The key to eating here is to always have something in your chopsticks, and to eat slowly. Also never expect the meal to be finished when you think it will. Always expect more food! If you are ever caught with empty chopsticks, and empty bowl, or a mouth that’s not chewing you will be hounded to “eat eat eat!” it is no coincidence that “bow le” (full) is the first Chinese word Sonya’s mother understood me say! On that note, we had leftover grasshoppers, cheese, and pickles that we made into a wrap using “Shandong tasty bread”.
There were thick layers of fog, but we decided to go mountain climbing anyways. We didn’t get much of a view from the top, but the hike up was gorgeous. The mountain was covered in trees and full of terraced fields. The mist left a damp earthy smell over everything. Some large birds nests made of mats of sticks were cradled in the upper branches of tall skinny trees and the wind swirled and twisted the white mist between their trunks, rustling in the dead grass below.
We followed a path lined with with colourful leaves that half covered glistening chunks of mica and quartz. Apparently people used to mine the stone here and it for bowls, but according to Sonya the government has since shut down the operation. We couldn’t really see where we were going, the mist was so thick at the top, but we followed along thin trails between terraced patches of ground. It was cold on the top, windy, so we sheltered in some bushes and snacked on cheese and rice crackers.
The wind had begun to lift the fog by the time we got to the bottom, and we were able to see our surroundings much more clearly. We found a cave left by an old mine. It’s ceiling was high and the caverns spacious. There were holes in the roof in a few places that let the light in and made it easy to see. The tunnel narrowed and stretched out into darkness. We poked through a pile of rocks, collecting the nicest pieces of mica and quarts.
The route we took home from the mountain brought us over a dam that blocked the flow of an old river and down the river bed, now a garden paradise.
We made egg and tomatoes when we got back, and ended the day with cards after dinner. Sonya’s mom played for the first time. She was crazy and kept throwing down her high cards! Very amusing.