Today we had our presentations and everyone was working to finish up last minute projects. We finished by 7 P.M. and had dinner with the professors that had welcomed us earlier last week along with a few other students.
We spent our free study day expecting to have the entire day to work on our presentations. But later in the day it was announced we would attend a concert hosted on another Shandong University Campus a few minutes away. The President of Shandong University would be there and it was a Korean pop star who would be singing for this years graduates. We were all still worried about the lack of time, but it was announced we would only have to do one presentation and then the second one would be done along the way throughout the rest of China. Therefore, the concert was made mandatory and everyone attended the ceremony and saw 2 symphonies, performers, the President, speeches, the valid Victorian and the pop singer. She was Korean but I didn’t quite get her name, but she was apparently number one for a time. Another Chinese singer came on and when the Symphonies decided to perform together is when we decided to leave. We went to McDonalds to eat and got home at 12 AM where we prepared for tommorows presentations, which fortinately was moved to the afternoon.
In the morning we received a lecture on Taiqi martial arts and I became a wooden dummy for him to demonstrate his skills. We received basic fundamentals before we were allowed to try them out for a short while. Afterwards we received a free study time, but we decided to go shopping with a friend we met at our welcoming party. She couldn’t stay for long, but her friend was happy to show us around the shopping area where we saw many small stores with various cheap and expensive goods. The expensive brands in the brand new yet empty stores were still cheaper than Canadian luxery items. We eventually ended up inside Walmart where we bought cheap goods that can’t be found at other shops. We shopped a lot before we had to make it back for Mary’s birthday party. We her birthday dinner at a small “ABC Pizza” place and ordered a variety of pizzas that were a little too dry for my tastes. Then finally, to seal the deal we went to a club to experience what it was like in Jinan. Inside it was obviously loud, many lights flashing around, people dancing up and down on a dance hall thats is obviously too small and bartenders doing fancy tricks with their bottles. We stayed until the girls got tired and decided that they had been groped enough by the men or women? at the bar. We came home and prepared ourself for the next day where we would have to prepare our presentations on our various topics that we had chosen before the trip.
We had a caligraphy lecture in the morning and went over the history and evolution of the Chinese language. Apparently in the Han dynasty Chinese characters had reached their most modern form and most sites use this version. After the lecture we had a chance to practice our caligraphy and the professor liked my style of curves in my characters.
We were then given a 3 hour lunch break where I headed to the convience store to buy instant noodles and snacks. The snacks were a little varied in taste, but the instant noodles were pretty bad most likely because I chose a poor flavor. Most of the girls and the professor was feeling sick most likely due to stress and a poor diet. After lunch we visted a Archaeology museum just outside of Jinan which took 1.5 hours to reach. The museum was small and run down looking and suffering from a leaky roof, but it had many varieties of potteries that we had seen throughout our trip. The most interesting ones are the ones that are tall and have fat legs, but the biggest star at the museum was a little puppy that ran around pooing everywhere.
After we got home some of us went for dinner at a classy looking Japanese restaurant that had set meals for 30 yuan. The meal was filling and rice was unlimited so one was guranteed a full stomach. I had Katsudon (pork) and rice which also came with vegetables, miso soup (mine w/o tofu), egg desert and ice cream. Afterwards we came home and I had a shower before working on this blog and uploading my pictures. Our presentations are coming up and many are stressed over it. I on the other hand am thinking about Peking Opera and was wondering if we are still going to see it.
Joint write up:
It is June 20th, our 25th day in China. We had spent the night in a hotel in Tai’an city. The evening before while everyone was resting up for the mountain, Jenn and Mary decided to relax with a nice bottle of Reisling Dry white wine, which had been made in our favourite city of Tingdao. It was very good wine. In fact Riesing is Mary and Jenn’s favourite type of wine and they were very excited when the only bottle of white wine they had was a Reisling. We took it as a sign that it was meant to be. At the bar in our hotel we made friends with the two bar girls. One was 20 and the other was 24. One’s home town was Tingdoa! They gave Jenn and Mary free sunflower seeds and we drank half the bottle before heading to bed. It was a very fun night. The next day (today), we took on the great mountain, Taishan.
Taishan is a Taoist mountain and is considered the top mountain for Taoists. Humans had apparently been visiting Taishan mountain since the Paleolithic era and many Chinese claim origin from here. Many use Mount Tai in sayings to compare to its greatness. This landmark which is famous culturally and as a heritage site has had ceremonies performed for the past 3,000 years.
