so she could describe the place to us, and fill us in on the history, and in English of course.
The village is around 800 years old, and nowadays there is only one family living there. But at special times of the year, descendants of the original residents all return to pay their respects to their ancestors.
It is built in a circle, with each round of houses slightly smaller, until you reach the centre, where there is a yinyang symbol, and the old astrology symbolism all around. It is said that if you walk around and around the centre, you will bring yourself good fortune, and the degree only depends on how long you are prepared to put into your effort of walking around. We did quite a few circuits!
It was so fascinating being able to experience this ancient village, and look into the old houses. Some old furniture and equipment is still laying around, but mostly they are now empty.
The bricks have aged exquisitely too. so many shades of grey and beige, and so much lichen and moss. And little tiny ferns growing in cracks. But then there are huge taro plants too, which seem to want to take over.
We had a wonderful time wandering about. The old ladies we met were more than happy for photos, and I am so grateful that we had Juliet with us, because at least it meant we could actually communicate with them. The three of them were 93, 91 and 'over' 80 respectively. Possibly the last one does not even know her exact age. It would not be unexpected.
At the centre of the village is a Yin Yang symbol set into the floor in tiles, along with the 8-sided figure, which is instrumental in Chinese astrology. I can't remember exactly the meaning, but it was clear as Juliet was telling me.
Around the outer rim of the village, there are twelve trees planted, one to represent each of the animals in the Chinese astrology beliefs. Very deep and meaningful place, that presents many of the traditional Buddhist beliefs.
It is interesting to see how little space each family had for their home, and how close the houses are to each other. No such thing as personal space back then. Precious little now, but then even more so!
We could have spent hours more there, but we had to make a move back to get a bus back to Gaoyao, and luckily we did not have long to wait. And then when we got off the bus, the #8 was not too far away either. Melrose and I got that one, and Juliet got a different one that was going to take her closer to her home.
I got off the bus in Duanzhou Lu, to go and meet Peter on my way home, to see where he lived, and to see if I am prepared to stay there while he goes back to Australia, and take care of his little dog Hugo.
After sitting over a couple of coffees, it was great to head for home, stopping in at KFC on the way past, and then getting a bus back to the medical college. Dinner was somewhat late, but it was good all the same!!