China Fenghuang

Fenghuang: "The Siege"


Hunan Province


July 1, 2010

Dear Fellow Tourists and Travelers,

Here's what the guidebook says about Fenghuang Ancient City, a popular tourist destination:

"In a round-the-clock siege from domestic tourists - the Taiping Rebellion of the modern age - this riveting town of ancient city walls, disintegrating towers, rickety houses on stilts overlooking the river and hoary temples can easily fill a couple of days.  Home to a lively population of the Miao and Tujia minorities, Fenghuang's architectural legacy shows distressing signs of neglect, so get to see it before it crumbles away under a combined onslaught of disrepair and overdevelopment aimed at luring marauding tour groups." *

Do you see what I have to put up with here?  I must tolerate "distress," "disintegrating," "rickety,"  "disrepair," and "overdevelopment."  Then I must navigate "siege," and "marauding tour groups."  And finally, I have to endure such guide-book prose, opaque and contradictory, that my head is throbbing!  Will this place be "riveting" or "crumbling"?  And what, in the name of all that's holy, is a "hoary temple"?