A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kathy_w

Furong Street and Black Tiger Spring

Visiting a popular streetfood location and Jinan's 2nd most important spring

storm 37 °C

Our next adventure took us into downtown Jinan. Gavin had been saying since we arrived that he wanted to eat and try some of the local street food, so we headed into the city in search of Furong Jie (street), a road which is well known for its variety of food and other goods.

Located off of Quancheng Rd, the main shopping street, Furong Jie is recognisable by the large wooden arch marking its entrance. The main part of the street itself is not long, maybe 1/4 of a mile in total, but there are also side streets selling various treats. It is also off of here that there is a rabbit warren of alleys known as the 'old town' which are home to many small restaurants and bars (and from a recent experience of ours, only navigable with a local Chinese friend!)

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We perused the many offerings the street had, from fried squid and other creatures to buns and (possibly) vegetables cakes of all kinds. Gavin had a particularly proud moment when he asked an old lady for the price of her steamed buns and she understood him completely!

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Feeling successful, we carried on our journey in search of the nearby spring, Gavin munching on his entire fried squid as we went. We will definitely be heading back to Furong Jie again soon to try some of their other delights!

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Along the way we took a diversion into nearby Parc 66, a fashionable and expensive shopping centre which is home to many high-end western brands. It was quite strange as most of the centre was completely devoid of shoppers, though it was mid-week. We have since been back at the weekend and ,thankfully, it felt a bit more soulful. While we we there we also met a few new friends...

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From there we headed out across to Quancheng Square in search of Black Tiger Spring. Walking along the old moat is the eaiest, and most scenic, way to get to the spring and makes for a very pleasant walk with much to see along the way.

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It is said to be called 'Black Tiger Spring' because the shape and colour of the rock supposedly resembled a black tiger, and the sound of the water is said to have sounded like the roar of a tiger. The only tigers we saw though we these!

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The spring is famous for being a spot where many local Chinese go to gather the natural spring water. We weren't disappointed when we reached the spring itself, as there were many people filling various containers from kettles to buckets.

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Unfortunately we had to cut our trip short as the weather was growing increasing stormy and it began to rain rather heavily as we left. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and will be heading back again soon.

Our next post will be about our trip to Qufu, the birthplace of Confucius and Confucianism! So, please make sure you subscribe if you haven't already and check out our Instagram pages for more pictures of our travels and adventures... Links are on the right hand side of this page :)

Kathy

Posted by kathy_w 06:36 Archived in China Tagged china jinan street_food streetfood black_tiger_spring furong_jie furong_street Comments (0)

Jinan Zoo

In search of Giant Pandas!

semi-overcast 34 °C

Yesterday we decided to head to Jinan Zoo to see their Giant Pandas. JInan Zoo is located in the north of Jinan, about 15 miles from where we live. The journey was simple enough, we got a bus into the city and changed buses at Daming Lake to get to the zoo. We were lucky enough to manage to get some of the 'K' buses on our journey. These are air conditioned buses which are much newer that the regular buses, though they appear to be quite infrequent. They are more expensive than the regular buses costing 2 yuan rather than 1 (but still only 20p!)

Jinan zoo is one of the largest in China, and is set in the grounds of and old park. We were a bit unsure of what to expect from the zoo before we got there, knowing that a lot of Asian zoos are different to western ones in the types of enclosures they provide for the animals.

Once we had arrived we headed straight for the pandas. We were expecting there to be a bit of a queue as when we had seen them before, at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, there had been a large crowd both times. We were pleasantly surprised though as there was hardly anyone in the viewing area! We were treated to two young pandas looking quite relaxed, both of which were quite active - and for once not eating bamboo!

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After seeing the pandas we looked around at some of the other enclosures and were left feeling rather confused. What we found was a bit of a mix, some of the enclosures were spacious and quite new, while others were small and outdated.

Having seen where they were keeping the lions and tigers we were set to leave, not feeling very happy. Then, as we were walking out, we came across a huge open enclosure to the back of the big cats. It was an impressive space, and from the signs around the edges it was clearly the outdoor area for the animals. What confused us though, was that all of the big cats backed onto the same enclosure and so they would have to have some kind of rotation to allow all of the animals out!

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There was quite a range of animals, from pandas, lions, white tigers and gorillas to ... seagulls?

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We left the zoo feeling slightly deflated, and probably wouldn't go again, but it was definitely worth it to see the pandas! (Especially seeing as the entrance fee was 25 yuan... about £2.50!)

Tomorrow (weather permitting) we are heading to Thousand Buddha Mountain in southern Jinan, so check back soon for more adventures, or subscribe if you haven't done so yet!

We now have Instagram too!
Kathy: http://instagram.com/kathy.a.w
Gavin: http://instagram.com/gavin_w207

Posted by kathy_w 19:13 Archived in China Tagged pandas china panda jinan jinan_zoo Comments (0)

We're in China!

Arrival and settling in.

sunny 36 °C

After 3 plane journeys we arrived in Jinan, China, on Saturday. Today is our 6th day here and so far everyday has been an adventure!

On our very first evening we looked out of our apartment window to see some very strange (at the time!) things going on:

1) Crossing the road
Like in England there are lights at the pedestrian crossings, with a red person and a green person to help you know when to cross. Don't be fooled though - cars will still drive at you even when it tells you to walk, people on motorized scooters will drive over then across the crossing (often going the wrong way) amongst other things. We have soon learnt that you need to walk quickly, have a 360 degree swivel on your head, walk with purpose and just keep going!

2) Moving market stalls
Looking out of the window we noticed some rickshaws full of goods at the side of the road. Then we looked closer - there was a mini-market going on in the middle of the road! People had blocked the road in four directions selling various goods from fruit and vegetables to balloons and clothing on racks! It turns out that this is a daily occurrence and that the 'stalls' must move around the local area.
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3) Food stalls
Below our apartment there is a paved area that during the day is filled with parked cars. As the evening comes in however, tables and chairs are set up and little pop-up food stalls appear. There are fresh selections of ingredients to choose from and your dish will be cooked there and then right in front of you! We then noticed, over the road, a huge long row of permanent stalls that were serving up a variety of dishes.
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4) Places to sit
Anywhere can be a seat. Even the kerb on a busy road. With a baby on your lap!

After seeing all this, we were undeniably excited.
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Since then we have spent most of the last few days setting up our new apartment and orientating ourselves around the local area. Around us we have many supermarkets and convenience stores in which you can buy pretty much everything you could want. About 15 minutes or so walk away there are two large shopping centres, both of which have department store-style supermarkets in the basement so getting anything we need isn't a problem. We have also been brave and have used the local buses into the city (10p a journey!) and have got a taxi back from the supermarket with all of our shopping (90p!).

We are settling into life in China so far, like I said before, everyday is an adventure! Plus, they have Rilakkuma in China! :)

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Kathy

Posted by kathy_w 02:30 Archived in China Tagged china moving jinan Comments (1)

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