By Claude Owen
Today we woke up at Paul’s childhood home. For breakfast we visited a Chinese morning market, and ate from a street vendor. In the market, there were hundreds of people sitting on chair with things ranging from live fish to chickens to peanuts to radishes out in front of them, all yelling what they were selling, and the asking price. While we were there, we ate a type of sugar pancake, fried dough, as well as a tofu and gravy dish called “Tofu Brains”, and pork dumplings. The food was amazing, but just by looking at your fingers you could tell it wasn’t something that you should eat every day.
After breakfast we traveled a ways outside the city to visit the ocean, as well as a mountain about a kilometer out into the ocean, connected to the mainland by a land bridge that was only able to be walked on during low tide. We took a boat out to the mountain as it was note quite low tide when we arrived, and hiked up the mountain. Hike is a little misleading, as there was a paved path with merchants selling anything from food to bubble wands in booths along the side.
When we arrived at the top, we were met with a large Buddhist tower, with stairs leading up to the top. We carefully claimed up, and got some great pictures of the view, as well as a cool look at some of the statutes inside the actually tower itself. From on top of the tower, you were clearly able to see the major port of the city, a large dock with multiple loading cranes. It was fairly obvious that the port was damaging the health of the water, as the area around it was murky and brown. Despite this, there were still men and women waiting for low tide to come so they could go out and collect clams.
After we climbed back down the mountain, we walked across the land bridge that was now visible as it was low tide. After we arrived back on the mainland, we got back in the bus and headed out to the country side, to visit an orchard for a whole roasted sheep. We were greeted by Paul’s family, who had already prepared most of the food before our arrival. After we sat down and they started serving us, I realized just how much food we were being served. Yes, we had been given super generous portions through out this entire trip, they at least seemed like manageable servings. This was a whole different story. Three of the biggest sheep legs that I had ever seen, as well as the entire ribcage, and that was only the meat. It really hit me just how hospitable the people of China were while we were eating, seeing as how they had prepared all of this just for us. I felt quite honored.
After lunch, Mr. Fritz got us up for another hike. We challenged the mountain that was next to the orchard, making it all the way to the top pretty quickly. We had another great view up there, and we were able to see the entire city, as well as much of the country side.
We went to Paul’s uncle’s house to socialize with Paul and his family, as well as for dinner, being served before the family, once again showing the hospitality of the people. After dinner, we all got back in the bus and headed to a park in the city. At the park, we saw another tower, as well as some people marching in a giant circle dancing, trying to fight off the effects of diabetes. Seeing this made me realize how different America and China are. In America we would have a parade or something to raise awareness, but wouldn’t really do anything to help stop the issue. Yet in China, they are active in finding ways to stop the problem, keeping it from spreading to other people. Not a huge deal, but just something that I noticed about the difference in cultures.