Digitallydo Home > China > Travel > ShiYan

In early February of 2003 we (During the winter break from school) we visited another GABS teacher in his home town of ShiYan in Hubei province. We had planned to visit the famous Yuzhengong Palace, on Wudang Shan (5 Dragons Mountain) but it burned to the ground a week before we arrived.

In any case we had a good visit with our friends, got to meet some of their family, and we got to play in the snow (Big fun for the kids.) We also took a self-guided tour of the mighty "Dong Feng" truck factory.

Workers under the cab of a medium-duty Dong Feng truckYou see "Dong Feng" (East Wind) vehicles all over China. The company focused on military vehicles in the old days, but now produces mainly medium and heavy-duty trucks in all configurations. My Friend Xanadu (who used to work for the company) says that they are the finest trucks made in China. I very much wanted to tour the factory while we were in town. There are actually several "Factories"; a foundry, an engine plant, a transmission plant, and others. but Xanadu arranged for us to walk through the truck assembly plant.Finished trucks roll off the assembly line The factory is a fairly modern assembly line, with componens being added to the frame as the vehicle moves along. The labor seems to be done mostly by hand with the aid of machines. (As opposed to robots doing most of the work.) The self-guided tour is along a catwalk through the factory, and we were able to see two lines (one on either side of the building) making two styles of medium-duty trucks.

We were only in town for a couple of days, but we did get to play in the snow. Outside the Dong Feng truck factory, there is a rather large sculpture of an eagle. Max and Asa had a good time whipping snowballs at each other while Mom and Dad decided to abort our travel plans for a bus trip to WuDan mountain. I spent quite a bit of time in the small gift shop at the factory, but chickened out on buying the model of the classic DF heavy-duty truck. What a wimp. You know, even if it seems silly, there are some things it's worth spending USD $10 for.

snowball fight on a park square Here is a shot of Max and Asa (in the blue and yellow) throwing snowballs with a gaggle of Chinese teenagers.

ShiYan is like most smallish Chinese cities in that there is a mix of old and new architectural styles. We didn't get around as much as we might have liked because of the inclimate weather, but the boys managed to build a snowman in a courtyard outside McDonalds. Resteraunteurs with snowmanThe employees at a neighboring resteraunt were VERY curious, but once they figured out what the boys were up to they came out to help. They even brough out some carrots for facial features.

This was the first snow we'd seen in China, and the boys were anxious to get out and play as much as possible. We asked our host where we could go to play in the snow and he looked at us like we were crazy (Play in the snow?!?), Passers-by on the sidewalkbut recommended the park in front of the main library in the center of town. The snow didn't last long (there wasn't but an inch or two) , and by the time we got down there, the sidewalks had been fully cleared, and the snow on the bushes and grass was pretty slushy. Not much fun. I have a detail of the sidewalk shown here in the "Chinese Sidewalks" section of this web site.



Digitallydo Home > China > Travel > ShiYan