Even Chinese kids have germs!

As I type this with my right hand my left hand is holding a tissue to my nose.

For the last threeish days I’ve been waking up with a sore throat and runny nasal cavities. Back in the states I never got sick, but being in China, arriving during the changing of the seasons, walking EVERYWHERE when we need to travel, and playing with little munchkins everyday has taken its toll on me. I’m just surprised Noelle hasn’t gotten the sniffles yet. She usually gets six different versions of the plague during the winter and each time she starts back at her old daycare in the summers. It wouldn’t be so annoying if we hadn’t forgotten our ziploc baggy with our over the counter meds on the other side of the world!

ANYWAYS!

Two days ago we took a few hours and walked up “UFO Mountain.”

A UFO that crash landed in China during the 40s…Nah, just an observation thingy.

It’s not really called UFO Mountain, but you can see why it has acquired that handle, right?

And at night it’s lit up all blue. I’ll get a shot of that soon.

This mountain, which is really more like an overgrown hill, is just down the street from our apartment complex. It’s surrounded by nice hiking trails that can get decently steep. The park sits at the base, right along our walk to the school everyday.

About half way up you can catch this view of the city between the valley that’s formed.

We have a nine-day holiday coming up this weekend, so I plan on hiking through most of the trails. I know Noelle wants to run them before it gets really cold, too.

This isn’t an ancient Buddhist bell or anything, but it was along the way up to the UFO.

There’s this little stop off where some folks were eating their lunch and just hanging out. Off to the side there was this really cool looking stone walking path that led to something called “Lover’s Garden.” It was fenced off to the public, but I stepped over the chain anyways and coaxed Noelle into doing the same. I’m glad we did. Large stones with Chinese characters carved into them littered what I soon realized was the very edge of the mountain.

We walked around a short path and there, stretching out forever, was the ocean.

You can see another corner of the city here, too…
I have no stinkin’ idea what that winged horse statue thing is, but I’m going to hike over there soon and find out.

We kept hiking on up the path, but before we got to the top we ran into some of these ribbons that were tied to trees. My best guess (and that’s all it is) is that they’re from the “lovers” that have visited the “Lovers Garden,” which, by the way, is a horrible name for the stone pathway…there was not one flower to be seen. Now, I’m not a botanist or even into horticulture; heck, I can barely remember to water a cactus enough to keep it alive, but I just think that anything with the word “garden” anywhere in its name should have flowers somewhere in the vicinity. And overgrown weeds don’t count.

We kept going up. Really our only option.

“It’s weird to be so close to the ocean and not be on vacation.” ~ Noelle
Hanging out
One last look at our city on the way down…

It didn’t show up well in the pictures, but on the other side of the city there is a big mountain the other Westerners call “Big Black Mountain.” There are a few temples on it and to get up one side and down the other it takes about a whole day. We’re going to do that probably Sunday, so hopefully we’ll be posting some nicer pics of the local scenery. Also on our itinerary for the break is the Dalian Zoo, where, I’ve read, you can feed live chickens to the lions and the tigers, and even a goat to the hyenas if you so choose. American zoos just don’t know what they’re missing. Hah.

We may even get to Beijing to see the Forbidden city and the Great Wall. We’ll see.

For now, I just want to get over this cold. Tomorrow morning we have a shopping class with one of the Eastern teachers before work. We’ve gone to the store a few times so far, so It’ll be interesting to see how much we’ve messed up ’til now.

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