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Kaiping Day 2

TUESDAY’S hours slipped by as we prepared to depart our hotel and head over to Chikkan but we got out and headed over to the post office to mail off the post cards we wrote to friends and family. After that, we boarded a bus for Chikkan.

In the library near "movie city, and Katherine in the streets of Chikkan.

Allow me to explain what it is about Kaiping that we came to see. Way back when in the 1920’s, a number of Chinese returned from America flush with cash. Rich people naturally seek to remain rich and one way to do this is to prevent bandits from helping themselves to your hard earned dough. These returnees and other traders built tall towers of reinforced concrete and iron shutters to protect themselves at night. Some were single family  homes and some were built by several families.  Most of these towers are not open to the public, being too old, and some are still used by the locals to this day. But a few are open.

Chickens roam the street of Chikkan.

We did some research on the net and found that Chikkan is really close to a bunch of these towers. Chikkan is a blast out of the 30’s. All of the buildings are really old and are just as run down as Kaiping. Something like 10 or 15 years ago, the locals were ripping down their towers left and right before somebody realized they could make a buck or two off of tourists. In 2001, many of the towers were added to a cultural heritage list. But it still seems that the government hasn’t poured that much cash into the area for facelifts. I like it this way though.

After taking this photo, the fisherman became very unhappy.

This man rowed his boat all the way over to the shore to yell at me.

We spent most of the day wandering around Chikkan. One of the things you could see was “movie town” which is a part of Chikkan that has been used in films as a period backdrop for quite a few movies. Of course, it was being used for a film today as well so we were not welcome to see this part of town. (but we could always pick up a few pirated DVD’s and see the films they shot in Chikkan!)

Note the abacus and the pile of cigs in the library.

Susan in the kitchen of an old shop.

Susan in front of a very old ad for face cream.

In the end we didn’t really see many of these towers up close (they are scatted all over the place) but we did have some fun. We headed back to Kaiping to find a new hotel for the night.

In keeping with the shoe theme from the day before. . . .

 

In a field in Chikkan

Sun sets over some of the taller buildings in Kaiping.

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