Dave's Travel Journal

A vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking. - Earl Wilson


A Walk to Longji

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These beds are like oak boards. Man are they tough on the back. I pulled the sheet back and discovered that I'm sleeping on a just a box spring. What happened to my mattress?

We have a nice console between the beds that controls our TV, room lights, and the bed lights. Trouble is the knob on my side controls Ruth's light and the knob on her side controls my light. But at least they work.

There's a hot pot in all the rooms. Ours has it's own separate shelf halfway up the wall so that the cord can reach the outlet two feet from the ceiling. Don't ask. Who knows?

But those are just cosmetic things. The disfunction is in the bathroom. As in our other bathroom the entire place is tiled and the entire room is a shower. Never mind there are three different kinds of tile. When they ran out of one kind they simply started using another. Again just cosmetic. The difficulty Ruth had was with the shower controls and sprayer. The controls are on the left wall but the shower sprayer is on the right. The water tube loops up the wall on the left, through a hole in the ceiling, across the top and then back down the wall on the right. If you don't want the sprayer to get you in the back, you have to remove it from the holder and face it away from you. But it's not quite long enough to walk over and reach the left side so you kind of spread eagle, one hand on the sprayer and the other on the knobs until the temperature is correct. Ruth learned how to do that. I heard some yells last night from the direction of the bathroom before she got it right.

For me the challenge is the sink. The faucet is loose and the hot and cold water controls are the reverse of the shower. This keeps things interesting. When I run the water it just drains onto the floor (why not?) and runs between my legs to the shower drain in the floor of the bathroom. This morning, when I ran the hot water for shaving, I nearly burned my toes off. Now I know why they provide the rubber slippers.

Just about the time we got used to these things it's time to leave. We have to leave later today.

The girls went off to Longji while I ate breakfast. I'm to meet them in an hour or so. While eating I met Susanna Thorntons who is riding through Hong Kong and China with a destination of UK on, get this, a bicycle! When you get bored of this blog check our her blog here. It includes audio too. Cool.

We took a two mile walk along the narrow stone foot path to a small village of Longji. The foot path is about two feet wide, sometimes less in places. Often there is water and mud running over the stones so it's a bit dicey. If you slip, it's a long way down. There are no handrails out here. Occasionally I get a whiff of pigs, ox, or chickens. We're in the country now.

Few tourists go to the smaller villages. Mostly they come on busses to the parking area. The tours swarm up the hill, have a beer and walk back down. But you get a better feel for the place if you stay at least a few days. Since Longji is two miles away it doesn't get the tourist busses that Pingan gets. So the people lean out their window and say hello as we pass below. We say a few things to them in Chinese. They invite us in for tea and a meal but we just sit and have tea with them. Sometimes they have a small child that is at first shy but eventually opens up when they see their mother laugh with the strangers. One small little boy of two years wanted to show me his socks. I took the picture and showed him his face on the viewing screen of the digital. He smiled. The mother is happy to see her picture too.







We walked around the village but had to get back to our waiting driver at the bottom of the hill. We had a quick lunch and headed down. Lynn took the easy way down by chair. I let the woman carry my bags this time. I knew them by now and trusted them. I paid 10 yuan ($1.50), the best $1.50 I've spent on the trip so far.



We had to fly out to Qingdao but our flight wasn't until 9:30, or so we thought. We wasted time in Guilin talking to a man that's an exchange student for NYU in January. He's leaving his wife and beautiful son for a year while he teaches in New York City.

At 7:00 p.m. on the way to the airport Lynn checked our tickets and discovered the flight was for 8:20! Yikes. Our driver, Xu, floored it and got us there 45 minutes before the plane took off.

I sat back, exhausted from all the hiking. I'm coming down with a cold so the flight didn't feel so great. But it was smooth and got us into Qingdao by 12:00 a.m. Bill and his business associates picked us up and took us to the hotel.

The room looks out into the Yellow Sea. What a spectacular view. But more about that later.

....dave
Avoid suspicion: when you're walking through your neighbor's melon patch, don't tie your shoe. -Chinese proverb
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