Xuedou Mountain: How to get there from Ningbo
Xuedoushan is a beautiful mountain near Ningbo. It has a lovely temple, a huge bronze Buddha, and an awesome gorge hike lined with some pretty spectacular waterfalls.
1. Go to the South bus station, 408 Mauan Rd, Haishu District // 汽车南站 (Qiche nanzhan), 马园路408号
Note: There are apparently *two* south bus stations, so make sure you’re at the one that’s small, chaotic, outdoors, and in sight of the Howard Johnson Plaza.
2. Join the queue for the bus to Xikou 溪口. You do not need to buy tickets beforehand. The buses are small (19 passengers, I think), and come pretty regularly. The journey will take about an hour and costs 12RMB.
3. When you get to Xikou, the bus will stop at the back of the bus station. Walk to the front and take the #106 bus to Xuedoushan (the end of the line). It takes around 25 minutes and costs 1RMB.
Note: This is not Ningbo; your Ningbo bus card will not work.
4. The ticket office is to the left of the main gate. They have several different ticket options for the different parts of the park. The all-inclusive tickets cost 230RMB. We bought tickets for 150RMB that include the temple, various waterfalls, and the house that someone (I think Chang Kai Shek) was confined to. We ended up buying more tickets in the park (20RMB to go to the top of the Buddha; 50RMB for the monorail/cable car).
5. The waterfall hike is three kilometres long, and to get out of the gorge you either need to hike back three super-steep km, or buy the monorail tickets. You can save a little by not buying the cable car ticket and hiking up the last cliff face, but it is near-vertical stairs. About 1.8km down the gorge, a sign tells you to turn back if you’ve reached that spot after 15.10 because you won’t make the last monorail at 15.40. This is not strictly true: we went on and were able to get a monorail at about 16.00.
In honour of the fourth snow day this week :)
This one time, in China, I saw a chipmunk in a park. It was really exciting.
And that, in a nutshell, is the difference between my home country and my adopted country.
I’M GOING HOME!
…which means I have to buy gifts for people, which is the worst part of living abroad. This isn’t [only] because I’m cheap: it’s because I’m never sure what to get.
I’m writing this in advance, to automatically publish after I’m already home because I really love the gifts I got for my mom and dad. There’s an antique market in a department store in Changchun that is terribly overpriced, but on the floor above it there are people selling paint brushes, paper and other art supplies. There are also a couple of painters, including this charming old man. He’s a semi-renowned local artist and paints the most beautiful pictures, none of which would match what passes for ‘decor’ at my home in Zimbabwe.
However, if for example, you trawl the internet for pictures of your parents favourite animals and get them printed, and in your pigeon Chinese ask him to paint those, he will! And they’re lovely.
汽车厂 [Qìchē chǎng - Car Factory]
The first Chinese cars and tractors were manufactured in Changchun, and the city still produces a significant portion of the cars made in China. A huge area of the city is taken up by the FAW factory, which designs and produces its own cars, and also works in partnership with Audi, VW, and Toyota.
Last Thursday I went on a bus adventure with a friend to the car district. I’d seen a pretty looking park from a van window a few days before, and I wanted to get a closer look. We got on the first bus heading in approximately the right direction and got off at the first interesting looking building. We walked towards it while discussing our views on architecture and other subjects of which we knew nothing.
Then we crossed the street to look at a monument-looking place. The handy translator on my phone informed us that it was the car factory on which this city’s economy is based. There were guards, and a boom across the gate, but to their left was a wide open door through which we nonchalantly strolled. We wandered up a lovely tree-lined street, lined with beautiful buildings, poking our heads through the doors of vast factories. No one ever questioned our camera-toting, hard-hat-not-wearing, presence. Then we walked out the way we’d come, and went to find the pretty park.
China’s weird like that.
A couple nights ago my friend (who is easily confused by exchange rates) kept talking about some ₤200,000 cake she’d allegedly seen. That’s two million yuan, so I somewhat doubted her word. She took me to the store to see it for myself and yes. It is in fact a monstrous swan-studded confectionery that will be delivered to your wedding (or similar good-taste-free event) in a Rolls.
And if you don’t love your loved one quite enough to shell out that sort of moolah, then there is a much smaller version for just 899元.
I have inadvertently taken ownership of a kitten. He wreaks havoc on my belongings and lifestyle even as the vet continues to bleed me dry and predict his (the kitten’s) impending death from multiple obscure and symptomless conditions.
Anyone want a kitten? He probably won’t die.
Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day! Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a bouquet of Angry Birds :)