Torrential rain continued throughout the night. The hostel was an old design of rooms off a central square open courtyard, with three floors. We were on the second floor (or first floor in the UK ), perfectly placed to hear the rain drum against the modern plastic corrugated roof and the loud rythmical splats of the drips from the holes in the roof hitting the concrete floor. An upgrade of Chinese water torture. The duvet kept us prisoner for some time.
Food drove us to escape and in damp cold conditions there are many things better than blueberry yoghurt and coconut bread but we couldn’t find them.
Despite the relentless rain we decided to walk back into town. The road was being redeveloped but between the rubble and puddles shopkeepers sold shoes, baskets, steamed buns, shovels and optimistically in this weather, solar panels. We passed a place which had a picture of xiaolongbao and although the shop was, by western standards, filthy, we had to stop for one last taste. The buns were doughy but the flavour of the chinese black vinegar with the addition of corriander was sublime. We also had a steamer of dumplings too.
We pottered around more, trying to enjoy the beautiful, old architecture of Jianshui but the rain became even heavier, so to avoid drowning, we went back to the hostel to listen to the roof drumming. It was a shame because Jianshui is beautiful. If you imagine old Chinese architecture of grey tiled rolling roofs and wooden carved doors along tiny cobbled alleyways, here it is. So much of the China we have seen has been redeveloped or facelifted or repainted but Jianshui was beautifully old and decrepit. I loved it for its honesty.
Food once again meant battling the deluge so we headed straight to a restaurant the hostel recommended to us. We were happily given an English menu and ordered happy duck, spicy fish, peanut and herb soup and broccoli. It was very tasty. The duck had a spicy coating but also came with a spicy bbq sauce which was very, very good.
The fish looked amazing. Count those chillis! We really enjoyed the meal.