The International Steam Pages

Shibanxi Holiday 2009 - First Impressions

Click here for the main Shibanxi Holiday 2009 page.
We were 'bumped' or rather 'upgraded' at the Tian Ya as the previous visitors (a group of local government officers on a working visit) had stayed a little longer than expected and we were offered the use of an adjacent small family flat earmarked for future development. It needed a little spring cleaning but within a day we were immovably established. "Location, location, location" and these were respectively the morning and afternoon views from its terrace, unfortunately the roof did leak a bit when it inevitably rained after 5 days of near unbroken sunshine:

We passed on both the first passenger and coal trains in favour of a lie in and a proper breakfast and then started to amble up the valley - this was a holiday after all. The next empty coal train caught the only cloud of the day but that soon cleared and the chickens were unphased by their moment of glory. 

Next up was the second passenger train, with a tourist coach of course, these days just four or five original coaches are all that is needed:

Coming back it was easy to eliminate the tourist coach:

This is the finished reconstruction of the Huangcun coal winder for the new museum, much better than I feared:

And this is the recently revealed north wall of the original mine offices, simply a Mao era 'masterpiece'.

We filmed the third and last coal train of the day and then the third passenger train. By the time the latter came, I was too 'mellow' to operate anything more than the video. This is the 'new' Huangcun with the small operating pit behind, in contrast with the Mao slogan's the red banner exhorts today's more relevant proposition of gender equality for children.

As my friend Ameling would say, 'splendid' is the most appropriate word that springs to mind.

Rob Dickinson