Lao Shan

We were super excited to finally visit Lao Shan. We visited Qingdao so many times last year, while in Dongying, but never did anything touristy. We mainly just took baths and drank Starbucks. We probably would not have gone to Lao Shan anytime soon because of laziness, not because we didn't want to,  but Matthias (our German friend) really wanted to go, so we said we'd all go together!

We caught a 2 yuan bus in the city-centre and started the 45 minute journey to Lao Shan.
Matthais. Recap: Matthais is from Germany. He's here for the summer for an internship. His parents are pig farmers, like they raise pigs, in Germany, which I think is pretty cool.
 He's like Wilson on Home Improvement. 
 The bus was crowded. The guys were kind to us and let us ladies have the open seats, while they hung on. 
 Jessica and I. 
Recap: Jessica is from South Africa and her baby boy is the cutie-pie, Meric.
On our way to those beauties in the distance! The ocean is to our right. 
 We got off the bus and followed the crowds to purchase our tickets. Thankfully a gracious family spoke some English and helped us choose our route and purchase our tickets. Our ticket include a bus ride up to the route we chose. 
 This was the view of a village through the bus window.
 Meat balls! We decided to start munching on our snacks on the way up. Jessica's step mother made us all delicious meat balls.
 Zachary ate too many meatballs. You probably recognize this picture from his 'My Stomach' post. 
 All day we kept taking pictures of each other taking pictures. :) Every time I'd try to take a picture of her, she'd put her camera up to take a picture of me. She's camera shy.
 The entrance to the trek we chose. 
 We were happy to see this sign, "Passed safety test," for the cable car we were about to go on.
 Map of Lao Shan.
 Waiting for our cable car.
 Can you see the ocean and islands in the distance? So beautiful
 It was a sunny day, so we saw lots of these, sun umbrellas. Most women in China do a great job protecting their skin with these pretty umbrellas. It's funny, because while they like to stand in the shade of their umbrella, this American (me), loves to stand directly in the sun! Bring on the tan arms, face and lighter hair! 
We were a little weary when we saw these stairs. It reminded me us a little too much of Tai Shan. Sure enough, it seems the trek we choose was all stairs, not even close to the amount of stairs as at Tai Shan, but it still was a work out and we still had sore calves the next two days. If you need a refresher about our time in Tai Shan, you can read about that here, at Tai Shan Part 1, Tai Shan Part 2 and Zachary's Reflections on Mount Tai
 This baby was waving to me. :) Cute.
 Zachary decided we should go off the beaten path and do some exploring. We all followed him.
 We found some cicadas. Funny thing about these, Texas people. These are cicadas, not locusts. I grew up collecting their shells at my Papa's house and always calling them locusts. We all discussed it and the foreigners were definitely convinced we were wrong. So I did some research, and turns out we were! Observe.
This is a locust. It looks like the giant green Texas grasshoppers. Or maybe those are locusts.
This is a cicada shell and cicada. 
Weird, huh? Not sure why we grew up calling them locusts.
Another funny thing we talked about was Daddy Long legs. Jessica, from South Africa, grew up being taught that Daddy Long Legs  were male mosquitoes. Where as, we (us Texans) grew up being taught that they are spiders that eat mosquitos. I also learned, though Zachary didn't, that they are the most poisonous spider in the world but their mouths are too small they can't bite a human. Upon further investigation, via the internet, neither are completely true. It depends on what, as in what creature, you are referring to, as in calling it daddy long legs. Here's a better explanation.
It's always fun to find out little differences between cultures.

Anyways, back to Lao Shan! So we followed Zachary on his excursion and found a little stream.
 There were so many little creatures along the trek.
 We made our way to the half way point.
 Close but no cigar.
 Ya!! Zachary's a good shot. :) 
 We stopped off to enjoy some watermelon. 
 We saw a GIANT spider hanging around near our table so Zachary shooed him away. The poor guy scurried away, only to be trampled by some people walking by. Jessica kept joking with Zachary all day that he killed it. It's dead in this picture so it's legs are shriveled up but legs out it was probably at least half my hand.
 No dirty jokes guys. Keep it clean.
 We made it to the top! Zachary quickly climbed up these rocks to get a better view. Ignoring the sign below. Rebel.
 We watched the clouds rolling over the mountain.
 The actual summit is a military site, so you can't climb to it. Do you see the camo building up top?
And buildings in the side of the mountain.
 We met some friends from Basque Country, Spain. 
 The inside of the little pagoda.
 What do you guys think, is he smoking a pipe? Playing an instrument?
 We sat down on the rocks and found a little dip of water, full of life! There were tons of tadpoles at all stages of life. See these little guys? Their tails are almost gone.
 Mother frog. Can you see her belly? She's a fire belly frog.
 Jessica kissed her tadpole and it turned into a handsome prince!
So beautiful.
 So serene and peaceful. 
 We made our way back down.
 Cable car back. 
 Good bye Lao Shan!
After our hike we went and ate our fav, Chinese BBQ.

It was a great day with awesome friends! 


Carolyn said...

That was quite an adventure! Love the fact that y'all take the time for the small things like tadpoles, cicadas (aka incorrectly called locusts :), frogs and spiders. Must have been a great trek up the mountain. Lovely friends. So thankful for that. You two look great --and happy. Your smile makes me smile. Thanks for sharing. I know it's time consuming, but a great historical record for all to see and experience with you. Love and hugs. G'ma

Catherine said...

Great pictures of Lao Shan! :)

BTW -No one that I know grew up believing the Daddy Long Legs were male mosquitos. That's odd for me to hear. We, like you guys, think that they eat mosquitos and that they are the most poisonous spiders in the world.

Hope that you are having a great time!

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