Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Catch Up

Well it seems that Wayne has gotten too busy and has not been able to post anything on the Blog for a while.  By default, I am going to try catching us up.  I am going to post pictures of the things we have done in the last few months.  They will not be in the order we did them - that is too hard for my memory.  As our time winds down here, we are trying to make sure we see all that there is to see.

 One day we took a bus past the zoo and out to the Yellow River.  It really is not yellow, just very muddy.  We crossed the river on a very wobbly bridge.  It was built on top of some boat hulls with parts feeling more like a suspension bridge.  There are pedestrian and scooter lanes on the outside and cars go down the middle.  Every time a car went by the bridge rocked. 
I believe it was a holiday weekend and so things were a bit busy.

 On the other side of the river is an amusement park/camping area.  It is too bad it is not kept up a little better.  The layout was great but it was just dirt and the usual discarded garbage laying around.

The water looks a bit low here but fishermen were casting big nets out into the water.

This was a wall along the river.  It looked very nice.
We walked back a ways to catch a bus to the zoo.  We had visited the zoo in Feb. but it was very cold and everything looked kind of dead.  The animals were all inside their enclosures and we wanted to see what the zoo was like in the Spring.

This was the street outside of the zoo.  Very, very crowded.  We went into the KFC on the corner to get lunch and we could not even find a seat.  We ended up eating on a planter box in the parking lot.  

Once we got in the zoo it looked really good.  Every thing was green again and the animals were all out.  We specifically wanted to see the Pandas.  We spent about 30 minutes just watching them.  They were really putting on a show and the people were loving it.

This little guy climbed the tree, used the branches to scratch his back and then laid back for a nap.

I had to put this in for my mother.

Every time there is a holiday, the city puts new plants in and decorates the entrances to parks with elaborate floral structures.  The city does look very pretty as you travel around. 

Every where you go you can find street vendors selling some type of food.  Wayne is the brave one who will try these but I like to have my food from an established restaurant.  There is no health department going around and inspecting.

Several weeks ago we traveled with some of the foreign teachers from Shandong Normal University to Weifang, the kite capital of the world.  Wayne started teaching at this university when our friend, Steve, had to go back home because of medical problems.  He teaches three classes on Tuesday.  That school takes their teachers on weekend trips several times a year.  They were nice and even let me go along.  We stopped at a Food Expo that reminded us of the Tulare Ag show.  It was very interesting to see how they grow things here but it was raining all day and so made it a bit miserable moving from building to building.

Beautiful orchids.

Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, etc, etc. hanging to grow.

Beautiful topiaries.

It is the year of the horse so they had these horses which were covered with beans and corn.

We always have to have our picture taken wherever we go.

From the expo we headed to the kite "factory".  Actually, it was a like an old village where we saw how they made different chinese handicrafts.  Along the way we stopped at an old tower and climbed to the top.
On one of the floors was this huge kite.  It has the dragon head and then little tiny kites all connected to look like the body and tail.  It wound around the ceiling.  I would love to see it fly. We bought a small replica of this kite but I don't think it will fly.                                                                                                                                                                            

This is what greeted us at the kite factory.
Displays of old kites.
Demonstrating screen printing.
Carving the blocks for the screen printing.
Painting the wings of a kite.

Shadow puppets.

Kitchen in a traditional, old style Chinese house.

I met up with an old friend.

We recently celebrated Labor Day.  It was on May 2nd and I do not really know what it had to do with labor but the crowds were out again.  We decided to go to Buddha Mountain to see if there were any performances going on.  I am still waiting to see a parade with a dragon in it.  We did not see any performances but we did see a lot of vendors.  All along the walkway up to the reclining buddha there were booths selling all kinds of things.  The mountain was a little more crowded than usual.  Jonathan came to visit on his way to a business meeting the next weekend and we took him to the mountain.  It was raining that day and although it was Mother's Day for us the Chinese were not celebrating anything so the park was deserted.
The reclining Budha in his festival finery.The thing on the right is for people to put long incense sticks in. They come to the budhas to worship.

Walking back home from Buddha Mountain, we walked through a park that had some beautiful flower beds in full bloom.  We think these are peonies.  They had them in many different colors.
Another day, we were walking to the cultural market and happened to see this outside of a big arena.  It looked inviting so we went to check it out.  What fun.  It was a big sale like a flea market but with new items.  I finally found a blouse that fit me - size 5XL.  I know I have gained some weight but I did not think it was that much!!
On our walk we also came across a group performing a Beijing Opera type show.  I think that it must have been a senior citizens group because they looked a little older than most performers that  we have seen.

This past weekend we took a trip to Qufu with our university foreign teachers.  This is the birth place of Confucius.  We saw several of these carriers on the highway.  Surprised us how many cars they were carrying.  We also came across an "only in China" scene.  We were driving along when all of a sudden, the driver of our bus slams on his brakes.  A few cars ahead of us we could see an SUV sitting perpendicular across two lanes.  I thought there had been an accident but it was just a lady who realized she had missed her turn off.  She was all the way in the left hand lane but she stopped, turned and headed back towards the turn off.  I can't believe she did not get creamed.


900 year old tree.

Stella that was damaged in the Cultural Revolution.  There were 13 of these in the Temple complex.  Only one had not been damaged.

The trunk of one of the old trees.
There was a group of Koreans who had come to study at the Confucius school.  They were dressed in the scholar outfits that were worn during the Ming Dynasty.  They went throughout the temple grounds to pay their respects to Confucius.

Normal scene around all sites to be visited.  Those fans you see are my constant companion.  I have bought many to take home with me.

After visiting the Temple and the Mansion complex, we went to the cemetary.  Only direct descendents of Confucius can be buried here.  If you were important and rich you had a big headstone and maybe some statues near your grave.  The lesser relatives are only buried and do not get a marker.  You know where they have been buried though because a mound of dirt is over them.

If you rubbed this guys snout it is said you will never quarrel with your spouse again.  It did not work!

Confucius' tomb.

We attended a performance put on by an acrobatic troupe.  We had been trying to see the Jinan Acrobatic Troupe but they travel all over performing and so we never were able to see them while they were in town.  I think that the performance we saw was a junior troupe.  There were some really young people in it.  The acts were good though, especially one where the kids were monkeys.  They did such a good job.  I was amazed at the flexibility in some of the acts.  Unfortunately, we did not get a lot of good pictures.

Well that is enough for one post (actually, probably too much).  We have another trip to post and a lot of daily life things we need to put on here but it will have to wait until next week.  This is our last real week of classes, we will have oral finals with the students the last three weeks of class.  We will use the time we usually spend preparing lessons and try to do all the things we have not been able to do yet.  Time is getting short!

1 comment:

Vickie said...

Love the photos!