Today we joined my coworker, Patrick Ding, on a day trip to some sights near the city of Fuyang. Our first stop was the Jiuxiao Biyun Cave. It was a good thing we had Patrick to translate, and Patrick's college buddy, a Fuyang native, to guide us on the 5 different buses it took to get there. I suppose if we had just hired a cab from downtown Fuyang (after the first 2 buses), we would've been able to get there, but it would've cost a few more kuai (Yuan). The cave, discovered in 1980, claims to be the largest single cave room in the Asia-Pacific region, and I believe it. It's by far the biggest cave I've visited. The path around the perimeter of the dome-shaped room is 1.5 km (about 1 mile), and it has several massive columns and many other interesting formations.
After lunch, we motored on to Longmen (Dragon Gate) town, which contains architecture and history from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The old town is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, and a guide is must so you don't get lost. Again, our trusty translator Patrick saved the day since the guide didn't speak any English. More than 90% of the people here share the same family name - Sun - and are decendants of the Wu emperor Sun Quan. It seems that a large percentage are also involved in the business of stringing badmitton racquets (usually translated as badminton in China) - people all over the town were busy working on these, and Patrick tells us the local racquets are famous in China.