2013年12月28日 星期六

Christmas Tour 3 Ku Lo Village, Hok Shan and Siu Kong, San Hui (聖誕之旅 3: 鶴山古勞水鄉. 新會小岡)


It's another two hours before we got back to our hotel. By the time we arrived, there nothing but thunders in my stomache.. 

Roast goose fired with "Lai Chee firewood"

 All smoke and dripping goose fat

The fire leaping up the dripping grease

 They've now got mechanized turning during the roasting process under one of these clay bell-top covers

 The "lai chee" firewood

There it i, ready to serve. According to the master BBQ chef, it'll take about an hour to finish one goose per stove

 "May I ask what's that you're frying, Miss? "

"Oh, it's chicken samosa!'"
"What's that?"  
"It's one of our local specialities"
"What's that made of?'
"Oh....it's difficult to tell. Would you like to have one? Try it."

"Oh, you're so kind. ....um, simply delicious. Thank you so much." 
"My pleasure."
We got up early the following morning to film the faded lotus flower at a pond outside our our hotel

And found some faded ginger flower

another faded flower

Just a few faded flowers. More stalks than flowers.

 More like abstract paintings

More paintings

More of the same

and lonely reflections

 in our lake side hotel

After breakfast, we were on our way again to Ku Lo Village (古勞水鄉) ,north east of Hok Shan County (鶴山縣). It owes its origin to two clans, the Ku's and the Lo's, who fled her to avoid political persecution in 1274. The greater part of the population in this village still bear these two surnames but the town they founded, Ku Lo Town, now has a population of some 27,000, living on paper production, printing, electronics, cosmetics and shoe manufacture by relying on its connections with its overseas Chinese descendants. The village and its environs has a coastline stretching some 9 km. It's a part of the river Sijiang. Also called "圍墩水鄉"  (meaning "water country with enclosed embankments") and including 昇平、雙橋、新星、坡山, it has been dubbed the "Venice of South China" and its fish ponds and lakes support the livelihood of some 15,000 locals. Ku Lo is famous for it "bean paste" (古勞面豉) and its "silver needle" green tea.(古勞銀針」綠茶). The area is formed by deltas from the silt carried downstream by the Sijiang and to prevent flooding the locals started building embankments during the Ming Dynasty and to reinforce the strength of such embankments, they planted sugar cane, bananas and other crops. Traditionally, big embankments are called "Wai"'s (「圍」) and smaller earth mounds are called "Wai Tun" s(圍墩). In the past, whenever there are heavy rainfalls, some of the embankments would burst but in the last few years, the levels of the embankments have been raised so that they can now withstand floods occurring once every 50 years. The local now live on fish farming producing such fish as 青魚、 草魚、 鰱魚、 鱅魚,  桂花魚、鱸魚、鱉魚、基圍蝦、美國蛙 etc. Some of them also raise ducks. Every year during the Dragon Boat Festival, there'll be a dragon boat festival and the teams from different Wai's will compete against each other to the deafening din of drums,gongs and firecrackers!

A village maiden carrying some vegetables across a wooden plank bridge to the car park

The "melon skin boats" used for local transport through the web of waterways criss-crossing the "water country".  

According to this introduction of the area, the 500 acre  nature reserve area of Wang Hoi Long (橫海浪) close by is home to thousands of white storks and has produced a famous general Chan Hoi (陳開), leader of the Tai Ping Rebellion during the Tsing dynasty, a Wing Chun Kung Fu Master Leung Chan ( 梁贊) and the king of Chinese herbal tea Wong Lo Kut (王老吉) and a renowned Chinese actress Wu Dip (胡蝶)

This is where we boarded our boats for a tour of the water country.

Bamboos on both sides of the river

A fish culture enclosure close to the bank

it's a clever device: just different lengths of bamboo poles in different combinations

The larger ones are enclosed with plastic nets

A typical fish culture enclosure

banana trees along the embankment

To strengthen the embankments and help retard soil erosion, trees are planted on them

A boat moored to one side of the embankment

one of the small islands in the lake

An oarsman rowing 3 of our tour members

Our oarsman. He told us we should have come during summer, when the lake is full of thousands of lotus flowers.

The oarsman rows standing up

The "water gate"

Another boat going past the "water gate"

The return journey

Two boats with its oars

Fish nets left to dry

Some of the fish ponds

Another such fish pond

We were taken to a pond close to an ancestral hall of the Lee clan where we are supposed to find some faded lotus flowers. 

The entrance to the Lee Clan's ancestral hall there

a riverlet close by

some broken lotus stalks 


 The trapped sun


Finally we were taken to Siu Kong (Small Hill) (小崗) of San Hui County to see how joss sticks are made. According to our local guide 2/3rd of all joss sticks for export to South East Asia and Taiwan are made here. There must have been 20 or 30 such workshops in the area

Some ring-shape joss sticks: they let them dry over a vegetable patch!

Some conical shaped joss sticks

 Some giant joss sticks with carved characters: "Good Business"

Giant joss sticks with characters "safety for the whole family"

A girl painting the side of the joss stick with gold paints

The workshops are very primitive

bundles of joss sticks ready to be transported

 joss sticks stacked up like so many terra cotta soldiers ready for service !

The joss sticks and their shadows

this is how they stack up bundles of joss sticks 

a master joss stick maker at work

He would take a bundle of sticks all glued and hit them over the joss stick powders on a work bench, lift them up and swing them down again to get a second layer of joss stick powder, shake them over the small board a little distance away from the work bench to shake off the excess joss stick powder

And then bring them to the other side of the room where he would bundle them together

The master swinging a bundle of empty sticks after the first layer of powder

Then the joss sticks are brought out to the courtyard to dry

They are laid down on racks according to length

This is the joss stick making area we went to

Our final stop was a palm fan making exhibition hall

 This is its formal name

The parts of a palm

First they pick up a dry palm leaf and dry them in the sun

then they cut it to the required size

the next step is to shape them with a machine

Then they dry it over a pan

They sew the edges 

Then the master painter will burn the relevant pictures and characters on to the surface of the fan with a heater pen

skilled worker sewing the edges
 a master burning a painting on to the palm fan

Two of his finished products

This is an intricate picture burned on to the surface of a fan

This one has different pictures on each side

 a palm leaf hat

 a palace lantern made with palm leaves

The garden outside the exhibition hall

leaves over fern

more leaves over fern

A palm shape decoration in the garden

A farewell to Guangdong from the palms in the garden