NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES (but some of it is): Day 21, Thursday September 19 2013

Happy Mid Autumn Festival! When we finally got out of bed we headed to the no noodle noodle restaurant to get breakfast. Damian was there on his morning language practicing adventure! He was very interested in one of the girls behind the counter. We ate with him and then took him on a tour of the food and shopping places around our area, as he has just moved into Katrina’s apartment.

By the time Damian headed home we’d gotten a text from Amy saying she was up and wanted to go see the jelly fish as we’d promised to show them to her. Her Chinese boyfriend, Adam, and his brother, tagged along too. Adam, who apparently works as a marketing staff at Happy English was very excited to meet Nate. He’d been telling Amy about seeing this really tall guy with orange hair all over the city!

We took them on the grand tour starting with the mountain near our apartment. We pointed out the pool on the way by. I froze staring at a long thin curved object that hovered over the pool’s surface. It looked like someone was holding a fishing rod! “Are they fishing in the pool?” I asked shocked. We had just been going on about how clear and clean the water looked! We walked near for a closer inspection. The water was a dark murky green colour, and there were Chinese men sitting all around it with rods in their hands! And they were pulling out fish! As fall neared the pool had turned into a sports fishing pond.

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Amy commented on our way up the mountain that this was not an activity to do with a hangover! She still managed to make it to the top though. It turned out that Adam and his brother were farm boys from Inner Mongolia. They got quite excited about some green and red berries growing on a bush. They picked some and urged us to try them. They weren’t bad and the green ones tasted like little apples.

When we asked the boys what the mountain was called they told us that it was a tomb! Apparently a bunch of bodies were dumped her by the Japanese during World War II. Millions of Chinese had been massacred. A mountain had been built overtop of them. Apparently the mountain has also been used as a graveyard since, and in the past bodies buried on the surface have been washed down during heavy rain storms into the area where we now live! Buildings were simply built overtop of them. No wonder our area is supposed to be haunted. After that we started asking the boys if every mountain in sight was either a mountain or a tomb.

The jelly fish in the spring were even more abundant then on our last visit. We went into the water again, though Alan and his brother stayed on shore as they don’t know how to swim. We sat on a sign on the far side of the spring and Amy talked in Chinese to and old man and his grandson. The old man told us that a dragon had once lived in this place, and when he had left he left behind the mountain and the spring. We were told by another swimmer to be careful because the spring was 30 feet deep. He had a giant orange buoy attached to him. Must either have been to hold onto when he got tired, or to mark his body if he went under.

We bought chicken burgers at Dico’s a Chinese version of KFC. The quality was not so good, but still it was a burger. We met up with Damian again that night to go to Quan Chen square. We got into the car and Damian told the driver “Quan Chen Guan Chen,” the driver replied in Chinese and Damian just kept responding “Dui Dui” (right), and then we were on our way. “Do you know what he said?” Nate asked Damian, impressed. “No clue,” Damian replied. We had to laugh and just hope we were headed in the right direction.

The square was swarming with people. Many of them were wearing headbands with flashing ears attached. My favourite was a blinking Minnie Mouse bow. There were also these flashing helicopter things that people were slinging up into the sky, and above it all were kites with blinking lights that moved in waves through the sky like sting rays or soared like birds.

We made our way to the big blue monument that stood tall in the centre of the square. I focused my camera to get a good picture and when I turned back around Nate and Damian were surrounded in a group of Chinese girls getting their picture taken! When the girls saw me I was immediately swarmed as they asked for a picture with me as well. We got the girls QQ numbers (a Chinese chat sight I still don’t fully understand). As we walked away Damian started commenting on the girls, saying he was going to bang the one because he’d named her.

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We met up with a couple of other Jinan acquaintances, Nick, Jess, and spacy Spencer. They took us to a club named Phebes, one of the fabled places where foreigners are given free drinks! We had to wait for a bit in the lounge as a table was prepared for us. We sat in these grand throne like chairs. There were Hollywood type paintings across the ceiling depicting half naked white women. I felt a little uncomfortable as I wondered what the perception of Westerners was in a place like this.

Instead of the nice sit down table I was expecting we were led to a tiny round stand up table. A waitress came over with a bottle labeled “Jack Daniels” and some ice tea. The whiskey tasted very watered down, but hey it was free. The waitress looked very serious. She didn’t smile or say hello when she came up to our table, she just proceeded to mix the whiskey and tea together in a jug. In fact no one in the club was smiling, even the people out drinking looked like they were doing it more out of obligation then for fun. We at least were having a good time!

The Chinese people around us were very interested in our little group. One guy from a table next to us “gambei”ed (bottoms up) with Nate, and then filled Nate’s cup back up with his jug of drink. Nate expected it to taste like ours, but quickly discovered that our neighbours were drinking baijo! Not a nice surprise I can imagine.

The stage, which had been full of well dressed guys texting and kind of dancing, was cleared off for some performances. Some girls got on the stage to do a dance. There was no spark or passion to it, they danced in a box rather then use the space around them. After the girls left the stage a man came on to sing. He was wearing a red jacket with red feathers hanging off of one arm that made him look like he was half chicken.

We got in an illegitimate cab home by accident, which charged us 20 RMB! 5 RMB more then usual.

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