Last Friday, Rachel and I spent all day together!
We got out about 9. Which was really 9:45. These things happen. Then we got on the good old 105 bus, hoping it would take us to Tianqiao. Unfortunately, Tianqiao is not a stop on the 105 line. Nor on any of the lines that leave from the bus stop directly after ours. Also, neither of us know where this place is. So after a brief amount of dithering, Rachel hails us a cab and we’re off!
We get to Tianqiao and we begin seeking the 916 bus. The bus is nowhere in sight, but there’s a long line of people in line for something. We begin polling random Chinese people on where they think the 917 is. They continually point us down the road. We continue to walk down the road, fail to find it, come back, ask another person, get the same result, walk a little further down the road and finally, finally, find a 917 bus stop.
And I say a 917 bus stop because apparently there are like, six 917s that leave from the same spot but go on different routes. Sigh. Continued polling of Chinese people on which bus would be the most appropriate, whether or not our city bus cards will work, all of this done in pantomime. We get on the bus. We leave the city.
About an hour or so later, we find ourselves in the countryside, relatively speaking. Being out of the city was certainly strange; I think I actually heard birds chirping at one point. The area was definitely less built up and less populated than the city, but luckily we had our familiar smog clouds to keep us company. Rachel and I made a spectacle of ourselves by merely existing, and by walking the half hour walk to the site instead of hopping a cab.
So, after the half hour walk, we see a prehistoric head rearing from the mist, er… smog. We find ourselves at Zhoukoudian! The site where Peking man was discovered! It’s a world heritage site guys! Come on! Besides us, there are about four other people in the entire park. Not including people working there, which were about ten. We promptly made friends with some curious Chinese tourists. They asked where we were from. I told them we were from America. They didn’t believe me. I assured them that we were, in fact, American. I mean, I don’t think I could pretend we were from another country. I don’t really know that many country names in Chinese. Anyways. They followed us around and offered opinions on the manner in which we should be enjoying the park for the first half hour or so. Apparently, in their opinion, going to the museum first and then seeing all the caves was the wrong way of doing things.
We saw lots of things! Skull caps, jaws, teeth, femurs, animal bones, fossils, reproductions of cave men and prehistoric animals. I rode a thick-jawed deer model, Rachel squealed about breccia and Pleistocene era and other geeky anthropology major stuff. A good time was had by all.
And afterwards we went out for Italian food! yay!
(picture of me riding a thick-jawed deer to come when Rachel posts her pictures on facebook and I steal them)
If you would like to know more, I invite you to peruse this poorly grammared wikipedia article on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhoukoudian