After the mountain climbing in Huang Shan Chris spotted a new destination for us on the map of China. Hakka villages with special tulou houses in South East China. So we took some adventurous train and bus rides to arrive to the middle of nowhere village of Liulian (I bet you wont find it on the map). The village is famous of the constructions by Hakka people, they built huge so-called tulou houses, where they could fit few hundred people. This tradition came from the era of the clans, where clans were living in close communities.
In order to protect themselves from the bandits and wild animals the clans built these round or rectangular or oval shaped buildings, which walls were made of bamboo sticks, glutinous rice and some wood chips. The bedrooms were located on the 3rd or 4th floor, as they did not build windows on the lower levels for security reasons. The middle of the buildings had open sky and underneath they kept there domestic animals, being pigs, ducks, chickens, etc.
In Liulian we were eager to sleep in such a tulou room, so thanks to Lonely Planet we found a hotel who could arrange this for us. The cheapest accommodation so far, 30 yuan for one room (EUR 3). OK, the room was very basic, it had a door, a window, a double bed-kinda thing and a bin... but come on, this is the real experience. We could use the bathroom of the hotel, and we also found the outside toilet in the backyard... I decided not to use it though... The hotel owner lady was very kind (much younger than us, approx 22). She introduced us to her Japanese friend, who was also very handy as she did not speak much English. Hiroshi was a nice guy, anthropology student from Japan doing a research on the hakka people, and living in the village for over a year. He told us some nice stories and also arranged that we could have our meals with the hotel owner's family, which meant good food at low cost. So we had basically all our meals in their company, which was all right. We also got offered of their home made sweet rice wine, which tasted really good (especially compared to the Chinese spirits we were used to.... ).
After our "family dinner" we arranged to buy some extra wine from our host and headed back to our room as there was basically nothing else to do in the village. It was just before 8 pm, but we already were late.... apparently the tolou buildings get closed at around 8 pm every night, so no in and out traffic possible... not even to the toilet.... this was a real surprise, so we quickly ran back to the hotel for help to get someone to open the door for us... thanks God the host's uncle lived in the same building and he opened the side door. So we got in... as it was still early we decided to play Solo (a funnier version of the Uno card game) and to finish the rice wine.... and then we remembered that there was no access to the toilet... auch... you may guess what the solution was.... knowing the facilities in our room... worked well...