Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Photo explosion!

... would make a good band name.

I'm going to combine the next two days here, because I wasn't present for a lot of them. I had to work the next day, and the rest of the crew didn't get back from Shanghai until that evening. As to what went on there, you'll have to ask Dan, Aaron, or Lindsay.

So that evening the crew roll back into Xiaoshan, and went to KTV for the evening. Now as you've heard karaoke is big in Asia. When you went to go out with friends, you don't go to a bar. You go to karaoke. Of course karaoke is an evil Japanese word, so here they call it KTV, as in karaoke television. You get your own private room, and go nuts. We got the foreigner special, which includes a bunch of beers and a tray of fruit they did not charge me for. They don't have an astounding collection of English songs, but they do alright.

After KTV we pretty much called it a night in anticipation of the hike we were undertaking the next day. Up to Xiaoshan's mountain, the only sort of famous Beigan. Along the way we stopped at a park that I've walked by many times but never went inside. Something I did not know though, was that they have a "Special Room for the large-scale masterpiece sky propping stone". Did you know the entire sky is held up from this room? So you better thank Xiaoshan that they have taken upon this terrible burden to hold up the sky. Do you want the entire sky crashing down on your head? I don't.


Right, so off we go to Beigan proper. The start is a large set of stairs with a stone obelisk at the top. It's supposed to be some monument to Chinese soldiers who fell to the Japanese. (seriously, they hate those guys) There was actually some school assembly going on as we arrived, which dispersed soonafter. So here there are running away from the scary foreigners, along with a look at the stairs we just climbed. As far as Beigan's other interesting spots... not too much! It's just a mountain to hike on. There is at the end an old fort from the WWII era that you are free to walk about, and do what you will at. No tours or anything like that, just an old building in the woods. It is slightly creepy, and probably would be really creepy at night. There's also a neat bridge you cross over emblazoned with the motto "XIAOSHAN IS MARCHING TOWARDS THE WORLD". What they don't say is that the world is marching the hell away from this crazy city.

Of course the proper ending to a day of hiking are drinks at the 5 star Jinma Palace nearby. I quite like Jinma. It's a 5 star hotel with nowhere near 5 star prices. They make a killer martini that they could easily charge $8 for, but they only charge $4. Dan got a something something rainbow drink, which looks like Care Bear poop.

We had a little bit more time before I had to run to work, so we stopped off at Tesco to see what we could find. Aaron found a billion tea bottles that he fell in love with. I found T-shirts with Engrish on them. We were going to eat dinner at an amazing Szechuan restaurant around the corner, but I had to run back to teach a class. Yllen and I met everyone after that for a late dinner. Seriously though, this Szechuan place has the best sweet and sour pork you will have in your life.

After another full day of excitement, we decided to go back home. I tried to convince the cab driver we were Mao Zedong's kids, who did not seem to believe me.

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