Nov
18
2006

Fu Chun Tao Yuan Slide Show

bya Gabrielle at 5:56 AM

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Place cursor over slide show to see the titles of the pictures. I believe that slide shows are going to be the way of the future for my blog. It seems to be much easier and less time consuming than adding only five pictures at a time to Blogger. This in turn will make me very happy, for I have about a billion pictures that I have taken, but not yet posted because Blogger is slower than dirt in China. These pictures, as the previous post would suggest, are from our trip to the largest cave in Asia, the FuChun TaoYuan. It wasn’t as big as Carlsbad Caverns, in Carlsbad, New Mexico, USA, but there weren’t any bats or their guano, so it’s a winner in my book. :) Like most of China, pictures don’t do this place justice. For those of you with over active imaginations, I suggest that you use them here.

I really enjoyed this trip. It was nice to get out into the country side of China and away from the constant construction of Fuyang. Unlike some people who come to China, Phil and I decided to go here by ourselves. Chinese people are always asking who we are taking with us and are usually surprised when we say no one. Because we are American and don’t really know Chinese, I think they assume that we are going to get lost or ripped off and sometimes that happens, but we get to experience more or the “real” China this way.

For instance, the only thing we knew when we left on Thursday was that we wanted to go to the cave, but we had no idea how to get there. We knew there was a bus that could take us close to it, but then we didn’t know where to get on it. So, we hopped in a taxi and told them we wanted to go to the bus station where we could find the bus we needed. Either he didn’t know or he wanted to make some money because he immediately told us for 110 RMB he would take us there. I really didn’t feel like trying to find the bus, so 110 RMB didn’t seem that much to me. Off we went. The country side of China all sorta looks the same. You see the same run down home over and over again. The same poor woman hanging her clothes out to dry. The same little garden. It’s a bit dismal to see that much poverty in a 30 minute taxi ride.

It really makes me appreciate what we have.We’ve got a better apartment than most of the people who are native to Fuyang. When we do have guest come over, they are always commenting on how comfortable it is or how big it is. We actually have hot water and windows that close and aren’t just holes in the walls. Our floors are hard wood and not a slab of grey concrete. When we wash clothes, we just throw them in a washing machine and hang them up to dry. In the apartment right next to us – everyone washes their clothes in the same water troff. The same troff that they use to bathe in as well. But for some reason they have cars. I will never understand how the poorest people can live in the crappiest house, but then have one of the nicest cars. Someone needs to do a study on that for me.

But, I digress. We got to the cave just as the cab man promised, although he did make us climb up a hill to the top of the mountain that he said we take us up to the entrance. For a small second, I thought that he had dropped us off in the middle of no where. Up the hill we did find the entrance, thank God. We thought we were the only ones there because it looked deserted, but I liked it better that way. Big crowds turn me off. We ended up having our own private tour with a woman who spoke about 30 words of English – which is better than nothing I guess. She was very nice, and walked us all around the cave trying to think of English words to describe the formations. We humored her and tried to make it look like we understood.

Eventually, we came across a large tour group, and somehow joined them. If we hadn’t have met up with them, I’m not sure we would have seen the rest of the park. After the tour of the cave, we hopped on a little train that took us through another cave. Before I got on though, the Chinese man I was going to sit next to pointed to the seat trying to tell me that it was dirty. I pulled out one of the tissues I carry around with me and tired to clean it. The seat wasn’t dirty. It was just stained. The conductor of the ride didn’t realize I hadn’t made it on yet and started off without me. I had never heard some many people cry out at once that I wasn’t on yet and for him to wait. Of course, whatever they said was all in Chinese, and I don’t really know what they said – but I bet it was something a lot like that. Thankfully, the ride stopped and I was able to get on. I really felt like I was on the cart ride form Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. If you have seen the movie, you should understand a little of how that ride worked. On the plus side, there was no one chasing us through the tunnel. Heh.

On the other side was a bunch of stairs waiting for us to walk down them. I’m glad it was down and not up because I was in no mood to walk up anymore stairs. China is littered with stairs. It’s amazing. No wonder all of the Chinese are so thin and fit. So we climbed down the stairs and played a little on a playground we came across. It was pretty big and reminded me of a playground I used to play on as I kid. Like Phil said in his post – the adults were playing on it, too and enjoying themselves. I heard lots of the women squealing like little girls and the men were laughing at them. It was a site to see. After that we went down to the lake which looked nothing like the picture on our ticket, but, eh, the view was nice even though it was completely overcast and hazy. We tried to leave at this point, but got chased down by one of the leaders of the tour group. She asked for our tickets and made us follow her down to the boats. I’m glad she found us because we got to enjoy a bamboo boat ride around the lake – which was bigger than I thought. The only down side was all the dead fish we saw floating in the water. Poor fish. After the boat ride it was time to go home, but there was no taxi that we could pay 100 RMB to take us there. We stood at a bus stop for a while, and after two or three went passed without stopping we started to worry.

At this point in time it was about 4:15 in the afternoon and it was getting dark pretty fast. There was a Chinese man standing at the bus stop too, so we tried to find out which bus we needed. After a lot of “bu dongs” we finally understood that the next bus wouldn’t be around until 5:30. That was all fine and dandy except that it was getting cold and the rain was bound start falling eventually. We decided to walk. This is when we realized how far out in the middle of no where we were. I probably should have panicked a little more than I did, but I didn’t. Everyone stared at us as we walked by their houses. We were probably the only white people ever to walk down that road. Finally, I saw an older woman looking at us with a lot of interest and seemed like she wanted to talk. I told her that we wanted to go to Fuyang and Phil asked where the bus was. She said some words that we didn’t quiet understand and before we knew it, she had waved down a white van and we were on it, hopefully going toward home. Not long after we got on the bus it started to rain just like I had feared, but we were in a nice warm van, so I didn’t care. We were afraid for awhile that we were going anywhere but the place we wanted, but about 30 or so minutes later – the van/bus stopped for us and the driver said it was our stop. We made it home AND we knew where we were. It was a flipping miracle. So, I close this post with this . . . Cost of a Taxi to the largest cave is Asia – 110 RMB($13) Two tickets to get into the largest cave in Asia – 196 RMB($29) Two pictures beside some pretty formations – 20 RMB ($3) Getting on a van that you don’t really know where it is taking you – PRICELESS

Categories: China,Fuyang,Humor,Travel
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