Tuesday September 09 2014

We were on a mission to find the great wall of Qi, one of the oldest parts of the great wall that runs in part through Jinan. We had found it on a map, and so we met up with Joe, Andy, and Cassie to begin our adventure. We had asked where to go yesterday, and we were told to go to the central train station. When we got there we were sent on bus number 3 in the opposite direction! Eventually a very helpful lady helped us find a bus headed for Qufu, that would be able to drop us off on route.

The ride was only about an hour long before we were dropped off on the side of the road, where a couple of cabs waited. When we asked the cab driver to bring us to the wall he told us there wasn’t much to see. We agreed to go to a temple near the wall instead, reasoning that we could walk there afterwards.

The temple was much bigger then expected, and there was a mountain hike included on the temple grounds. It was an active temple with a bald robed monks going about their daily routine.

There were many ruins with signs explaining their significance. They were called “palaces”.

Behind the palaces stood a tall pagoda.
We followed a path beyond the buildings, and there on our left was a grave yard full of overgrown stone towers shaped like mini pagodas.

Following the stairs down into the graveyard I stood amongst the graves letting the peace and serenity of the place surround me.

I felt very calm, as if the energy of the dead monks sat suspended in a state of meditation.

We continued our adventure, climbing to a buggy pagoda over sketchy steps, and hopping across a river full of spring water that led to a building full of buddhist statues.

We followed a path that appeared to go to no where other then passed some cheep souvenir stands. Instead of coming to an end the trail took us on a two hour hike up a mountain. We were sustained by a large bag of sunflower seeds I had brought along for snacking.

We went into this cave that was guarded by an old woman. She seemed alright, and we paid the entrance fee she asked of us. As we walked the cave got narrower and narrower, “Andy be careful, you might get stuck,” I warned, and moments later I heard Joe’s voice say “I’m stuck.” His broad athletic shoulders had jammed him in!

The tunnel didn’t really go anywhere, at the end was a cheep looking buddha statue, and then we had to somehow turn around to get back out! It was a tight squeeze, but somehow we made it. I was afraid Andy or Joe, who had gone from the back to the front at the turn around point, would get stuck and trap us all inside!

When we got out of the cave the woman started demanding more money from us! We had no idea what was going on, but we had paid to go in, and had a sneaky suspicion she might be trying to take advantage of our naivety.

It started to rain just as we got to the top of the mountain, so we took shelter inside an old neglected pagoda. When the rain let up we started back down, only to get caught in another downpour.

There was a toad climbing up the steps! Each step was like a chin up to him!

We took shelter again at the souvenir shop, where a woman tried very hard to sell us rain ponchos. She was a little late, at that point the rain ponchos would only be trapping the water in.

We had paid 60 RMB total to get to the park, which was a bit of a steep fee, but dropped off on the side of the road by the bus we didn’t have a whole lot of negotiating room. We were surprised to find that the cab driver had waited for us the whole time we were in the park! I guess we’d paid for a return journey as well.

We never did make it to the wall, the sunflower seeds weren’t cutting it anymore and we wanted to get a good hot meal in before heading home. We asked to be dropped off at a restaurant near the bus stop, where we ordered a good filling dinner.

The bus ride home was a bit of an adventure. We got on the first Jinan bound bus, but had to get off and switch to another… fortunately we started recognizing things eventually and were able to find the good old 101 that would take us to our house.

After a quick shower, the night ended at Andy and Katrina’s house for some of Andy’s high quality baijiu. The drinking quickly turned into a Shakira inspired dance party.

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