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It was noticeably warmer today and after breakfast we decided to explore the city outside the city wall and walked to the West gate, enjoying the warm weather. Outside the West gate is Pingyao's commercial centre - with a few banks and a couple of department stores - both with lots of shoe shops, where we were looking for shoes for Daji, but as usual primarily found shoes for Yanmei - they are both at that age where they thing Children's shoes are childish, but you can't get adult shoes in the size they need.

Three girls wanting to practice their English helped up find and negotiate the price of a pair of boots for Yanmei - they were very helpful, very interested and very difficult to get rid of again - but they managed to practice some English.

We found a large supermarket and bought a few provisions, found some cheap clothes for Yanmei and a Tupperware outlet (where Lene bought a few things time will tell whether Chinese Tupperware is just as robust as it is back in DK). The city had very little to offer and after an hour or so we made our way back to walled part of the city which was now even more packed with Chinese tourists. We stopped at a bar for a drink. Steven ordered coffee, which turned out to be Nescafe with sugar added. Daji ordered apple juice, but the girl must have misunderstood and it ended up as a bottle of rice wine - the smell was enough to give you a hangover - luckily Daji didn't get around to tasting it.

We walked back to the hotel, buying a silk embroidery and Mao shoes - made of leather (it seemed a good idea at the time, but I'm not sure we'll ever use them. At the hotel we sat out in one of the courtyards and enjoyed the sun, played cards and Yanmei and Daji timed themselves running back and forth through the many alleyways at the hotel.

Whilst Lene and children played cards and rested, Steven went out and took some pictures of life on the streets - which can be seen on today's and tomorrow's pages. In the evening we decided to eat at the hotel, not wanting a repeat experience of the previous evening and anyway, the food was good and service excellent and it was fairly warm - it is a pity we always get Great Wall wine - which was really awful.

After the meal we took a walk to experience Pingyao nightlife. If anything the streets were even more packed in the evening - Saturday being the start of a long weekend probably impacted the number of visitors. Not surprisingly, Pingyao by night was just a lit up version of Pingyao by day lots of people trying to sell you stuff you dont want or need, and when you find something useful, its probably a fake anyway! We bought a local cake, a fluffy floured cake, that was very dry in the mouth. Back at the hotel we took a coffee and during and again played Uno and were in bed fairly early.


NEXT DAY (5th)