Now I Feel Like We're in the Jungle

Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 29, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of China  , Shandong,
Monday, April 4, 2011

On Monday, our last full day in Qingdao, we took a side trip to Lao Shan, which is a beach-side mountain about an hour outside the city.  Following the advice of the Lonely Planet and the staff at our hostel, we took a city bus to the mountain.  

When we arrived at the bus stop, we realized that all of the tourists and many of the locals in Qingdao had the same idea as we did.  The main street along the sea was packed with people waiting for transportation to the mountain.  

When we finally managed to find and board the correct bus, we were packed in like sardines -- tight enough that holding onto a bar or handle wasn't really necessary.  There were enough people to keep us all upright.

We stood that way for more than an hour as the bus drove through the city and finally up the hills on the way to the mountain.  By the time we got off the bus, we were already exhausted.  But since it was nearing mid-morning and the last bus left in the late afternoon, we didn't have a whole lot of time, so we began our trek up the mountain.

At the bottom, we were discouraged to find out that there was no one clear path up.  There was a smattering of short paths that lead to attractions around the mountain, and we weren't in the mood for Chinese souvenir shops and other tourist traps.  We just wanted to climb.

So for the next few hours, we did our best to walk in an upward direction.  Our journey felt nothing like real hiking, but we still had a good time.  We joked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.  The views of the sea from the mountain were beautiful.
Toward the end of our day, Matt, Sam, and I climbed up to what was supposed to be a cave but was actually some sort of cemetery or worshiping grounds.  There were tablets with names and the ground was red from spent fireworks, which seemed to have replaced incense.  People lit the fireworks to honor their ancestors or the gods.


The "cave" was very close to the summit of the mountain, which we never figured out how to get to, so we felt like we'd at least made it most of the way to the top.  There was a great view waiting for us there.

When we were ready to leave, we couldn't bear the thought of being crowded onto a bus again, so we paid the extra money and took two taxis back to our hostel.  It was a smart choice, and we wish we'd done it on the way to the mountain as well.

In the early evening, we had cocktail hour at our lounge.  The boys had beers, Tiffany had a Sex on the Beach, and I had a Gin and Tonic.  There was to be a party later in the evening to celebrate the end of winter (in April, and by the way, it's still cold) and while Tiffany and I chatted at one of the tables, the live band set up.  The sounds they were making to test the microphones got stranger and stranger, and when they no longer sounded human, Tiffany said, "Now I feel like we're in the jungle."  I couldn't stop laughing.  

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