Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Off the Wall

Two weeks ago we tried to make it out to a different part of the Great Wall, a more scenic spot where you can actually hike on top of the ruins of the wall. Unfortunately, we were taken advantage of by a taxi driver who tried taking us to a different place in order to extort more money from us. So this week, our boss John drove us out to Jiao Shan, where he patiently waited for over two hours while we hiked and climbed to our heart's content.

It was a crisp, cool day, with blue sky (a rarity in Qinhuangdao), and we were practically the only people out there. We hiked along the "safe" part of the wall for a while, before a dead end told us to go no further. Not deterred, we hopped off the wall and bushwacked our way to a lower part of the "dangerous" wall, where we again climbed up until the wall literally ran out.
"Dangerous" part

The way up was really steep, but the scariest parts were the ladders (I'm terrified of heights).

And no public place in China would be complete without it's ridiculous Chinglish signs. I'm trying people, but I'm only one ESL teacher.

Ssshhh, the grass is sleeping

After our exhausting hike, John took us to a steamed pork bun shop, where for about $6 (total!) we feasted on pork buns, corn soup, pickled veggies, and thinly sliced pork heart. It was all delicious, but I think I ate too much!

Next, we drove around the Shanhaiguan area for a bit, stopping to see the Old Dragon's Head, which we visited back in August, and making a lengthier stop at a fishing pier, where we walked over a path paved with sea star carcasses and broken crabs.
Laolongtao, Old Dragon's Head

I guess the fishermen can't eat the sea stars, so they just let them die on the pier. Andrew even found a beautiful purple and yellow sea star, and I liberated it by returning it to the ocean. I hope it made it.

We didn't arrive home until after 3pm, and then we prepared for a visit from Genie, a Russian ESL teacher, and Jeff, a university teacher from Colorado. I made pumpkin soup and homemade baguettes, with delicious persimmons for dessert. If you've never had a persimmon, leave right now and scour your area for them. They're one of the most delicious fruits I've ever had. Ive been eating about 1kg a week. Be careful, because if they're not ripe, they can be very bitter.

Next weekend we're heading to Beijing again to stock up for Thanksgiving and celebrate Andrew's birthday a little early with a King Fu show and a trip to the Natural History Museum.

Here are the weird foods of the month:

"Yes We Can" WWII beer

Shrimp donuts
Sprinkled Nachos???

Until I finally get Picasa up and running again, you can view all photos at Facebook.

If you're interested in getting him a gift for his 27th birthday, he really wants ITunes gift cards. :)


  1. Okay. I'm officially jealous! Packing bags and kidnapping Anne- we'll be on the next plane!

  2. oh my gosh, those signs had me laughing hysterically, and shrimp donuts?!?! i love it. this just made my day. i am in the midst of finals week, writing a jillion papers and studying. this escape to your life was just what i needed.

    also, a good friend i great up with is now in the peace corps in sierra leone, he's been there six months now, and i just found his blog too. so many of the photos remind me of the ones you posted from bamako. sigh. he's also teaching english, killing and eating his own chickens, getting water from wells. i should send him your advice on how to make your own cheese. :)

  3. that should say "grew" up with...