May
22
2010

Art Expo in Linyi, China

bya Gabrielle at 8:00 AM

It was a dreary day in Linyi, and because we didn’t have anything else better to do, we decided to go to an Art Expo being held down the street that we were invited to.  It was supposedly a big deal because a lot of high officials were going to be there.  And of course, they wanted some foreign faces to dress up the crowd a bit.  They promised us fun and food,  so we really couldn’t say no.

A caravan of cars showed up at the school expecting more than three willing participants.  Needless to say, they were a bit disappointed  that no one else wanted to brave the rain. They had me knocking on doors to see if there were any other last minute tag alongs, but there were no takers.

When we got there we were taken to a VIP room where two pretty Chinese women pinned roses on us.  Apparently, it indicated we were VIP’s.  When we started taking pictures of the exhibits, there were people taking pictures of us like we were on display.  It was humorous.

Phil with a pretty flower.

VIP Phil

VIP Gabe

VIP Gabe

Chinese women in traditional dresses.

If it hadn’t have been for the chair and the umbrella, I think this would have been an awesome picture.

Jade and other rocks made to look like food.

I don’t know if you can tell, but that isn’t food.  It is jade and other stones made to look like dishes of food.  Neat.

Chinese artwork.

One of the many pieces of artwork we saw.

Chinese artwork.

Another piece.


Book of Heaven

I think this section of the expo was stone that had been naturally shaped and just happened to look like something we could recognize.

Naturally formed rock that looks like a Chinese village.

A naturally formed stone that looks like it is painted.  Looks like a Chinese village.

One creepy ass looking spider-dog.

One creepy ass looking spider-dog.

Food. Umm.  Not so yumm.Nice presentation, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eat the entire thing.  I made my host happy by eating the tail, and that was enough to almost make me hurl.



Categories: art,China,Chinese,Food,Linyi
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May
21
2010

Umbrellas and Bellies

bya Gabrielle at 2:43 AM

Hrm.  Nothing all that exciting has been happening lately, at least nothing I have felt was really blog worthy.  I take my camera every where I go, though, and occasionally I will snap a picture of something neat.  The weather has gotten a lot better here in the last few weeks.  It is now umbrella and belly weather.  By that I mean, all the girls have umbrellas with them where ever they go.  They don’t like to get any sun.  The whiter you are the better.  And the men roll up their shirts and show off their big beer bellies for all the world to see.  It’s pretty funny.  I’ll try to get a picture of that soon.

In about a month and some change, Phil and I will get to enjoy a two month vacation.  I know we intend to travel, but I don’t know where yet.  I keep flipping through my guide books, but I haven’t decided on a place or an area.  There are so many interesting places I want to see.  I wish we had a little more money so we could do more, but so is life.  We really want to take a trip to Japan, but the plane tickets are pricey.  And I don’t even want to know how much it would cost to eat, sleep there, and sight see.  I am sure we could afford to go, but there wouldn’t be a lot of money left over to really do anything.  Walking around would be fun, I guess.  We’ll see.

And now for some random pictures.

Chinese Pizza

Cheaper than Pizza Hut.  Not as good, but not bad.

Ice Cream Man

Almost too cute to eat.  Those are red beans for his eyes and nose.

Cormorants - Chinese Fishing

It is strange.  We have a lot of water ways in Linyi, but I never see anyone fishing.  This was the first time I have seen Cormorants here.  I have no idea how they fit four boats into that little truck.

Start 'em young.

I see a lot of strange things in China, but this just about had me rolling in the streets.

Categories: China,Food,Humor,Linyi
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May
12
2010

Qufu Drifting

bya Gabrielle at 2:43 AM

You can stumble upon the strangest things in China, including cars drifting in parking lots.  The video below is from Qufu, China.  It was one of the very first things we saw when we left our hostel to get some grub the first night we were there.  The yellow car in the video did a much better job, and was actually what caught my attention, but by the time I pulled out my camera, it was the next car’s turn.  I really did expect the car to loose control at some point and crash into the wall. I love China.  It is always surprising me and making me say, “What?  Did I just see that?”

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May
03
2010

Qufu, China

bya Gabrielle at 12:32 AM

I always seem to start out my posts with, a few something or other ago, Phil and I did this or went here . . .  I suppose I just take too long to actually get whatever it is that we did posted. I’ll try to get better at it.  Now that Phil and I can use both of our computers at the same time, that may actually be possible.  Hooray, for wireless!!  Right now, I am enjoying  a wonderful three day vacation because Monday is Labor Day.  In years previous, it used to be a week long vacation, but this is the first year it has only been a day – at least I think that is right.  I really don’t know why they changed it, but I suppose they had a good reason.

Last weekend, Phil and I decided to change up our scenery a little by going to Qufu.  The city is famous because Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, was born there.  He also taught there and of course, that is where he was buried.  See the map below to get an idea of where it is located in China.  Qufu is only about two hours north-west of Linyi by train.  When we went to buy our tickets a few days in advance, I had no idea how much they were going to cost, but was pleasantly surprised to find a soft seat only cost 24 yuan.  I saw another lady with a ticket to Beijing and her ticket said 113 yuan, but I don’t know if that was for a soft seat, hard seat, or standing only.  Yes, they do sell standing only tickets.  Those were the only ones available to us coming back.  I get to that later.

Qufu Map

Getting to Qufu wasn’t a problem at all.  Phil and I had to battle the crowd on the train and peel back our sardine can to breath better, but that is a train in China for you.  I was just happy to have seats.  When we first got on, we did find that our seats were already occupied, but once they saw our tickets, they got up.  There was no real place to put our backpacks, so we had put them in our laps.  That was fun.  At least it was only a two hour ride.

