Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Trip to Chengdu, Part II

Our trip to China was full of adventures. In this post, I’ll just share one that is representative of about eight different “super activities” that we went on. On our second Friday in China, we got up early and went to the back side of Qing Cheng Shan. We hired a driver who took us on the two hour trip. Not knowing very much about the area, it took us a while to get started. We were buying water bottles and going to the bathroom, not knowing that it was 30 minutes from that point to the place where the trail would actually start. But there was a beautiful little city that we walked through before getting on the trail and we saw a Buddhist Temple and some other interesting sites (more on that ancient city in a little bit).

When we got on the trail I was amazed at how beautiful everything was. It was like a lush tropical rainforest mountain. There were waterfalls along the hike and there were several times that I thought, “This spot is so beautiful that in America a person might hike 3 hours just to see this spot as the final destination” and yet, on this trail it was just part of the journey.
After hiking for a couple hours (with plenty of rests along the way) many kids wanted to go back. Levi was carrying two somewhat heavy backpacks, so he definitely had the roughest side of things. Lani wanted to keep going a bit further because there was a tram that would take you down the mountain. So Rebekah, Lani, Katrina and Annemarie continued up, and I went down with the rest. At first Levi and Joseph went faster than Maria and me, so we arranged to meet at this little pagoda. When we got there, Levi shared an interesting tale. He and Joseph had been hanging out, when some woodcutters came and sat down (it was their hut). Joseph and Levi got up to leave, but the woodcutters motioned them to stay and offered them some food and then some cigarettes. It was their first time being offered a smoke, and happily, they declined!

When Maria and I got there, we joined them for lunch and we saw an interesting sight. A butterfly was caught in a spider web. The butterfly was relatively large, especially considering the size of the web and the spider. Levi predicted that the butterfly would escape. It was flapping its wings like crazy and we thought the web would break. But after a couple of minutes the butterfly appeared to tire and the spider began spinning webs around it. In the end, the butterfly was captured. That was fun to see (for us, not the butterfly).
At the same time I got to the bottom of the mountain, Lani arrived on her tram, so it was fun to see her and the kids from that angle. We had lots of fun stopping and talking with people along the way. As always, many people wanted to take pictures with Rebekah and other family members.

As we were walking back through the old town we saw a place where you put your feet in the fish tanks and they nibble at your feet. Everyone wanted to do it, and I was happily able to negotiate for half the price so everyone did the fish nibble. Lani shrieked when the fish started nibbling her feet; I also didn’t like it, but the kids all loved it. A crowd gathered around while we were present and there was plenty of good conversation.
I got everybody but Joseph ice cream (he didn’t want any) and on the way out Joseph said he wanted to eat “pig nose” (I had told people earlier that if they would eat it, I would buy it). So we bought the smallest pig nose and sure enough, Joseph had a bite. Then others wanted to say they had tried it, so Levi, Maria and Annemarie had a bite. Joseph had a couple of more. Everybody said it was spicy and most ate just for the future glory of being able to say they had done so. We can eat hard things! J

From Maria: “July 11, 2014: I could write 100 pages on what happened this week….Basically they just chopped the nose right off the pig’s face. I had a small bite off the edge of the nose. It was chewy, rubbery, spicy and well…kind of good…We had fish eat our feet. Well not your feet, the dead skin on your feet. So how it works is you have to sit on a couch and you put your feet into the tank with lots of small fish. The fish will eat the dead skin of your feet. I think it’s like a massage. Mom sure didn’t.”

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