Henan Province, China: Anyang, Luoyang and Song Shan


On the second part of this Henan trip, I will go up north to Anyang from Kaifeng and then swing to the east towards Puyang, a city that seems to be historically important. Right after that, it’s a long bus ride southwest to Luoyang where I plan to spend the longest stay of my Henan trip this time, a mere two nights. And on the way back to Zhengzhou, Song Shan lies on the way and this is where Shaolin Temple is.

2 October 2009:
The bus from Kaifeng took close to 4 hours to make the 200km to Anyang. Having a GPS at the bus window showed why it took that long. We took the small road, went through small towns where the main activity is to dry corn kernels on the road and just about any bitumen or concrete surface that is available. People should be poor. And the toilet is everywhere, and it seems to be quite obvious even from the bus. All transports here has 3 wheels, motorcycles, cars and tractors. Every active shop has in front of it, again corn drying. Petrol station, the same story. Everywhere corn, and more corn. If you’re not sick of corn, you will be after coming to Henan.

The bus arrived in Anyang at the long distance bus station next to the train station. Anyang looks much more modern and prosperous than Kaifeng by far. Less farm vehicles on the street, and things look a little more orderly. Not too much so, still a little messy as usual. Everything is so modern I don’t expect to see too many ancient relics here.

1908hrs: Walked the back streets of old Anyang after visiting People’s Square earlier on. Its a relatively long walk from the Train Station where I stay. Started off with a 2km walk to People’s Square on Jiefang Dadao passing modern shops on both sides. Switched the film on my Leica M2 to Neopan1600 in anticipation of night shooting. There is just this sliver of sunset light remaining, so the Leica M6 loaded with Kodak Ektar 100 comes along as well. There are not too much on the street that is particularly specific to Anyang. Rather similar to other large cities in China. People’s Square may also be called a park, perhaps it is called so. There are lakes, half moon bridges, etc.

Continue reading “Henan Province, China: Anyang, Luoyang and Song Shan”

Henan Province, China: Zhengzhou, Zhoukou and Kaifeng

Street Performer in Kaifeng
Night Market in Kaifeng

Hanging around in Kaifeng

No phone while driving? Nice one...

National day in China is special. For the party member, this is the 60th such celebration and from what I’ve heard, there will be more fireworks burnt tonight than during the Beijing Olympics and the giant footsteps will make its way to Shanghai, if what I heard is correct. To me it’s quite obvious they will use more fireworks for the 1 Oct celebrations, especially when you consider it will be celebrated country-wide.

Debate aside, along with the midautumn festival, I get to have 6 days off. All of it public holidays.

Now I’ve been fixated on Henan province since early this year when I read about it. Early golden dynastic years of the Chinese empire happened here. Out of the 8 ancient capitals of China, 4 are located here. That would be Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Luoyang and Anyang. After the first emperor set up camp in Xian, the capital quickly moved to Henan (I believe it was Luoyang, but wikipedia will tell you what it was). Of course Longmen grottoes/caves are here. So is the very commercialised Shaolin temple at Song Shan. Better still, my chinese surname, Chen, the top 5 most common chinese surname, originated here in Henan. The article I read indicated it was in Puyang. My search on the web says another town to the east of Henan which I doubt I will visit due to time constraints. More googling says that it began when Chen state was established, and so on, and the town inside Chen State is today Zhoukou, not too far from Zhengzhou and Kaifeng.

Retro province requires retro equipment. Leica M6 and M2 doing the duties for Henan Province along with 15 rolls of film.

So, the masterplan is to fly into Zhengzhou and cover all 4 ancient capitals and their most important sights and cover two thirds of the cities which are the possible origin of my surname. All these in 6 days.

Continue reading “Henan Province, China: Zhengzhou, Zhoukou and Kaifeng”

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