Day 97 - Mountain Climbing

Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains

There’s a school field trip today. Two small parts of me wanted to say no. First was the one that wanted to sleep in, as the trip required us to be at the school at 6:45am. 

The second part was one I detest, which calls me to avoid people, stay in my house, and not try new things for fear of embarrassment. This stems from when I was a kid and was picked on quite a lot, even into my high school years. Now, however, even if things do go bad (rarely), it doesn’t bother me, yet the lingering urge to avoid situations still lingers. Luckily, my drive to try new things and take advantage of free trips are more powerful.

It’s a 2 hour bus ride to the Xian Xi Shan (shan = mountain), which, I think, are westward. During the bus ride, they handed out bottles of coffee, water, cans of sweet tea, and packaged buns. Nice. 

Dan’s Game

Dan suggested we play a word game where one person thinks of the Prime Word, and gives the first letter to the other players. Another player has to think of a word that starts with that letter. They give a hint. If the first player guesses the word, nothing happens. If a different player - one that didn’t come up with the Prime Word - is able to guess the letter, they say “contact” and count to 5. The first player then has to guess the word within those 5 seconds. If they do, the others have to try again. If the other players guess correctly, then the first player must tell the next letter of their word. 

The Parking Lot
First player: C
Second player: I have a word. It’s a naval weapon.
Third player: Contact! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Both Second and Third player answer: Cannon!
First player: Ok, C-O

Continue until another player can guess the Prime Word.

Ascending The Mountain

It’s an overcast, rainy day. This is actually great because then the mountains are veiled in mist, and the climb has something to cool us. The downside is that the already uneven, shifty steps are rain-slicked. I like that descriptor, rain-slicked.

We take a group photo, and get to climbing. Shimou wasn’t quite wearing the best shoes for this excursion and waited partway up. As it turns out, she was only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way to the top. I was following a couple others, joking as we went up, occasionally resting, and reaching the top. Dan, somehow, beat us there. Then again, he had been training for a marathon at one point.


The new teacher, Dexter, and Mary were also on the trip. I descended with them, Aurora at our back with her two friends. Somehow, we lost Aurora on the way down and it ended up just being Mary, me, and the new guy. Sucka! I'm not the new guy anymore! He’s pretty cool, easy to talk to, and seems open to trying new things.

On the way down, we notice that only the warning signs are in English, but none of the directions. It’s important to know not to use your cellphone in lightning storms, but not important to know which way to go… I guess. Noticeably, there are no signs saying "no littering" and it is... unfortunately evident.

Bottom BBQ

Aurora got annoyed that we “left her behind,” which… I guess we did. In my defense, I was keeping up with Dexter and Mary, and figured they’d keep up with us as well.

Shaky-legged and hungry, we reconvened with Shimou and found Dan - again somehow beating us - magically sitting at the BBQ area. Chinese BBQ is a bit different. They have a small metal trough placed on a chair, and they keep putting hot coals into it. They fan the embers while placing kabobs over them, or other such things onto a small grate that will hold loose items. Not what I had in mind when people said “Barbecue,” but it works.

Bartering for Pennies

We ate, we drank, we were merry. Dan showed me a whistle he bought, and directed me, Aurora, and her friend, Anastasia, to the stand. He said he bought it for ¥5 and that I should practice my bartering skills. “What am I going to do? Say ¥4?” Actually, yeah, I did. Only as a joke, really, and to see if he’d accept it. 2 of the ceramic bird whistles for ¥8. 20% off simply by asking.

The TOP!
Renting an Apartment as a Chinese person in China

While eating and drinking, Jen told us a story about a friend of hers who is Chinese, and is required to move continually. Jen finally asked her why: It’s because she has a Chinese passport. The school puts her up in apartments with foreign teachers, but the apartment doesn’t want to allow her to sign an actual lease, for whatever reason. Every time her roommate(s) decide to move, she has to do likewise. Sucks.

On our way out, I stop in the bathroom to take a leak before the 2 hour drive. These bathrooms, mind you, have no barriers between their squatty potties, nor their ceramic trough for urinating. I enter to find a guy pinching one out, staring at me. Lovely. I ignore him while he finishes his business and leaves. On my way out, I notice he didn’t flush, leaving a steaming pile to incense the room. 

Oh, China.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]


Editing Music
The Big Parade
The Lumineers

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