20 March 2018
“Where’s Kaifeng?” is the first question people ask when you tell them you had a holiday in China.
“Nobody goes to Kaifeng” I reply, unless you are a history buff.
So why am I there ? I barely had an education and definitely no history papers. I can’t read Chinese and barely speak Cantonese. From a chinese local point of view I’m definitely intellecually handicaped!
Well blame the BBC. I bought the DVD “The Story of China“ by Michael Wood. It is a facinating documentary which I would recommend for anyone with an interest in the Middle Kingdom.
Kaifeng was the capital during the Northern Song dynasty, 10-12 century AD. Michael Wood was in Kaifeng talking about the history of the Song Dynasty. I use to enjoy the history of the Tang dynasty (which I discovered in Xian 33 years ago) as China was very liberal at that time But the Song dynasty was even more liberal with less restrictions than the Tang dynasty. Apparently the Emperor was benevolent and progressive. The people of China now have a renewed interest in this era and Kaifeng does receive a lot of local tourists probably looking back with envy how things once were. Hence the existence of many cultural parks and re-enactment scenes including a fantastic night show.
Anyway, I have a reputation for wandering eyes and watching Michael Wood was no exception. Instead of watching him I was looking at the background scenery and the people there. It looked really interesting and the natives looked very friendly.
So I made up my mind to go and got my wife Sally to enquire on whether they have any tours from Hong Kong. The usual answer- nobody goes to Kaifeng.
“What about the Great Wall instead?- I just added that in for dramatic effect.
So courtesy of Internet and Booking.com we made our own way there for 5 nights. We asked our travelling friends and relatives in Hong Kong whether they would like to join us. The usual response. “where is Kaifeng? and “nobody goes to Kaifeng”.
Our stay was wonderful . Our hotel The Kaifeng Pullman was the best hotel I have ever stayed in China and reasonably priced by overseas standards. The food was wonderful and the locals very friendly. It was nice to experience the real China and not just the tourist spots. From a photography point of view there was nothing really dramatic like the Rice Terraces of Yuanyan or Yellow Mountain. So when getting back to NZ I was in no hurry to process the photos as nothing really “grabbed” me. But with superhuman perserverance over a long period of time I managed to scrape something together. Now you have heard of and seen Kaifeng.