JINAN: Day 150, Tuesday May 06 2014

We took my siblings, Karen and John to Hero mountain. Watching them try and do Tai Chi was pretty amusing, wish I’d gotten it on tape. It’s always good to have a bit of blackmail on your brother and sister… oh well, next time.

Karen refused to slide down a couple of the handrails on our way back down the mountain, but the rest of us had fun on them! Have to admit the steep ones are a little intense.

Karen wanted to buy chopsticks. We thought this would be an easy request to fill, we were in China after all! We checked out the morning market first. No chopsticks, or none that were up to her “fancy chopsticks” standards anyways. When we asked one store if they carried chopsticks, they offered us disposable ones! I guess they misunderstood our reason for looking for them. We went to the painting store so John could get a painting for his fiance, but size was a concern. The paintings are all huge here. They’re amazingly gorgeous, but are difficult to frame.

We met Sonya at Thousand Buddha Mountain, or well we passed her on her way out. She had come earlier with her parents, and by the time we made it there she was leaving! A repeat of yesterday all over again!

We hiked around, saw the sights, and of course took the slide down the mountain! I went first and John kept yelling at me to go faster, but I couldn’t go any faster! I was almost running into the girl in front of me!

“You drive like an old grandma!” He complained at the bottom, as I recovered from almost getting run over by both him and Nate.

“If I’m an old grandma, then what’s Karen?” I asked. There was still no sign of her.

Nate didn’t miss a beat, “Dead,” he replied.

For some ridiculous reason that I don’t even fully understand, that has to do with an episode of Mr Bean, and a month long trip to Europe, my youngest brother, Eric, is now being represented as a toy teddy bear, named Teddy. Every since the Europe trip Teddy had posed in many travel photos around the world, in place of our youngest brother, and John had managed to get him for this trip (despite Eric trying to hide him in his backpack. When Eric found out John had Teddy, he thought that there must be a second Teddy since he was sure he had hidden it so well no one would be able to find it!) Nate took Teddy up the steps, and placed him ceremoniously on the railing below “the big buddha” so that Eric could be vicariously included in another adventure. A big gust of wind came in at the wrong moment.

TEDDY!” Karen screamed sprinting to the place below the Buddha statue where Teddy lay cracked on the pavement. He is now missing an ear and a chunk of his head. Poor Teddy.

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