Tuesday, October 02, 2012 Yantai, China
We woke with the notion that Yantai is a doable town and booked another night at the Golden Gulf Hotel , here in the Yantaishan Scenic Area; went to the Yantai Port Huanhai Lu Passenger Transport Station, which is called the Bohai Train Ferry and got our selves a soft-sleeper, first class which we are told is eight people in a room for the six hour trip back to Dalian on Friday. Not sure what eight people, bunk beds we are told, will be like to hang with when six of the people will be speaking in tongues or something that we will not understand. The ferry – see below – leaves at nine am and rocks up in Dalian at three pm. The headlines for today’s paper were that 37 died in a ferry accident yesterday in Hong Kong, so we are excited. Of course we hope we get on the correct ferry as one of them goes to Korea, a 22 hour trip.
After another big buffet breakfast at the Golden Gulf Hotel we grabbed the # 17 goes along the Binhai Road that follows the shore, see our youtube video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyTNEHI6XVg&feature=plcp Our hotel is right on the gulf with this great view
The bus took an hour from when we got on until it came to a place of six other parked double decker buses like itself. We were fortunate to get a seat upstairs in the front, at least to the end, so I could get some video from a good spot. When we got to where it parked, which I think was a university we could not find anyone that could communicate in any of the languages that we spoke (Australian, American, British, and Dutch for Narda) so we stood in front of the buses for what seemed to us a very long time until suddenly a guy started an engine and we tried to be the first on as we had waited the longest but some kid beat us with her parents and we did not get the seat in front on the top level, but never the less we had a good seat until I wanted to get off to some overly lit building at the end of a pier. Narda wanted to keep going but I had not had my way for more than an hour so we went to the end of the pier and it turned out to be a large shell house full of shells. Shells are the biggest tourist selling thing here. Every shop sells shells and they are as tacky looking as a bunch of shells stuck together can be.
The next # 17 bus was so incredibly crowded as most transports devices in China are. We ended up standing in the middle of the downstairs of the bus and amazed as we could be the bus would stop at each stop and another group would squeeze on. In China people rarely get aggro about pushing and shoving – huge traffic jams or over crowded buses and trains – everyone just goes along with it.
We found two places with decent meals that we could eat; one I forgot to write down the name of and the other is behind our hotel in the Hutton area; Druid’s Irish Pub which is a bit pricey but the food is Western. They have special nights with Wednesday being two-for-one night which we did not do because all the mains were meaty and I only eat stuff that is not dead meat. I had a tasty cauliflower soup and vegetarian spring rolls which were very good and some mushroom dish. Narda had something with dead meat in it. Thursday night was half price pizza night which is always good as cheese is not used in Chinese cookery and we needed to clog up our arteries again.
Our local hood - another Hutton - most of these one story areas have been knocked down for new high rise buildings as China, not satisfied with their destruction during the glorious Mao Cultural Revolution days is hell bent on destroying every bit of culture that remains to put up huge buildings - most of which are empty - look on Google to see the many sites for China's Ghost Cities.
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Taking the number six bus and exploring a winery...
We toured some writer chick’s house, Lin Bingxiu - famous for writing in Chinese, and one photo that took my fancy was this of her as a child with her grandfather and his concubine.
Before going on the number 6 bus we went to the Changyu Wine Museum where Narda made new friends. Actually we sort of crashed a group’s drinking parky. We were wandering about the cellar of the winery and saw lots of people laughing and having a good time so Narda being Narda sat right in the middle of them and soon they were passing her glasses of wine and everyone was getting in a photo with her. At first they looked a bit upset but it was not long before they accepted this Western Wine Drinking Crasher.This shows in the youtube video clip.
Continuing with our random bus rides we took the number 6 from near our hotel and when we got quite hungry we got off found a place to eat had some pancake with veggies type of caper then Narda decided she wanted a haircut and that turned out well for a couple of dollars US and of course she had been wanted a foot massage for the past couple of days so we went into a place next to the haircutting place somewhere on the random number six bus ride – because buses in China are 1 yuan which is about 15 cents US we often hop on and hop off – we got a good hour of foot and neck massage. We even got cupping on our feet which is a first. I had a sore back for the next day so I think the young girl was not fully qualified to crack my back – ouch… but the foot massage was great and all for 45 yuan – a bit over seven dollars. The picture below is not a Chinese abortion on a male. It is preparing my feet for the cupping process. Needles to say I was concerned with this scantly dressed female going toward me with a flaming torch.
