Our day began a few blocks from our hotel at Baotu Spring Park, Jinan’s most popular tourist site. "Spring" refers to the fact that the park is home to many of the 72 famous springs that are located in Jinan’s downtown district but today it could also have referred to the season and the new leaves on the the willows that overhang the many pools and the moat.
After wandering the crowded park for most of the morning, we rested our feet for almost two hours as we enjoyed a boat trip around the moat and across Daming Lake at the north end of the downtown district.
After a late lunch, we spent the remainder of the afternoon strolling along the moat and watching the crowds of holidayers enjoying their day in the sun. People here obviously don’t see very many foreigners. Everywhere we went, heads swivelled to take a second look and people pointed us out to their companions. Though few of them speak any English the word "foreigner" seems to be part of their vocabulary as we heard it often! Children seemed to be particularly startled by our strange appearance but in general, everyone seemed happy that we were out doing what they were doing, enjoying a beautiful day in a beautiful place.
One of the challenges to being in a foreign country where you don’t understand the language can be finding food. Though there are a proliferation of tiny restaurants within a few blocks of our apartment in Dalian, when it came to finding supper tonight, we couldn’t figure out where all these people ate! Though there are McDonalds and KFCs all over the place, we wanted something a little more nourishing and authentic. After a somewhat frustrating search, we found a delicious meal at a crowded and noisy food court just off the sprawling central square which I’ve also seen referred to as the livingroom of Jinan.
As "senior citizens", over the age of 60, we were able to enter Baoto Spring Park free of charge this morning, saving approximately $6.50 each! Although I laughed about being referred to as a senior citizen at the time, after being on my feet in the hot sunshine for most of the day, I feel a bit more like one this evening!