It was a very raining and blustery day. Everyone bought a plastic poncho, most wore pink. Even Gary (our one male student on the trip) wore a pink poncho reluctantly. Even though the elements were against us, and many of us were sick, most of us were determined to climb the mountain anyway. Only two students stayed behind at the bottom with our professor. The climb was difficult and treacherous, with the rain and wind beating against us there was a definite feeling of fighting nature. We were hoping for a great view like we expected from our lectures, but we could barely bring out our camera without it suffering some damage. The view although limited was still very grand as we could see only a few meters ahead and sometimes we could see more beautiful scenes when the fog moved away. Our group split into two groups, the front pack were tortoises, and the back group were turtles. On the way up we saw many older people climbing the mountain with canes, which was very impressive. There were a lot of people ranging from children to the elderly so one could never feel lonely on the way up and the number of stores were plentiful just in case we needed supplies, but it got more expensive the higher we went. We also saw people climbing the mountain with no shoes and no rain gear. On the way up the back group came across a young black and white cat so they fed and petted it. When Jenn crouched down to pet it, the Taishan cat went between her legs and sought shelter under her body and poncho. We al loved the cat instantly and knew that it must be a reincarnation of a special person, perhaps a Taoist immortal visiting us in disguise. Taoists have a special connection to nature and love to be on mountains, which are considered the gateway to heaven. Every step on the way up brought us closer to the top, but with each step we got wetter, colder and more tired. A lot of people yelled while climbing and the yelling continued both up and down the mountain because people wanted to celebrate their climb. In the end we made it to the top and in all it took about 3.5 hours to climb a little over 545 meters in the rain. In total the entire mountain is 1545 meters high but most people shuttle to bottom of the mountain with the jade peak and that is what we did. Making it to the top was exhilarating. We yelled at the top of the mountain “woh hooo … I love Taishan!”
Originally when we got to the mountain the gondola was shut down due to the bad weather but luckily by the time we were ready to descend it was up and running. Thus, we descended part way down to he gondola. On the gondola there was a sweet old man who was scared of the gondola and spent the entire ride with his eyes covered and comforted by his wife. Once down at the bottom we were soaked and cold. Our fingers were like prunes and our shoes were swimming pools. Most of us bough sweaters there for a little over $2 Canadian and they were warm and cozy. Lastly, we had our bus ride back to Jinan which took 1.5 hours. Once back to the hotel many people went straight to bed for a good sleep! Dongya was so proud of us for climbing the entire mountain from the midway point in such terrible wet weather and many were happy they had finished the trip. Most of the class realized the best part of the trip was getting to the top rather than being at the top. Unfortinately we could not visit all the temples and relics due to exhaustion and time restraint, but most of us agreed that making it to the top was our main objective and many sacrifices were made to reach the top.
On the bus ride home most people slept and Jenn and Mary drank the rest of their wine!. In the evening back at the hotel the power went out in the whole campus and everyone came out of their rooms. We were hooting and hollering out the window. Jenn put a sheet on and was being a ghost and scared the hotel attendant. We had a stretching session. Then when the lights came back on we had a piggy back race. Angela piggied Madoka. Aslyson piggied Amanda and Jenn piggied Grace. First round Jenn cheated and had a head start and won. Second round Jenn couldn’t get off the ground and the war was on between Angela and Alyson. Alyson won as her rider, Amanda was fending off the other group (swatting at them). It was fun. Then the hotel staff said our screaming and running was too loud, though they were very polite about it.
Tues 19 today we drove 2.5 hours to confucius’ temple at luqi inside we saw how they lived and the gardens most of the uxerious buildings were built after his death b/c he prefered a simple life. after lunch we went to see his burial site which had woods to resemble stanley park and aclarge grave. some people bought paintings drawn by a local artist while others bought stamps. we drove about 2 hours to arrive at tai an and had hot pot and then went to our one night stay at a nice hotel which has a water dispenser in each room.
Like yesterday, today we had lectures but they were on Taishan and Confucius. After a long day of lectures we went down the street for a small bit of shopping and came home to prepare to leave tommorow for Taishan and Confucius’ temple at 7:30 A.M.
We awaken early in the morning to have a pretty good breakfast at the University Hotel. Although we no longer get free beer or icecream at the hotel since the party here it was still a clean and tasty fried rice dominated breakfast. We left to attend a full day of lectures and during lunch we had a chance to eat at the cafeteria. The cafeteria was 3 stories high and had 3 different places you could order food. Most of the food was unfortinately gone, but we did get some decent dishes, but mostly Chinese fried pancakes. We went back for lectures then afterwards we went for dinner because it was Nikki’s birthday and so we ate at a nice restaurant, which had a nice variety of Chinese dishes. Lastly we went to karaoke and stayed until 11:30 P.M.
Today we leave Qingdao we woke up later and bought breakfast at a local small bakery with various goodies and drinks at the convinent store. We then met up at 12 P.M. had lunch at the same place and left the beautiful city of Qingdao. After a 6 hour drive we arrived back at Jinan, and moved into our new rooms at the Shandong University hotel. This wasn’t a very eventful day because most of it was spent on the bus playing “I spy” and other things. The bus driver bought gas and its really cheap in China, like 60 cents Canadian.
June 15 we met up at 8 am so we could get a head start and finish early to have a free afternoon. we drove 1.5 hours to visit an archaeology site that had been excavated. we drove thru rural roads which had many trees planted and nice villages but w/ polluted water. the dig out was not too large and in between farm fields. it took 2 months to excavae and much pottery was found. fish bones, shells and pottery from zhou and dawenkou could be found. they would burry the site and at their musum site they will reassemble them. they had many artifacts and pieces as well as human burial bones. we had lunch and dongya got sick so we went home. after we got back we went to the beaches and explored many shops selling seashells and pearls and turtles. e went to 2 beaches and took pics. after dinner we went to the same place as last night. we looked at the open market shops and bought many things. then we went home. many were sick.