We knew there must be an entrance to the spring. Jinan was known as “The City of Springs” for a reason, and we had first spotted the pool of water during a hike up one of the hills near our apartment. While teaching English for a company called “Happy English”, we worked Wednesday- Sunday, but had Monday and Tuesday off. We had decided to find the spring’s elusive entrance on our day off.
The hill was covered in gorgeous, yet bumbling bugs. We were standing under a small pagoda built in the Chinese style. The ceiling was painted with gorgeous images, and the supporting posts were a muddy red colour, with peeling paint. The moth like bugs flew around us, bumping into the pagoda posts, table, rocks, and us. They would fall on the ground stunned, as if dead, only to revive moments later and fly off into something else!
We went up and down that hill, approaching the spring from different angles, but no matter what we did we could not find an entrance. Forgoing official paths I suggested we follow a small footpath, “Maybe this leads to a way in,” I suggested to my boyfriend, and traveling companion, Nate. Suddenly our path was cut short by two snarling dogs that slunk out of the bushes. “Nope,” I said backing up slowly.
Finally sweaty and exhausted we admitted defeat. We needed to shower and rest before the teacher’s day barbecue that was taking place that night. We took the final unexplored set of stairs down the mountain. They branched and the first branch we followed led nowhere, ending on an upward climb to someone’s house. We turned around to take the other branch. On our way back I noticed a foot path that led to a wide wall. I followed it, discovering it brought me back around to the other branch. I glanced behind me realizing Nate had not followed me and decided to trick him by running back up and around the path and surprise him by appearing from behind.
I ran back up the stairs, passed a couple that stared as I ran by, down the next set of stairs, and around the corner to find… no one. Nate must have gone after me after all! I hesitated not sure if I should stop where I was and wait for Nate to catch me, or keep running after him. If I stopped and waited and he also stopped and waited we would both be waiting for a long time. On the other hand if both of us both kept on going we could be running around in circles forever! I laughed at the ridiculous image as I made up my mind and raced back up the stairs, passed the couple, and down the other side. Fortunately Nate had stopped to wait for me. We did not get stuck in an infinite loop!