Narda's feet with the cups -
Thursday, October 04, 2012
We did the number 43 bus today – taking it from the starting point which is next to our hotel. We read that there was a shopping area and we wanted to find something traditional. I wanted to find fridge magnets; I have been collecting them from each city we stay in over the past ten years and the side of our fridge is fully covered with about a hundred of them. I had no luck but we did have the bus driver drop us off at the Zhenhua Shopping Centre. It was just a regular lots of oversize stores with Western goods but on the side where we got off the bus down the first alley to the right we came across a five story more local shopping area but it was just mainly shoes. There are a huge number of shoe stores in China but I suppose with more than one-billion people and two-billion feet, shoes are something that are needed. As there was nothing different than any other Chinese local shopping mall we snooped then left. However, I found some good ideas for shirts and took photos and will give them to our clothes maker back at the school. He has made me six vests as well as a couple of suit coats all for very good prices and well done.
Prices of clothes in China are quite high. I have no idea how the locals shop. The last few shirts I bought in the States on sale for like between five and ten dollars and the same ones here are 40 – 60 dollars.
As usual we had people stop and stare at us. This is something I never understand. We are just a couple of old-Western people, me with overgrown tangled hair and Narda looking like Narda. Maybe she is tall being five foot eleven and I am an average six foot two both of us a bit taller than others. Maybe we are the pink devils they heard about in their childhood. Whatever the case people stop and stare; sometimes laugh and sometimes asking to have a photo taken with us. Today I felt particularly self-conscious when I was standing in the middle of a department store and Narda had gone off to find the loo – I looked up and from every direction there were people looking at me, some laughing, and some just staring like I was an alien. Yantai is the most Chinese city we have been in and we saw one Westerner this week at our hotel, a large five (more like a Western 3.5 star) star hotel in a prime location. Prime Minister Bob Hawke has stayed here as well as many other leaders so we are not sure why people stop and stare. I reckon if anyone finds enough words to ask me in English – or Narda in Dutch, who we are I will say I am a famous singer from New York; Terrell from the Terrells, “will you still love me tomorrow?” Blimey, I get confused.
The below shot is typical of what happens; people stop and want to be in a photo with us. This one time we asked the people who were all taking photos of being with us to take a photo on our camera too. This was on the six-hour ferry back to Dalian – see the next blog – Dalian Ferry, also, a youtube ferry – “Yantai to Dalian Ferry”. We probably end up in someone’s Chinese equivalent to Facebook. This has happened almost in every place we have been. I am going to get a tee-shirt made that says “Terrell of the Terrells”. Really look at this photo; how incredibly boring and normal we look.
But what we did find was the best spot since we have been here and one of the better ones in china. If you go over the overpass (there is only one) through the main store or up the side street toward Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital 20 Yuhuangdingdong Road, Zhifu District keep going up the hill. A side note about this hospital – there have been, according to the website; http://en.minghui.org, “Numerous Kidney Transplants in Yuhuangding Hospital, Yantai City, Live Donors Found within Days”… (Clearwisdom.net) After the CCP's practice of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners and cremating their bodies to destroy the evidence was exposed, the Falun Dafa Association and the Minghui/Clearwisdom website formed the "Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG)" on April 4, 2006 and began comprehensively collecting information and clues… showed that there were between one hundred and sixty and one hundred and seventy kidney transplant surgeries performed over a one-year period.” This has been in the news since the mayor of Dalian’s wife was busted for killing off the Brit dude that was in the news lately and he is reported to be the one who set up prison camps to get these meditators and to use their bodies – many, which according to much on the Internet were used in those body exhibitions touring the world. But I am not political and this is not the aim of my blogs.
So when you get to the Chefoo district and past this glorious hospital going up Yuhuangdingdong Road – up the hill was an amazing little find. We were tired from walking so much and shopping – not that we bought anything – that we were looking for a place to sit down and have our ice coffee and we saw some trees at the top of the hill and headed for there which turned out to be an incredibly beautiful park, YuhuangdingPark, named after Yuhuang Temple, with lots of Buddhist re-built type of buildings. It is also behind Walmart if you end up in such a place.
According to the signs the Yuhuang Temple was first built in the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368) and expanded and renovated in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The layout of the temple is quite formal, of course that is until Mao and his Culture Revolution knocked everything down. Thankfully they are rebuilding this place and it is well worth the visit. We took the number 43 bus because that bus starts at our hotel but you can take bus No. 7, 3, and 41 from other parts of Yantai.
Note in the sign below the destruction years - good on ya Mao and your 1966 stuff... "The movement paralyzed China politically and significantly affected the country economically and socially. The Revolution was launched in May 1966."
I like the statues of the various years of animals – me being born in the year of the pig – and of course I am not going to eat meat. Narda is the horse. Sacha is the monkey. Not quite sure why people think praying to an animal is going to get them anything. Leaving fruit in front of statues always seems strange too – who eats it at the end? Then again all religious beliefs mystify me and why people believe in anything that does not exist but it is what humans do- good on them.