SETTLING IN: Day 53, Monday October 21 2013

Went exploring! We walked to the next closest mountain on our map and circled it to try and find a way up. At first sight it looked like the mountain was under construction!

Wouldn’t of put it past China, but it turned out that the under construction part was a small hill in a to be building complex that was in front of the mountain. The two just seemed to blend together. We accidentally walked right into the construction sight trying to find our way up! Next we found ourselves trapped in an apartment complex and following a flight of stairs that led to nowhere (they looked newly made but were overgrown!)

Though it did not lead to our goal the apartment complex had a beauty of it’s own. The road was lined with fruit trees laden with what Nate calls peach-pears.

As we walked flocks of sparrow like birds with grey bodies and black faces flew from the trees. There was a park amongst the buildings filled with a labyrinth of paths and spotted with statues of people doing regular park activities. A man sat on his laptop, a boy peering over his shoulder, two men played Chinese checkers while a third looked on, and further down the path a man played a melody for a watching woman. The computer was covered in scratches and graffiti, and the copper outer layer was peeling and cracking off of many of the statues exposing the wires that made up their skeletal structure below. Despite the damage and cheep build the statues had a creepy aura of reality to them. It had the feel of a gorgons garden.

On out way back from our stairway to no where expedition we noticed a Chinese man staring at us (probably trying to figure out what those crazy foreigners were doing). We said “Nihao” to him on our way back out of the building complex and he grinned. I’m pretty sure we made his day.

Gorgeous pictures on the side of the road.
Gorgeous pictures on the side of the road.

Back out to the street we went and followed the road around a corner, it was now going in an upwards direction which we took to be a good sign. We began to see large bulletin boards promising beer beaming like beacons before us. Up we climbed and in my mind I pictured Nate drooling at the mouth as we neared each beer ad. We followed the beer signs which led us to a building where chinese men were putting up pole gazibo like structures. When we asked what they were we were told Chinese houses. “Pejio?” (beer) Nate asked.

It looked like they were closed but they seemed to be happy enough to open up shop just for us. One of the guys who was setting up the “houses” grabbed us a couple of stools. “sit down, sit down” we were told.

No one spoke much English, but we had fun anyways. The boys couldn’t hang around for long as they had to get back to work. They were sure to get pictures with us before they did so.

The mysterious combustion of Chinese people.
The mysterious combustion of Chinese people.

The mountain was divided into two peaks, and we could see a building on the far peak. We decided to go in that direction, hoping it was not somebody’s home. We followed a narrow path up the mountain, “Look the mysterious combustion of Chinese people.” Nate said pointing out an abandoned pair of shoes.

From the top we could see the continuous ridges of mountains stretching out in one direction, and the crowded city in the other. It looked as if we could continue our hike infinitely, but we had to get back for KTV with Sonya.

We met Sonya at 4:30 at our usual Uni-Mart meeting place. The KTV was near jelly fish springs. We walked in and Sonya handed a piece of paper to the girl behind the counter. I assume it was some sort of coupon, but apparently there was much to argue over. I guess they eventually sorted it out because Sonya told us they were getting our room ready. She told us the girls behind the counter wanted to talk to us but didn’t know how. We had a conversation with Sonya as our translator.

It ended up being just the three of us as everyone else from work who were supposed to show up came up with convenient excuses to stay home. Sonya kept selecting English songs for Nate and I that we didn’t know. We just started making up the tune to go with the lyrics streaming across the screen. We even “sang” a Chinese song, ie we made random noises for all of the words, or sang the few words we knew over and over again! Nate sang from one to ten in Chinese along with the music. Sonya sounded much better then us.


We stopped at Hollyland (a pastry store introduced to us by Juan- one of the old teachers) to treat ourselves to some slices of cake. When we asked Sonya if she wanted some she told us “No no it’s very sweet.”

“In Canada we really like sweet things,” I explained to her.

“I think Sweet things will make you fat,” she replied. On our way home she stopped and bought a pile of deep fried pastries. We refrained from telling her that this stuff could also make one fat.

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