Today was a good day to go local to be a tourist to stand out from the crowd. Instead of following the American teachers into the weekend forays into Dalian or Kaifaqu we took the 3rd way out toward Jiuli. The light rail covers the Zhongshan District, Xigang District, Shahekou District, Ganjingzi District, and of course Kaifaqu where we go shopping on the shopping bus on Tuesday or Thursday evening after our driver (Jack) takes us to and fro from Campus Village to the Jinshitan station. Of course the fact of the matter is that we carry the name of our school and home on a business card with us because we won’t know one district from another. The light rail ride is great. We aren’t worrying about how cars pass on both sides of us without putting on their indicators or drivers decide to make a fourth lane when there is really only three or go very fast to run a light and how drivers are constantly talking on their phones – we are just enjoying the view. The view is great, country, hills, water, villages and cities all within the half hour ride between our local stop at Jinshitan and Kaifaqu. Today we took the other train going out to Jiuli and on the way saw a large shopping area. That was enough for us to hop off and go exploring. We did not see another western for the day and we seemed to be the entertainment of others. From going to a restaurant and having a hot pot – our new favorite way to eat; a large bowl of seasoned water on a burner, then a variety of plates of food is brought and we dump it into the boiling stew.
We bought all kinds of stuff; a quilt – not to weirdly Chinese though a bit on the orange side, for about one-third the price we saw in Dalian and Kaifaqu, dishes, foods, and Narda got some interesting material to have dresses made from. They don’t seem to have any clothes for tall Dutch women here. And I caused a bit of a commotion in the shoe section of a shop. There were dozens of merchants selling shoes and I need some new ones but to find my size, forget it. A lot of people were talking quite rapidly all trying to help me find my size and after much hilarity I went on my way empty handed.
It was good being a tourist again – especially where we live. We use to play tourist in New York City, but after five years living there it was a bit difficult because we owned our home too and of course there were a few million who looked like us in some shape size colour and form. Here? It is like being a celebrity when people follow you or stand and point and stare. We love it. It is like being in Cambodia or Viet Nam or Northern Thailand or India again. Here are some images from our wanders today. And tomorrow morning it is back to work in our little American environment.