Five or six stops later, one of the girls we were sitting by said, in English, that we had arrived.  The train only stops for a minute or so, so you have to book it to the platform . . . except in our case, there was no platform to walk out on to.  The car that we were in had stopped short of it and we had to jump down to the gravel.  It wasn’t that far, really, but with a big backpack on, it felt farther.  When I landed, the weight of my bag nearly made me fall flat on my face.  While we were walking to the platform, the train station employees kept telling us to step away from the train . . . but there wasn’t much space between the train and the wall, so they yelled at us until we got to a point along the path that they deemed safe.

It was about nine at night when we got to the Qufu train station.  When we walked out front, there were no taxis or anything.  For a moment, we wondered how we were going to make it to our hostel, but then a little old woman walked up to us and asked where we needed to go.  She pulled out her cell phone after we told her and we could hear her telling the person she was talking to that she had some foreigners that needed a ride.  A few moments later, a taxi showed up, and off we went.  The guy didn’t use his meter, and I really didn’t care.  He only got an extra five or so yuan.

The only thing bad about some hostels, is that they have a curfew.  After getting to the hostel, checking in and getting a bit settled, we only had an hour to find some place to eat.  When I asked the lady at the front desk if there were any places open, she smiled and said that maybe if we were lucky we would find something.  I guess we were lucky.  Just down the street, we found a fast food chicken restaurant called CNHLS.  I have no idea how you pronounce that, but I heard another foreigner calling it Knuckles.  It sorta looks like that . . . I guess.  The restaurant was a lot like KFC or the KFC look alike, Dico’s.  The food wasn’t bad and it was cheap.  After we got done eating, we ran back to the hostel, and luckily got back before they closed their doors.

Chinese Chicken Chain - CNHLS

We awoke the next morning to beautiful weather and birds chirping.  The sky was actually blue.  This made me very happy.  Below is the picture of the courtyard at the hostel where you can eat or chill.  It was very nice.

Qufu International Youth Hostel

The first thing  on our to do list was to visit the cemetery where Confucius was buried, along with the rest of his descendants.  Apparently, people are still being buried there today.  After seeing it myself, I told Phil that when I finally kick the bucket, he is to convince the people of Qufu that I am distant, distant relative of Confucius – it was just that pretty.   I’ll stop with the chatter for a bit, so that you can enjoy the pictures.

Horse drawn carriage.

One way to travel around Qufu.

Entrance to the Cemetery

The entrance to the cemetery.

Path with very old trees on either side.

Path leading into the cemetery.  Lots of old trees on either side.

Pretty blue bird with a long tail.

These birds were all over the cemetery.  So pretty.

Purple flowers every where.

We must have come at the perfect time.  These purple flowers were every where.

Up close with the purple flower.

Here is what one looks like up close.

Random tombstone.

Random tombstone.

Statue

I am not sure of the significance, but this one guy kept trying to throw some coins on top of the statue’s folded arms.

Confucius Tomb

Confucius’ Tomb.

Confucius' Tomb

Another view of the tomb.

Pretty Picture

I took a billion pictures while I was there, this is just one that I liked.

Twisted tree.

A pretty twisted tree.

More pretty pictures.

More pretty pictures.

No smoking.

The no smoking tomb.

Dry water bed.

Dry water bed.

After we finished walking around the cemetery, we decided to head back into town.  We went back to that “Knuckles” place and ate some more chicken.  After that, we waked around and did a whole lot of nothing the rest of the day.  And we did the same the next day, too.  There were more things we could have done, but I didn’t feel like shelling out money for some of the attractions, and plus, I was a bit tired.  I didn’t mind relaxing.

Phil and his Chicken.

Phil and his Chicken.  He loves meat more than me sometimes.

Qufu Park

A park we stumbled across in Qufu.

Yet another pretty picture.

This was at the top of a man-made mountain.

Crazy Wysteria

Some crazy Wisteria.

Chinese Mermaids

Chinese Mermaids.

Bee Beard

Found this on the back window of a car.  Weird.

Okay, last but not least, our trip home.  It happened like this.  We stood on the platform and waited for the train to roll up.  Of course, the place we were told to wait was not where the door stopped, so we had to run down to where it was.  The train was already stuffed full of people, so it was really, really hard to squeeze ourselves and our bags on.  A Chinese man kept yelling at everyone to squeeze harder.

Phil and I, before we left Linyi, had bought some folding chairs because we knew that we would be standing.  Our seats were almost useless because there was absolutely no room to put them.  After the train started moving and the people started spreading out into the aisles, we finally found a place in between where one car started and the other ended.  Let me tell you, it was one bumpy ride.  The cars constantly shook.  And every 5 minutes, someone needed to make their way through us, so we had to keep standing up and sitting down, much to the amusement of every person watching us.  We were the only foreigners in our section.

About an hour into our ride, a man in uniform came walking through our area with two Swedish people.  We asked them where they were going and they said that they thought he was going to give them seats.  I looked at the guy in uniform and asked if we were supposed to go with him, too. Our conversation was mostly in hand gestures because I had no idea how to say what I needed to in Chinese.  He told us yes, and off we went.  The four of us walked through 8 packed cars of young people, old people, and monks before we reached the seats they had provided us.  If it hadn’t been for my over sized back pack, it probably wouldn’t have been so bad.  When we finally plopped out butts down, I was so tired and sweaty, it was amazing.  I felt special, though, that they had made room for us.  I guess they thought that the foreigners should not be standing in the smoking section for the entirety of their journey.  I must say, it was a very nice gesture.

Standing room only on the train.

Fuzzy Phil.

Fuzzy Gabe

And Fuzzy, Gabe.  Not a flattering picture – AT ALL.

And that was our journey in a nut shell.  Can’t wait until we go to Qingdao or some other city near by.

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