A Travellerspoint blog

April 2008

Peach Blossoms

sunny 23 °C

Today Barbara, Rebecca, Cathy, Alice and I are going to see the Peach Blossoms. We actually have no idea where we are going or what we are going to see.

We get into a taxi and drive to the outskirts of town. We arrive at Peach Blossom Park. It cost us Y29 for the taxi. Peach Blossom Park is a scenic area behind Taishan. The westerners think we are getting into a taxi, getting out to look at some Peach Blossoms, taking a couple of photos and then getting back into a taxi to come home.

Oh no, we arrive and then walk along a road for 6 miles, viewing the Peach Blossoms, houses, waterfalls and general scenery. This was quite a beautiful walk, however we were unprepared. I had one bottle of water with me which I had drunk by the time we got out of the taxi. There were no stalls to buy water from. I had no food with me. I had only eaten a banana. And it was a warm 22 degrees.

On the walk back we decided to take the adventurous route climbing over rocks across water etc. This was fine until I slipped on a rock, took some bark off my hand and knee and severely bruised my knee landing in the water. I was happy though that it was today and not yesterday. Today was 22 degrees, yesterday was 7 degrees.

After this little adventure I decided that I would take the road. I was lucky that I slipped where I did and not further down otherwise I may have gone down the rapid and who knows what the damage would be.

So we walked our 12 miles and now it was time to get a taxi. Because there was 5 of us we had to get two taxis. It cost a total of Y55 to get there. A driver told us he would take us back in a minibus for Y40. The Chinese cracked up about this because were being ripped off. I could not get them to understand that we weren't because the total cost of the trip was Y55. So we started to walk. I did not feel like walking any further. I was thirsty and it was a long way to the end of the street.

A bus came along. We tried to hail it down. But the driver drove straight pass. We have another offer by a private car to drive us for Y40. I said no because there wouldn't be enough room for 5 of us to get into a little roomy Corolla. We would have been better off going in the minibus.

Another taxi is coming up the road, we think we might be able to get it on the return trip down the street. The original driver sees this and starts to come down the street. The Chinese barter with him and get the fare down to Y35. The five of us pile into the taxi for the uncomfortable trip home for a saving of less than $1AUD ie the original fare was $6.66 we paid $5.83! They tell me its the principal. I'm sorry but dehydration is not worth the argument for $1.

We get back to the school and head straight out for dinner. Food has never tasted so good!

Posted by Bettinamc 22:13 Archived in China Tagged tourist_sites Comments (6)

Transport

Public Bus to Qufu

overcast 19 °C

05/04/08

Today Barbara, Rebecca and I caught the Bus to Qufu.

Now buses in China are one of the best means of getting around. Services are extensive, main roads are good and bus journeys are often quicker than train travel. Another plus is that it is easier to secure a bus ticket and they are cheaper than train tickets.

Now the down side. They are cramped and noisy with Chinese films on overhead TV's and 3D sound. And the driver leans on the horn at the slightest detection of a vehicle or person in front.

So this morning the bus was due to depart at 9.30 am or so the schedule says, however the driver crams as many fares as is possible and waits to fill up before departing. The bus finally departs jam-packed at 10.10 am. We were fortunate that we had a seat. Those standing in the aisles had 1.5 hour stand.

We approach a toll gate and the bus stops about 150 m before the gate. All those "illegal passengers" that are standing have to get off the bus and walk through the toll gate. Of course we as foreigners are surprised. On the other side of the toll were the Police. We go through the toll and about 150M past the police car and wait for our "illegal passengers" to re- board the bus.

Well we were laughing as we thought that this was rather amusing. The "illegal passengers" just got back on like this was a normal occurrence.

As they say "This is China."

Posted by Bettinamc 04:41 Archived in China Comments (19)

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