Here I start with a little overlap. The first (maybe second) day we had time off we visited our old friend Gu Shan Mountain with a group of colleagues – as I mentioned in our last post. From here we had a day off – what a luxury it is to be able to do nothing all day. Though we did finish with a walk to WuYi Square and a midnight feast of fireworks.
I believe this is where we left you last time. The following day we were speaking to a friend and colleague from school who professed that he was mighty bored. Most of the school staff have gone away; all of the Chinese Staff have gone out of town to their families, and a good handful of our teachers are in Thailand getting sun tans. His girlfriend had gone home to her family for a week, and so being left on his own, he was in need of a little company. Although our legs were achey we agreed to tackle JinJi Shan – Golden Chicken Mountain – with him.
He lives not too far from us so meeting at a middle point, we shared a taxi to the bottom of the mountain. Forgetting that this year is the year of the Rooster, we weren’t anticipating the crowd we entered into at the bottom of Golden Chicken Mountain. Following the current past a large chicken-esque statue, we made our way to a gigantic artificial waterfall.
If it looks too picturesque to be real, it probably is; on closer inspection our beautiful waterfall was mostly made of artfully disguised concrete and a basic knowledge of geography would tell you that no waterfall could ever exist there. Nonetheless, it was spectacular and impressive.
Following the hidden pathway of stair, we stumbled across an unusual outdoor gym on the cliffs above the waterfall. With no instructions and no instructor, it was amusing to see the locals figure out how to use the assortment of paraphernalia. With no better a clue than they, we attempted a few before moving on – the climb of the hill was enough of a work out for us.
Weaving further through the crowds, we came across a bridge over a steep gorge that split the mountain in two. Up until now, the paths had been inkeeping with the surroundings; stone paths made from the rocks of the mountain, however, this bridge was large and neon red. In true China style it stood out like a sore thumb, yet the view over the city in the dusk was spectacular.
We stayed up here for a while, watching the dusk roll in from various viewpoints; with it came firecrackers, fireworks, and the exciting lights of FuZhou City. Wandering down in the darkness, we all agreed we needed sustenance. Luckily, our colleague and buddy knew of a restaurant aptly named That One.
That One Restaurant wasn’t far, another cab ride and we were there. Although he speaks vary good Chinese, even he couldn’t work out the digital ordering system, much to the amusement of the waiting staff. All of us finally gave up (the staff included) and we were sat, with a menu in front of us, looking for something hearty to eat. We weren’t disappointed.
The next day, still incredibly achey, we again decided to do nothing and found ourselves searching for a restaurant in an old but not disused shopping mall. We had been recommended this restaurant by a Chinese friend who mentioned that sometimes they have traditional dancing. Knowing Sam and her love for dance WE JUST HAD TO GO. And so we found the shopping mall easily enough, but being Chinese we discovered it was a ginormous complex and we had absolutely no idea where in it the restaurant was. We headed for high ground (the top floor) to get a vantage point and discovered hundreds of different restaurants but not the specific one we were after. We did however, sight an old english curiosity shop, that just so happened to be an interesting bookshop. A good few minutes were spent here, before we left for a lower level. Working our way towards the ground floor, we met a few old friends just hanging about and stopped for a natter before carrying on our search.
We finally found our restaurant, a mix of Middle Eastern and Chinese decor, the lighting was low and the walls were beautiful. Even the ceilings were painted. We were seated in a beautifully comfortable booth in the centre of the restaurant, and though it was without the dancing girls, the food was incredible. Lamb shashlick, yogurt, a strange naan type meat bread, and some good old stir fry vegetables and we were happy bunnies.
The next thing we did was go to Yong Tai, a hidden valley in FuZhou. This was too good for a piece in a blog, and so we will have a whole entry for this at a later date.
After our excursion to Yong Tai, we came home just in time to be able to attend our first barbecue of 2017 at a friend and colleagues. We headed to his with crisps, skittles, and beer, and spent the evening cooking and eating good food, chatting good chatter, and learning the rules of MaJong. It is not as difficult as it looks, but there are some fiddly rules that we have not yet mastered, like who is the banker, and why, if we aren’t playing with money. It’s definitely a game to be played more, though, and although it is a game of strategy, we both found it easy enough to pick up in a few games, with Sam even winning two of them.
Here we bid you farewell, as we are back to the grindstone tomorrow. Good night!