Nate, Joe and I were on the 101 bus. Joe swore it went straight down the road from the school, while Nate and I knew better. The three of us had gotten on it in part just to settle the long standing debate. We were fitting in some of the sight seeing around Jinan that we hadn’t managed yet.
The bus pulled over at a stop, and an wiry old man with a long fu-manchu mustache and beard climbed on. He was wearing traditional Chinese clothes and looked straight out of a Chinese history book, or a movie. We smiled and waved at him, because Nate and I had met him before! He had a little store/ work room along the canal where he hand dyed and hand made traditional style clothing. Once when Nate and I had sat with our legs dangling over the canal’s dirty waters to eat the dinner we’d bought from the hutong not far away, this man had offered us hand dyed blankets to sit on!
Presently we had to get off the bus and switch to another, because as Nate and I had suspected the 101 turned. Told ya so Joe!
Our first stop of the day was at Jellyfish Springs. We had been trying to show the jelly fish, that had been so plentiful in the freshwater spring not far from our apartment, off to people all summer but there had never been any of the opaque little creatures there. Today finally we succeeded in finding and photographing the little guys!
Next we were on our way to “The Great Southern Mosque”. I’d describe it as more of a mediocre southern mosque, but it was still interesting to see. It was an active mosque so we saw lots of monks just hanging out.
After our adventure at the mosque we headed to the canal shopping strip to search out our fu-manchu friend. Nate had been hoping to get something made from him for a while, and our encounter on the bus had reminded him of it. On our way through the square we saw a man playing some sort of made-up sport that used net-less badminton rackets to toss a ball around. Joe, who is a basketball player and a sporty guy was quickly drawn to the game. He picked it up pretty quickly!
Finally at the canal street, while Nate was talking about shirt designs Joe was making friends with the caricaturist next door, who offered to draw a free sketch of him!