• Sunday outing

    by  • July 25, 2008 • China • 0 Comments

    posted by Sarah

    We work six days a week, and this past Sunday instead of taking our allotted day of rest, we went on an outing with some kids and their parents from the school to Ling Shan, where we spent a surprisingly enjoyable (if not tiring) day.

    Our large group set out at 6:30 in the morning on two air conditioned tour buses, and our chipper tour guide (in typical Chinese fashion: wearing heels for a rigorous walk around a mountain) informed us that the trip would last about 2 hours. The bus, unfortunately, did have a microphone, and our guide used it to her fullest capabilities, asking students to come up and say English phrases, and having the adults sing songs. Our colleague Mr. Wen sang “Eidelweiss,” I sang “Amazing Grace,” and Joel opted out due to a head cold.

    At our destination, like all official Chinese tour groups, we donned fashionable matching baseball caps and set out to have some organized fun.

    Our ascent to the top of the mountain via funicular railway. Funicular funicular funicular.
    Greeted at the top by an exuberant student and a not-so exuberant snail.
    The subsequently freed snail – it’s a monster!

    Our first stop was the (arguably) largest single cave in China, spanning about 4,000 meters across, where the largest stalagmite (again a disputed claim) reaches from floor to ceiling. It was blessedly cool. I came to realize why people still live in caves.

    Hey, there’s Joel!
    A rock formation called “spring peonies” or something like that.
    Afterwards, we tottered on stone steps down the mountain to have a somewhat harried lunch (we’re not used to eating with kids), and then to the lake where we had a great time on rickety bamboo rafts covered with woven straw roofs.

    Off we go, into the wild blue yonder.. or at least to the cultivated green yonder…Qiezi! (that’s eggplant in Chinese.)
    A neighboring boat – with whom we engaged in a serious water fight. The kids went crazy with their water guns (the vendors made some serious bank from our group!) I’d like to think our boat won.Yes, these are Yamaha motors powering the rafts. So sweet.

    Our final destination was a pear farm where we picked our own pears. These delicately sweet, refreshingly crisp bronzed globes were wrapped individually on the trees in a special kind of paper bag (is this a common practice?) – kind of strange, picking packaged fruit from the trees.

    Mmmmm, delicious!

    We picked about 10 pears before retiring back into the cool sanctuary of the bus. Then, a somewhat peaceful ride back to the hustle and bustle of Shaoxing.



    Sarah grew up in Colorado but considers herself a Chinese-Malaysian-English-American. Her favorite thing to do is read in bed, or some sunny spot on a couch.

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