This week the school organized a trip to Laoshan— Lao mountain. It is a very famous mountain and is known as one of the birthplaces of Taoism. It turns out that Laoshan is not just the mountain; it’s the entire area around it as well. It’s huge! First we climbed the mountain, all 1132.7 meters . . . the view and the mountain itself were breathtakingly beautiful.
Almost at the top we entered a cave that was pitch-black, wet and slippery. We had no flashlights and depended on the flashes of our cameras and all of our senses to lead us through it. Very fun!
On the way down we hiked for a bit and then took the cable car the rest of the way. The view was also fantastic, and the lush greenery beneath our feet was beautiful.
We then had lunch on the beach and went to the Taoist temples, no longer on the mountain but still in the large Laoshan area. There are many temples, statues and praying areas around this space. A lot of people lit incense sticks and prayed as we wandered around—being tourists and taking lots of pictures of the beautiful buildings and statues.
We returned to May 4th Square at night, in the heart of the city, and saw the sculpture beautifully lit up. We also returned to the American restaurant, the Diner.
After that, we discovered Q bar, a lovely bar in the Shangri-La hotel where every Wednesday is ladies’ night and there is a live band playing popular songs. They are fantastic at getting the crowd in a great mood with their singing and choreography.
This week we also began an “extreme makeover” project with one of the restaurants we frequent between the dorm and our class building. We call it “restaurant #2” because we still can’t read the Chinese name. One of the guys from our group thought it would be nice to help them repaint the restaurant’s façade, since it was showing signs of heavy wear and the staff is always so nice to us. We all agreed and got to work. We began peeling off the old paint with scrapers and then the restaurant owner found an old sander, so we used that to continue the job. When their dinner shift began we paused for the day, but they got impatient, so they themselves painted over the half-scraped wall with the paint we hadn’t yet finished dyeing red . . . it was still pink! Now they had a very bright pink façade, but hey, it looked smooth and new and the color attracts attention!
On the weekend five of us went to another school trip to Qufu and Tai’an. In Qufu we visited a Confucian temple, one of many in China,
and his estate and family’s cemetery, where he is buried.
The next day we went to Tai’an, to climb Taishan—Tai mountain—at 1532.7 meters above sea level. This mountain we half-climbed. We took a cable car first, through the thick, white fog that enveloped the mountain that morning. It felt like we were in a fantasy movie, floating through the fog without seeing the cable holding us up or anything else around us, not even the other cable cars! It was amazing.
Even though the fog was thick and stagnant, the view from Taishan was amazing and the trip was well worth it.
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