HAINAN: Day 103, Tuesday December 10 2013

We planned on traveling out to the volcanic park. We had invited Elly along, but based on her state last night were dubious as to whether she’d show up. We were surprised when she answered her phone. We met her in her room. She was no where near ready but claimed to be waiting for Kat. There was a bucket of puke beside the bed and she claimed to have gotten about two hours of sleep. I believed it.

I call Kat, she says I have dream about handsome guy, I kill you!” Elly laughed “I kill you!” she laughed again. It was another 15-20 minutes before Kat stumbled in. I’m not sure of the entire conversation between the two but it was something about Chinese guys no being men and “I kill you.”

We bought breakfast on the go. Kat tagged after us complaining the whole way. She’d thought Elly had said pub, not park, and had gotten up for a beer.

Can you help me?” Elly shoved her purse at Kat.

No not in my purse,” Kat replied.

But I have no bag.”

Just buy a bag rich witch bitch witch.”

And then we were on a mission to find Elly a bag to her liking. When she found one they were charging 55 RMB, “35,” Elly tried to bargain.

No 55.” the woman at the store told her.

35 or I leave.”

55.”

Ok I pay.”

We got a shuttle bus for 3 RMB a person, and then took a small but noisy motor taxi with a covered passenger wagon for 4 RMB out to the park.

The bus was full of old Chinese ladies who were apparently in deep conversation about whether Nate was a foreigner or an alien!

The entrance to the park was filled with cute shops and scenic gardens full of wood carvings and bushes. I was very interested in the wood carvings, and as we wondered towards the admission gates I poked around the gardens. I turned the corner to see what one tree was carved into and froze in my tracks! In front of me was a large (like bigger then a human), chocolate brown penis complete with rock boulder balls and root pubic hair! Serene garden, giant volcanic crater, and giant penis, nothing out of place, right?

Katria didn’t want to pay the admission fee, so we left her at the gate assuming she’d find her way to the pub. It was slow going once inside as Elly had to stop every ten meters for photos. “Jenn,” or “Nate, help me” she’d say waving her phone at either one of us.

There were two lava flows fenced off and kept clear of vegetation and tourists, and further in was a house made of volcanic stone to show what the old villages would have looked like. Apparently at every village entrance there used to be a short gate to keep out the wild men that were very tall and fierce but couldn’t bend their knees.

The volcanoes were long since dormant, and were now covered in lush green vegetation. Stairs led up the largest volcano and around the edge of the crater. We could see two smaller parasitic volcanoes from one lookout point, and Hainan city from another. We followed a steep set of steps into the crater. It was like entering into a rain forest, thick and humid. We found ourselves surrounded by thick, lush vegetation that replaced the deadly molten laval lake that would have once bubbled here. A squirrel had made this place it’s home and we watched it jump across tree branches. A thick wall of ferns hung down the one wall, draping over and half covering the mouth of a shallow cave. Feeling rebellious we hopped over the barricade to take pictures and collect some samples of volcanic stone. One chinese tourist who had done the same warned us not to go too far into the cave.

On our way out we discovered a small pond that’d we’d missed earlier. There was a section with a cave that you could walk through, and as we followed the tunnel Nate’s light caught on a small bat hanging from the ceiling. We watched the orange and black coy fish swimming around the pond after we left the cave. If we leaned over and splashed our fingers int he water we’d get a huge swarm of them come to check out the disturbance. 

By the time we left the park Kat had gotten bored and gone exploring on her own. She’d ended up in an old village made of volcanic stone. We tried to get a cab to meet up with her, but when the cost was going to be 60 RMB a person for the 15 minute drive we told him no thank you. It ended up that we could just hail down a passing bus and hitch a ride for a couple RMB each.

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We were dropped off in a town next to the volcanic rock city. There were small moto-taxis parked on the side of the road. We paid one 3 RMB each to take us to our destination. About 100 m down the road we saw Kat’s blond head sticking out of the dark haired crowd. We got our driver to stop and some how squeezed Kat and her tour guide on. (three of us on the small two person side car, two on the back of the bike behind the driver).

The entrance to the ancient city was guarded by old women in rice hats. They were collecting an entrance fee, but our guide led us right past them. The village was filled with small houses, their yards now filled with local’s vegetables. Old clay pots lay broken and discarded in one yard. According to signs at the volcano park these would have once been used to collect rain water run of from the roofs.

The tour guide knew all the best shots and kept getting us to pose for photos. Elly was delighted, Kat was annoyed. She also had not brought her camera and I think was a little bit jealous. Elly kept saying “Nice place!” as we walked around the village, as if she was examining prime real estate.

After showing us around the village, our guide led us to the entrance of lava flow tunnels. He bought three torches from the locals and passed one to each of us. The caves were beautiful: dark and mysterious. Tree’s branches and roots hung down through holes in the cave’s ceiling. In some cases trees grew from the cave’s floor out of the holes! Elly commented again “Nice place, nice place.”

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The caves were quite extensive. We’d walk through one system, exit into daylight for a bit, and then be led into another large cave system. The tour guide kept having us blow out our torches and relight them so that they wouldn’t burn out so fast. We learned that he’d grown up going to these caves, and his first kiss was in them!

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After getting some food with the tour guide (and picking star fruit off the tree) we headed back to the city as we needed to pick up our visas and catch our 8:45pm flight home. On the bus ride back however we learned that our visas were not done! We ended up having to contact our school and get our flights switched, which was a huge headache. Apparently Lainey doesn’t like the woman that was working as our contact with the visa company. “Don’t listen to that girl!” Lainey yelled into the phone, “You know that girl she makes me so mad!”

The visa girl seemed to be equally as fond of Lainey, “I will not talk to your contact,” she told us, “she will not listen to me.”

Eventually we got it sorted out that we were staying another night. We’d already said goodbye to the girls who had gone back up to Elly’s room, so of course we got the genius plan to scare them. BANG BANG BANG! Nate knocked on their door, “COME ON HURRY UP LETS GO, COME ON LETS GO!” he shouted. We could hear the girls rushing around inside until finally the door cracked open.

Oh my god you scare us so much, we thought you the police!” Elly said when she realized who it was. She and Kat were laughing, “Kat was going to jump out the window!”

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We got fish for dinner at a restaurant next to our hotel. It came in a dish with candles that cooked it in front of you on the table. It was moist and probably the most delicious fish I’ve eaten. You just had to watch out for bones which are not removed in Chinese cooking.

Kat and Elly had gotten massages from the mall the other day. Kat had gotten a back and neck massage that she said was amazing for 50 RMB. Elly on the other hand hadn’t been so impressed. She’d decided to get a boob massage that costed 200 RMB.

The place was closed by the time we got there, so we ended up ordering drinks in a restaurant decorated with big leafy branches, and that had swings instead of chairs! Awesome!

Elly was getting her hair done at the hotel and had it all up in bright coloured curling things when we got back. We bugged her about it for a bit before asking the hotel about massages. 59 RMB for a full body massage for one hour! Heaven.

They started with our head, neck, shoulders, then did arms, hands, had us roll over and did back, butt, and legs. Nate though it was funny that when searching for something relaxing on the television I’d actually put the station on news where they were talking about war stuff.

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