We woke up again this morning to pneumatic drills pounding on the outsides of the walls of our apartment, as the refacing of our building continues, starting at 6:30 every morning. It is so loud that we cannot talk to each other inside, and it has been knocking the grout out from the tiles in our apartment!
On the bright side, the extreme noise drove us out of our apartment early this morning, and we decided to see if we could find the Ancient Papermaking & Printing Village we had heard about in a town about an hour away, called Fuyang. I even learned the characters for the village name:
To get there, we had to take a taxi to the bus station in town, then jump on the 514 to Fuyang. We experienced an hour bus ride where I was nervous because I wasn't sure where we were supposed to get off and I was frantically trying to compare the street signs to the characters above!
The boys on the bus...
Everyone was hungry by that point, so I asked where in their village we could eat. The answer - no where! It was strictly for making paper, apparently, but she said she could call her friend and he could pick us up and take us to his village where we could get some food. Why not? So after a few minutes a van pulled up with a man and this sweet little 6 year old boy inside and told us to jump in.
After a 10 minute ride with this guy and his son, we come to a nice little tourist village with little huts to eat in. This was our lunch spot which was very nice and the food was DEELISH!
Sue and the boys STILL do not like seeing chicken feet in their dish. The chicken meat was really good but they were really turned off.
The boys don't like spinach in China either. Everyone ALWAYS asks them if they can use chopsticks. Now instead of telling the kids to use their silverware she tells them, "Use your chopsticks!"
There were animals around in this village so we took a quick look around and Sophie harassed as many as we would let her.
Many of these animals would probably end up on the menu later on.
After a very inexpensive and delicious lunch the man with the van appeared again and he gave us a ride back to the paper making village.
We took a tour around their little factory which makes paper primarily from bamboo, as it has been done for over 1000 years!
Grinding the bamboo into pulp
Soaking the pulp in big vats...
This man was straining a thin layer of pulp out of the water to make a piece of paper. He can strain out one piece of paper every 10 seconds or so, and there are 20 people there doing the same thing. Yes this is a Sunday and the factory is full of workers.
The next step is the firebox. Nowadays steam is passed behind some steel plates. The paper is squeegeed onto the hot metal plates to dry for a few seconds and a new piece of paper is created!
In ancient times, a fire was raging inside of the brick column to dry the paper quickly, but now steam is used.
Counting the inventory after production is complete!
Next, the boys tried some wood-block stamping on new pieces of paper.
They brought their badminton racquets with them today and played every chance they got!
We returned back to Fuyang to see this huge line waiting for the bus. I'm the white guy waaaayy in back.
We got back on the bus for Hangzhou(杭州) around 3:30pm for the 1 hour ride back home.
This week, Jack's class has military training so he gets to stay home from school. Maybe he can help Sue and I teach our classes again. I'm sure he'll get more marriage proposals!