May 1st is a national holiday in China, so since my dad (who works in Wuhan) had time off from work, we both decided to take advantage of the long weekend by traveling to Guiyang to visit family. I ended up having an awesome weekend full of nature, culture, food, and even (my favorite) animals!
I took the 3 hour plane ride from Shanghai to Guiyang on Friday evening, where I was picked up from the airport by a relative and sent to stay at my grandparents’ house. A couple hours later, Dad also arrived by train from Wuhan.
I woke up very sleepy the next morning because traveling, even a short 3 hour plane ride, is tiring! An uncle came to pick us up in his car. First, we went to eat a local specialty, 花溪牛肉面 (Huaxi Beef Noodles).
Next, we went to the nearby Huaxi park and just walked around.
The park is reaaaally big, and there is a lot of greenery! A nice place to stroll around. Eventually, we met up with some distant relatives. (I mean really distant. My grandparents didn’t even know them lol) And we had a ~Chinese style barbecue party~!!
Basically, the restaurant there in the park supplied the grills, and the people brought their own meats, fish, and veggies to cook. It was a cool experience and the food was yummy! Everyone kept feeding me so I got very full.
After that, we went to Qianyan Old Town. There were some performances by members of ethnic minority groups. I’m not sure if this goes on all the time, or if this was a special event. Anyways, I took some pictures with members of the Miao group and the Buyi group. (Again, my uncle made me. Don’t judge me.)
For those of you who don’t know, there are 56 ethnic groups living in China, but about 90-95% of the population are Han. So, when you think of “Chinese” people, you probably are thinking of Han Chinese people. But there are so many other ethnic groups in China, each with their own history, culture, and often, language. According to Wikipedia (lol), 30% of the population of Guizhou consists of ethnic minorities, making it one of the most diverse Chinese provinces. I’m glad I had a chance to see each group’s traditional clothing and dance performances!
Qianyan Old Town is kind of like any other old town, with streets lined with souvenir shops, snack stalls, and restaurants. It was SO crowded, but I guess I went during the 5/1 national holiday, so it was probably more crowded than usual.
Next, I was taken to a dinner at this really cool (and huge) Miao restaurant. All of the servers are dressed in traditional Miao clothing, although I doubt any of them are actually Miao lol…. I think they just work there.
This is a huge, hotel-sized restaurant with many floors and many rooms. Our huge party was split between 2 rooms on the 6th floor. However, when I went into the elevator, I found out that the floor was actually the 4th floor. They skipped the 4th floor when designating floors, because 4 is considered an unlucky number in Chinese (the word for four, 四, sounds similar to the word for death, 死). On the ground floor, there is a huge banquet area where performances are held.
This dinner at this Miao restaurant was one of my favorite meals in China, because every single dish was interesting!
I was sitting at a separate table from my dad. I tried one of these omelette pieces. It was pretty tasty, nothing special, right? Then, my dad comes over. “Look, Qiu! There are ANTS in this!!!”
I looked closer and sure enough, there were ants embedded into the egg!
Luckily I am the kind of person that will pretty much eat anything (as long as it’s cooked), so this did not disgust me. In fact, I picked up a few more pieces to see if I could taste the ants. I could not. Upon further analysis, I feel like baking ants into the batter isn’t really of value. You can’t even taste it, and I doubt ants offer much nutritional value, although I could be wrong. And you have to go to all that trouble to find ants. So if this is a traditional dish, I wonder how it came about. But, I will say, the addition of ants makes this dish extremely interesting! 😀
After our meal, I headed down to the main hall to watch the performance, which was awesome! There was dancing, singing, and more. I even got to try smashing the 粑粑 which is kind of like mochi.
My weekend in Guiyang was off to a great start. Read my next post to find out what I did the subsequent days 🙂