After a morning of exploring the morning market of Xizhou and walking about it was time to return to the Linden Centre for lunch and prepare for our afternoon outing. The food at the Centre was amazing and varied. According to our host, Jeannee it is based on traditional local fare but prepared using healthier methods. The diet in this area is heavy on the vegetables (many unique to China and the area) and often spicy (remember that crazy citron peppercorn? It was often joined with those little killer red chili peppers that I often see in Thai food!). We also enjoyed a variety of proteins including local fish, pork, chicken, beef, cheese and beans. The peanuts here were particularly delicious!
Pictured here: Puff-fried cheese, a local fish dish, a “frittata” dish with peanuts in the center, a chicken dish, steamed/stir-fried vegetable dish, and a pork dish.
The meals are typically served family-style and each platter offered enough for everyone to get a scoop and when combined with the sampling of platters yielded a generous helping and was quite filling. In addition, many meals were accompanied with a soup/broth, almost always enjoyed with tea, and followed ALWAYS with warm water, which is said to aid digestion.
Following this sumptuous lunch we embarked on a horse-drawn cart trip to the “Tongue of the Lake” a peninsular park jutting into beautiful Erhai Lake on its northwestern edge.
On this Sunday afternoon a light rain fell as we made our way through the narrow cobblestone roads of Xizhou and out to the periphery of the lake. The roads were busy with families and tourists making their way out to enjoy an afternoon outing on the banks of the lake, which often made passage through the tiny streets more difficult. The final approach to the lake was a long narrow path bordered by fields of garlic in harvest.Many horse-drawn carts and other small vehicles ferrying visitors to the lake lined the edge of the roadway. Upon our arrival to the park we were greeted by a variety of street vendors selling foods and souvenirs.
It was overcast and cool, but as we walked along the bamboo-lined footpath to the edge of the lake the heavy cloud cover started to break and beautiful rays of sunshine broke through the large banks of billowing clouds over the mountains that cradle the lake.
The lake as I said is a popular recreation destination for locals and tourists and is also popular with photographers taking pictures of clients. While on our visit we saw a couple of bridal shoots, family group photos and plenty of amateur photographers enjoying the views.
While milling around the park I was struck by the curious English translations of the warning signs along the paths and going forward at many of our destinations I started capturing these curious “Chenglish” translations.
Back at the entry to the park we stopped in several little boutique shops featuring local products, including tie-dye, handmade block stamps, and other items.
Manmade or natural the Tongue of the Lake Park was so inspirational and beautiful.