The sun will come out tomorrow... and it did! Gejiu turned out to be a very nice city despite the fact that we were given a Mary and Jospeph welcome. We walked around Jin Hu lake which actually was a natural sinkhole that enveloped a good part of the downtown in 1954. Now its a beautiful area nestled into the mountains with a great esplanade. We sat down on one of the many benches to enjoy the sights and the sun and before any time had passed we were joined by an old man and his grandson. The old man talked away furiously at us until we pulled out the guide book and said in Chinese "wo tibudong" or I don't understand. Then he and his grandson preceded to give us an hour long lesson in Chinese going word by word down our guidebook. The man also graciously with both hands extended his pack of cigarettes to Brad. (Smoking is worse here than in Vietnam! Our hotel room had 3 ashtrays!!)
After our Chinese lesson we ventured into the world of food. We had not eaten a proper meal since breakfast in Sapa. Pointing and nodding seems to work for everyone, I just hope we don't get any mystery meat.
In the afternoon we went to visit Baohua Park. This park was filled with games and a very sad sad zoo. But it also had a cable car that took us to the top of the mountain where we had great views of the lake and of Gejiu.
Our stroll thru the city also took us past some very generous people. We passed a game club where there were loads of people playing Mahjong. As curious onlookers they invited us to join them and filled us to the brim with tea cup after tea cup of green tea. We never did get the hang of Mahjong but we did pull out our Uno cards to show them our game. They then presented us with a deck of playing cards saying that they were Chinese playing cards. ( I guess they think everyone plays with Uno cards?) They also taught us the word for American after a long and unfruitful conversation and and a little help by George Washington. By pointing at the dollar we finally made it clear where we were from and learned that we are "Meku" Which I guess means beautiful land?
Further along our stroll (and after finally coming across a Chinese/English map!!) we encountered a few wedding parties. They were just as excited to see us as we were to see them! The brides offered me candies and sunflower seeds and the grooms offered Brad cigarettes. The photographer insisted on getting pictures with us and I can only imagine the newlyweds thinking who are these wedding crashers, they weren't on the photo list!?
Dinner was another adventure and the nice lady whose market stall restaurant we chose had the whole place laughing at my attempts at ordering. Still, we did all right and managed to down some delicious pork fried rice. After all, China is starting to grow on me. It is sure to be an adventure, that much I know!
Running tally of Chinese who speak passable English: 2 (and one tried to rob us!)
Running tally of other Westerners: 0