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Published: November 23rd 2012
Today started off just right with a sleep in until 8am. Some days the body clock kicks in and you are awake and that is that; but today no 6am get up and 7am 1 hour bus trip…… no sireeee.
Switched on the TV, lay back in my warm snug bed and watched “Take That” reunion concert at Wembley Stadium. What’s not to like about 4 gorgeous guys who can sing and dance and harmonize?
Late breakfast of toast and tea. For anyone familiar with Chinese bread, you will know it is sweet and if you attached a balloon it would float away. Getting whole grain bread to Western tastes here is like searching for the Holy Grail. Ole supermarket in Parc66 has the only one that I have found that runs close.
Off on the Number 3 bus to explore the area my translator and her boyfriend showed me last night off QuanCheng St. There is a food alleyway called Lotus Flower Street which runs parallel to this shopping mecca and if you go right to the end of this there is an imposing building, and around the corner there are
Map of the area
Green flowers are the springs, red lane is the alley to follow
springs, small canals and old Jinan complete with a swimming area surrounded by old original houses.
I was really keen to see this in the day light and hoped I could find my way, as it was a labyrinth of old houses and narrow alleyways.
Buses here are amazing, with a scrum attack, no holds barred, elbows out and attack approach to getting on them; with people barely on and squeezed in with the doors just closing. People will pay at the front and then race around to the back door to get in, or even go in the back door and pass along a note to pay which amazingly makes it way to the front paying box.
But once inside the normal society rules apply again, with old people and young Mums and children offered seats. Today 2 very old tiny people got on and somehow without any spoken word, a man in the middle of the bus got up and these old people were squeezed like toothpaste in a tube along the bus and got a seat.
Getting off is another adventure with people almost simultaneously breathing in
and out to let people get to the doors.
The street food in this area is amazing and varied; today I tried a deep fried banana, think banana cake but crunchy and hot. And my favourite lamb skewers by the Muslim minority people.
Yesterday we passed by what looked like 2 bars right near the end of the street. Bars like in the Western sense do not really exist; you drink when you have a meal, so I popped into the one with all the books and comfy couches and was served an excellent coffee for Y28. Love the contrasts of China, sitting in the window watching the old people come out of their houses, watching the tourists, and sipping on an excellent latte.
Right at the end of this street is an imposing building which turned out to be a Confucius temple complex. For the paltry sum of Y10 I bought a ticket and entered a quiet and serene world, fish ponds, springs, temples, decorative gates and pagodas, and the bonus was an art exhibition in the end 2 temples.
I saw nothing advertising this at all; I just
stumbled in and was warmly welcomed with tea, escorted to another building and photographed looking at the art works. They were oil paintings of Jinan and surrounding areas, stunningly brilliant; and the ones I saw had a price tag of Y3000 to Y50, 000. I was given a great booklet about the artist with reproductions of the works I saw.
Just a little further walk north and parallel to this is a small canal and more springs. Turn right into Yong Yuan Hu Tong, right near the male toilets which will take you to the canals.
This street is called Qu Shui Ting Jie.
This area is a mix of artists and residents, people were using the clear spring water to wash clothes, cars, and dishes; ducks and geese were swimming in it, stunning area with weeping willows and stone bridges.
The water is clear and pure, shallow with a little weed.
Just ahead lies Daming Lake which is a huge lake area created by the 72 springs in Jinan.
I was keen to try to find the swimming area which we saw last night so walked south along the
Local out for his walk
So many people in their 60's and 70's so small, the result of the Great Leap Forward Food Famine
canal and then into the narrow alley.
Go past the spring, past an alleyway, you should be able to see QuanCheng Lu in the distance and turn right onto WangFuZi Jie.
Now the outside air is around 5-7 at the moment, I’m dressed in 3 very warm layers, and in the middle of all the houses is this outdoor swimming area. A large group of men and 1 woman were swimming and enjoying the beautiful clear spring water. The water temperature was certainly warmer than the outside air; people were vigorously jumping up and down before and after their swim, skipping, and enjoying each other’s company outside the swimming area.
They good naturedly tried to encourage me to swim, between us we shared about 10 words in each language and had a laugh.
Next up I ventured into Parc66 6th
Level and the Palace Cinema and saw the movie 2012 in 3D and English, Chinese subtitles.
Excellent staff person helped me today who spoke English; there was an English/Chinese board with what movies were on and when etc.
The movie was about the demise of the world as predicted by
With someone that wanted my photo with them
the Mayan Calendar. Y70 for a seat, comparable to Australia prizes and the funny thing is they have cheap Tuesday at the movies too.
And to complete my day some excellent Blue Vein Castello cheese, crusty wholemeal bread, green apple and local red wine. Ahhhhhhh contentment.
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