Ma'an Mountain Forest Park


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June 14th 2009
Published: June 14th 2009
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Another weekend, another party, another lesson on the sidecar. Last night, it was birthday party time for one of the teachers here in Vanke, complete with a fireworks display. At midnight we moved to a local club to carry on the festivities. We only stayed till 2 in the morning because we didn't want to be too tired and hung over for our ride today. The others partied till the wee hours of the morning. Today, we went for a ride through Ma'an Mountain Forest Park, another large park in Wuhan on the side of East Lake. The skies were clear and the temperature hovered around 35 Celsius for the day. The hot weather is supposed to continue for the foreseeable future.

Tom and Jhon are slowly introducing me to the intricacies of driving this monster bike. It is heavy and cumbersome but I have progressed quite a bit. Not so many screams from the sidecar today! It is fun to drive and always gets lots of interest from people wherever we stop. I should have the thing sort of mastered by the time my own is ready in the next week or so. Except for a few wanderings onto roadside grassy parking lots, we stayed on pavement for the day. Only once did we go into a field, and I managed to take it easy and avoid all the large rocks jumping out at me from everywhere.

My first lesson was how to storm the park gate to avoid paying the entrance fee! The two in front of us just drove through and we followed as we were being waved to the side by the attendants. Never a dull moment in this place! Jhon told us later over lunch that they said we lived in the park and were foreign scientists studying the monkeys (more about them later).

It was a great place for me to practice driving as we wound our way along a narrow road through the forest up and down hills, while managing to avoid foot traffic and parked cars along the way. Our original plan was to buy some food at the first picnic area we came to and have a picnic. Jhon and company went in search of stuff and came back saying the meat was not anything they would buy. The picnic tables were very cool; each attached to an open faced roof and could be rolled around to be in the shade or the sun, whatever you preferred. We decided to hold off and have lunch later at a restaurant.

Next we carried on to Monkey Hill where monkeys were both visible in the trees and in a caged area. We were told the imprisoned ones are there for bad behavior. It was the middle of the day, so the monkeys in the trees were pretty calm. Apparently, they have been known to get out of hand with visitors, depending on their mood. And there are signs everywhere saying that the color red gets them going so beware if you are wearing it.

Then it was on to Dove Square where our crazy friends did a few 360s with their bikes on the open field. I was happy just to manage to get down the hillside onto the grass in one piece. I am feeling a lot more confident with the machine but am no expert yet.

Lunch was next and we were treated to another incredible feast of local food. Today it was spicy shrimp, peanuts in some kind of spicy sauce, lotus root, an eel and frog dish, pork fish (go figure) , pork balls. and some other veggies. I swear we never have the same dish twice no matter how many times we eat out.
I got a quick lesson in using the reverse gear in the restaurant parking lot to the amusement of a bunch of onlookers.

The upgrades for my bike have arrived and it will soon be ready for me to take possession of. Hopefully in the next week or two. I am getting pumped now that I have had a couple of weekends to see what these things are capable of. Until the next time...




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