Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 23: A "Spring" Day

Day 23

Eva picked us up about 9 a.m. and we drove to Five Dragon Springs and walked around that park.  It was beautiful!!  Ji’nan is a city that was built around an area that had 72 springs in the area.  They dug a path for all the springs to go into a river that made a moat around the old city of Ji’nan.  It makes a wonderful walkway and place for people to go.  There are also memorials that have been made to different people of China and Ji’nan. 

Tribute to the greatest warrior of the Tang Dynasty.

Murals depicting his accomplishments.

Some of the weapons used then.

Eva (our Chinese angel) and I in front of some more murals.

Outside of one of the memorials at five Dragon Springs.

After we finished at Five Dragon Springs, we walked across the street and went to Baotu Springs.  It is a larger park area and has a more famous spring in it.  This spring naturally bubbles up in three places right in a row together, as if it had been engineered that way.  Our feet were getting pretty sore by this point and we were getting hungry, so we stopped at a local Chinese fast food.  This is authentic Chinese food that is quickly made.  I tried tofu for the first time in my life and liked it.  Not sure if it was just the way that place prepared it or not, but I will try it again. 

At Five Dragon Springs.

Five dragon Springs.

Five Dragon Springs.

These are the Five Dragons of Five Dragon Springs.

After a little rest there, we walked along the moat to another of the famous springs, Black Tiger Spring.  Along the way, we saw probably 20 more springs, many of them in gorgeous settings.  It has been fun being here.  If someone is brave enough, to say “Hello” we say “Hello” back to them.  Often, it is said just as we are almost past them, but we say “Hello” anyway.  There is always a great reaction from them.  One little girl, looked to be about 6 or 7, was brave enough to say, “Hello” and when we responded to her, she was so pleased and then instantly turned shy and hugged her mother (maybe grandmother), then turned back to us and smiled even bigger.  There were 5 college students walking around together and they got brave enough to say “Hello” to us and then asked a few more questions in English, so we talked for a little bit.  Then they wanted a picture with us, so we all got in a picture together.  I was asked by a few people to pose in pictures with them and I know several pictures were taken of us without them wanting us to know that they were taking the pictures.  Ji’nan has so few Anglo people here that you become quite a celebrity. 

One of the springs.

Carp of all colors: leopard, gold and silver.

Rocks to climb on.

I loved seeing the pomegranates growing on the trees.

There were several tables of men playing Chinese Chess.

The group of young college students that wanted our picture after we talked to them.

When we were done with the springs for the day, we took a bus back to Eva’s apartment.  On the bus, we met a man from Australia who teaches at one of the other campuses and also does the English Language testing for students that want to go to Australia for further education. 

More springs.

China's "liberty bell."

About the only way David could probably win against one of these Chinese Chess players....

Baotu Springs!

One Tiger Springs.

Black Tiger Springs.  People will not drink the water out of their taps unless they boil it.  They come here to the springs, fill their water buckets and haul it home.  It is good tasting water.

We arrived at the apartment to a warm welcome from Eva’s 72 year old mother in law, and her 15 year old daughter.  Eva’s MIL was going to teach me how to make the Chinese dumplings and Eva’s daughter wants to learn guitar and also loves to sing, so we did some singing, David taught her a little bit about the guitar and also some tips on better singing performance (not that we are experts, but we have picked up a few things from all the choirs that we have performed in).  We also at a BIG Harvest Festival meal with them!  This is also called the Moon Cake Festival, because it is the traditional food of the Harvest Festival.  We had dumplings (that I helped make), sea fish, two of the largest shrimp I have ever eaten in my life, ham, pickled pigs ear (don’t gag, it was a little crunchy and gristly, but not bad) and Moon Cakes!   The Chinese tradition is to feed you until you burst, or feel like you are going to burst!  The MIL wasn’t sure that we had eaten enough, but we were sure!  Even though Eva had to translate for us, we still had a great time talking, laughing and singing!

At Eva's house for dinner.  Her Mother-In-Law (I don't remember her name), Eva, Zina and Alayna.

Pictures taken by Alayna.  It was all too good!

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