This morning at 6, my aunt and cousin came over to take mom, Sharon, and me to go hiking on a mountain a fair distance away if walking there. I wanted to get up earlier at around 5:30 am, before we had to go down to meet them, to catch the first rays of dawn on the roof of the apartment, which is a story above the 33rd floor. But since the sky was foggy, only a light pink glow was visible from my window so I decided to go again tomorrow morning instead. In addition, I love the backdrop of the rooftop a lot.
On the way to the mountain/hill, people like local vendors and shop owners are just setting up their food and products for the day. Around this time is when we sometimes go out to get our fresh “baozi” and rice noodles.
[photo to be posted]
We continued our way though, and eventually arrived at the foot of the mountain and began our hike. It was more like hiking on stairs because the whole trip up the mountain was by walking steep, stone steps (smooth steps in the beginning, but jagged and thick in height as we neared the top). Man, the last stretch of ascending stairs was the hardest due to the steepness and unevenness of the steps and people drastically slowed down to be safe. I wonder at my body because I really was not as tired as I looked because I looked like I took a shower again without drying myself. Usually when I exercise back in Seattle at the same intensity, even in the summer, I never had to wipe my face so much. I probably lack exercise and really need to get working again!
The route there was actually nice because the bamboo forest on either side of the path covered most of the sunshine. Plus, we were surrounded by like-minded people who woke early just to get a head start into their day. Some of these people played energizing music on their portable mini speakers for all to hear and not give up the climb.
After about 2 miles and few thousand steps of ascending straight up, we go to the tippy top.
The sun had just risen over the city and the view was amazing. But more amazing was the amount of energy people still had! Lots of guys were playing basketball and an intense game of badminton. Middle to old ages women danced to music. Little kids ran around playing on poles and other equipments in the park.
Can’t wait to go again tomorrow hopefully!
Yesterday was actually full of new experiences. In the afternoon, grandpa made “chiba” (fried glutinous rice cakes then dipped in soy bean powder and honey) with us in the frying pan. It was delicious and I am so glad I learned how to make it! I also learned that it is a staple during the Spring festival.
A few hours after that, when my sister and I went out exploring before dinner, we found a spacious exercise facility on the 5th floor of the movie theater that was connected to the next door massive hotel. We were so delighted and cannot wait to try it out. Before we went back for dinner, we walked around the 1st floor to see how much the variety of milk tea were (less than $3USD) and a small desert shop that sold fruit bowls and cakes (I craved mangoes but the fruits they had to offer such as mangoes, papaya, kiwi and melons were pricy). Oh, I cannot wait to eat these fruits again when I get back home…
[photos to be entered]
That evening, my aunt met up with us for a walk after dinner. We walked over the pagoda-like bridge that I saw on the roof of our apartment.
Eventually after walking along the river, we stopped at another square, where my aunt, sister, and I tried dancing with the old ladies. There was actually lots of 20-40 year-old people dancing too, this time around. It was sort of difficult at first because the moves were complicated, but after a while I got used to it so it became more fun.
Going back another day, when my sister and I went to meet up with our cousins for an exploration of the another side of the city, we actually had a mini “photoshoot” at a community called “Huaguosan” (same name as the fictional residence of the Monkey King) and stopped by the local small Parisian coffee shop. Although the place is not very far, maybe 30 minutes of walking, the feel of the place is very different from where we are currently living. I absolutely loved the area because the houses, streets, and courtyards there were very old and antique, (probably 50 something years old) yet excellently maintained and exhibited a vintage feel. It was also very quiet as we did not see or hear a single peep from the locals. Time seemed to slow down a little.
I am looking forward on going back there to shoot some pictures myself on the streets and little crannies.
The blazing sun was unbearable, so we went to “Huaguosan 2 hao kafei ting” (literally, “flower-fruit mountain second stop coffee house”). It was very cozy and unlike what I had imagined the coffee shops here to be like. Upstairs, where our room was, we ordered a tall glass of lemonade, melon juice, and coffee. (Lemonade was the cheapest option, though still pricey– ¥30, or, $5.
While waiting, I realized the colored walls were actually made out painted old doors! There was even an old cassette-radio player (reminded me of my good old childhood) next to a (real!) accordion and a mini globe. Other antiques included an old metal blue fan, a small TV, old lamps, scarlet couches, a fire-hydrant-red telephone, some vintage pictures, a fish tank, and more. The ground was a pretty tri-colored yellow, orange, and red. In the background, “It’s a wonderful world” and other old, jazzy tunes.
I am definitely going to take a walk there sometime before we leave.
Tonight, my other aunt brought Sharon, brother, and me to a new cake shop by the river called –no other–the Cakeshop or, Viewsunzizi. So many people stopped by and the place was a buzz! Truly, the pastries–mmm, green bean-red bean-watermelon icecream, rose and plum infused water–heaven. They did not allow photography at the fresh, unpackaged area where people can use trays, so I managed to snap just a few pics of to give you a general feel of the place and of some of the dessert we got.
Alright, time to sleep so that I can wake up early to catch the sunrise on the roof of our building! I got 2 more mosquito bites on my legs today and they are already swollen…why must this happen…