David, Evan and I left the apartment about seven and took a taxi over to Eva’s area of town. She picked us up in her car and along with her friend, Yi Bing, we headed out of town to drive to the Minority Amusement Park that is south of Jinan.
We got there about 9 a.m. and after getting our tickets, we stopped on the steps so we could take our picture in front of the gate. Just as we finished, we were approached by an 11 years old girl and then we were almost mobbed by quite a few other children who wanted to meet us. They wanted to practice their English with us by asking where we were from and what our names were. We chatted for just a little bit. The first girl approached me was really pretty confident in her skills. It was all fun and they were happy.
|Evan, David and I in front of the gate to the park.|
|Nine Pagoda, each little one on the top is considered a pagoda.|
|Almost to the top.|
|The monkey eating the apricot we gave to him.|
After we entered the park, we climbed the steps, lots of steps, to the top. We stopped to see thinks like the monkey along the way and the beautiful water pools and falls. One of the first stops was at a Pagoda. It is called Nine Pagoda. It has nine small pagodas on the top of it and it was built in the 5th or 6th century.
There were several performances going on. Most of the different minority nationalities that are in China, are represented in the park. They put on a show as soon as they get enough people in their area to feel like it is worth doing. There were a couple of tour groups that were there that day, so as we just kind of followed them around, we were able to get in on time to see most of the performances.
|This is a black minority that live in south China. They have African ancestry.|
|We just caught the end of this performance.|
|She seemed extra happy to be having a photo with Evan.|
|The things sticking out from this pole are sword tips. The guy climbs them in his bare feet and does a few tricks along the way and then climbs down. All I could think of was "OUCH!"|
|David and Evan took a turn at moving this grinding wheel. Most of the people trying to do it really struggled, but David and Evan made it look easy.|
|Eva got David out on the square to do some dancing. A guy was singing and many people were out dancing. Lots of pictures taken of this activity.|
|This minority is ancestral ties to Thailand.|
Having Evan along made us get even more stares and pictures than usual. Not only were there now three of us, but there was also a YOUNG American with us! Lots of pictures and attention! At one of the minority areas, we they were doing the dance that involves the bamboo poles being tapped to a rhythm where you try and dance through the poles without getting your foot caught. Evan caught on to it pretty well and David, Eva and Yi Bing all tried to do it. We were we the only ones there and they had such fun doing it with us. We wanted a picture of the group when we were done and they were all happy to join us. After taking pictures with our cameras, one of the minority girls wanted a picture her phone camera. Eva was going to take the picture and just before they took the picture, two of the girls that were on the right side of me, ran over and wanted to have their picture taken next to Evan! It was so funny to see them do that! US girls, you have competition!!!
We were debating whether to go to lunch next or to go on the swinging bridges. We decided to do the swinging bridges, but as we headed that way, a young lady in a traditional costume stopped us to tell us about a new restaurant that was open representing the food of her minority. We decided to try it out and go to the swings after.
|Another minority dance. I think this was the Bai minority.|
|This is the bamboo pole dance. You had to catch on to the rhythm and not get your foot caught in the poles. Evan got really good at it. The rest of us were so-so.|
|We wanted a group picture and then when one of the Chinese girls wanted her picture taken with the group, the two girls on my right ran over to be close to Evan for that picture.|
|David and Evan decided to try the zipline. I think they had fun.|
As we waited for our lunch to come, two little girls that I had waved at after we sat down, probably 6 or 7 years old, came up to David and one of them poked him to get his attention. He turned around and they wanted to talk to him and ask where he was from. We couldn’t understand, but Eva interpreted for us. They were so cute and they kept coming back over to our area and trying out some words. They would ask how we said some colors in English and a few other words. It was so entertaining! It was kind of sad when their family finished eating and left.
|This young woman in the red dress convinced us to try her new restaurant.|
|These are the two young girls that provided us with so much entertainment during our lunch.|
|Water wheel waterfalls. Evan found the stairs that led to a cave behind so that you could look out of the openings along the way. David followed him.|
When we were done eating, we went by a waterfall and water wheel area. Evan discovered that if you walked up some steps, you could go behind the water fall. David followed him. Then we went over to the swinging bridges. We all crossed over on the log bridge, except Eva. Then Evan and Yi Bing tried the chain swing. We all went on several different ones and had fun for the next half hour or so. We didn’t want to hike all the way up to where we had planted our trees, even though we were curious about whether they were still alive or not.
|The log bridge was the first one for all of us.|
|David on the cable bridge. Thank goodness for the cables to hang on to. I wasn't ready to collect the insurance money on him yet...|
|David and Yi Bing climbing the chain bridge. It had about four times up and down and they had a good workout when they were done.|
|This was what I considered the safest swinging bridge.|
We saw the Mongolian battle again, that we had seen when we were here in February. They have changed the program a little and I think made it better. We also stayed for the Japanese Tunnel Show, where they tell about the struggles that the peasants had to fight off the Japanese then they invaded China during WWII.
|This is the Mongolian battle reenactment. They added more people since we saw it in February.|
|Evan was a hit and they all wanted their picture taken with him.|
David and Evan both fell asleep on the way back to Jinan. We were caught in drive-time traffic and it wasn’t fun, especially for Eva, who doesn’t like it when the traffic is that heavy. We decided on a quiet supper at home and then went to bed. We were pretty tired.