Jiajia and I traveled into the countryside today to a small village called Tuanshan (pron: twarn sharn). It was once the thriving centre of a family made rich through the tin trade. The elegant courtyards, houses and theatre have given Tuanshan "World Heritage" status as well as being on the list of the 100 most endangered such sites. The nice thing about the place is that, although there were a smattering of tourists around, it is still very much a lived-in village. Some houses had little shops selling curios, another had turned their courtyard into a small restaurant, but generally life was unaffected by the trickle of camera-wielding outsiders. We were even invited into a couple of houses for a sit-down and chat, with no ulterior motive other than to show hospitality and stare at the foreigner close-up.
On the way back from Tuanshan, we stopped off at this magnificent bridge - one of only two such "17-arch" bridges in China (the other one being in Beijing)
Looking quite a bit older than it's actual 200 years, Jiajia and I were a bit perplexed as to why it had been built there. The central tower was apparently to guard the bridge from unofficial crossings, but it spans more of a small lake than a river. We walked back around the outside of the "lake" in under ten minutes. So why the need for an enormous bridge? It did seem a bit overkill!
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