The 1st of October marked China's national day. This day is the start of what is called the Golden Week. It is not entirely surprisingly a week long holiday and with this holiday comes certain events. I don't know a whole lot about it, but here in Jinan they were supposedly offering free bus rides and entrance to the zoo. So that is what our plans for the day was. A day in downtown Jinan, starting with going to the zoo. As it turns out we were not the only ones planning a trip like that.
|Hello, every person in Jinan, it was a pleasure riding the bus with you.|
We had decided to get an early start to the day and so at 8:30 the six Swedish students accompanied by a German one met up with two of our Chinese buddies nearby campus and started walking towards the bus stop. 500 meters later we joined up with 30-40 or so Chinese people just waiting for the bus. Together, we could all do nothing but watch bus after bus just breeze past us. Each bus was already full. We stood around for thirty minutes or so before we started walking towards where the buses came from. And to make a very long and painful story short, we arrived at the zoo four hours later. That is three hours later than what I had planned. Good times were had.
|The entrance of Jinan Zoo, plus a smiling Alvis.|
We were all pretty psyched about finally getting to see a panda. That was about the only decent thing about this zoo. It was quite a sad story for us. The native Chinese though, got to watch and take pictures of the exotic foreigners.
|Taking photos of other things than animals while at the zoo can't be a very good sign...|
When we finally left the zoo our initial plan had been to get something to eat and then do some shopping. We walked the streets of downtown Jinan for a while, trying to catch a bus at several different bus stops, but with similar experience as earlier during the day. Eventually we got somewhere by foot and entered a somewhat shabby shopping mall looking for a place to eat.
Anton found a delicious, and supposedly rotten, meat soup sort of blend. And he later spent some time returning this food to a nearby toilet. The others did not have any issues and they all later joined Mariam and I as we ate elsewhere. It was McDonald's, I am not ashamed to say.
As we had finished our lunch (time-wise it was more or less dinner) Alvis wanted to go home. I pounced at the opportunity and joined him. We eventually found a bus and I'd like to remember that we got back home at 19:00-20:00-ish. The others stuck it out, eventually got some shopping done, had a fight with an unreasonable taxi driver, and got back home close to midnight. It was not a good day.
The rest of the golden week did not carry as many people around the streets. It is just that one day when they celebrate their National Day by venturing into the province's capital to enjoy their day. Halfway into the week I went to Beijing, and that will be the content of the next blog post. Quite the cliffhanger.
Spoiler alert. I visited the great wall.