May Day Holiday Plan A – Gaizhou!
A little late writing this one up, but I’ve been very busy – which will be explained in a subsequent journal entry. Originally for the May Day holiday I was supposed to go to Gaizhou (盖州, Gàizhōu) with my maternal grandfather-in-law. He’s getting up in years and hasn’t seen his hometown in decades. He also knows that I’m all about the coastal lifestyle and don’t enjoy being landlocked here in Shenyang one bit. So we three – grandfather, mother, and me – made grand plans to go to Gaizhou and go fishing and eat seafood until our stomachs exploded.
The only problem was Gaizhou is a good 3~4 hours away on the train and when the appointed day was on the morrow, Maternal Grandfather-in-Law wasn’t feeling up to the arduous trip. Taking a train anywhere in China is an adventure in its own right, but to do so on a crowded holiday for 4 hours plus queue times at his age just seemed to be a little to much. So we changed plans! Instead, I was to go to Benxi and we were all to go fishing – huzzah!
May Day Holiday
Plan A Plan B – Fishing in Benxi!
So off I went to Benxi with my mother-in-law. The train was packed and we had ‘standing tickets’ rather than assigned seats, but we squeezed into a car with sleeping berths and I soon found an unoccupied top bunk and snoozed away most of the 45 minute rumble there. We were met at the station by Dajiu (literally ‘big maternal uncle’) who regretfully informed us that the water temperature up here in the mountains was still a little too cold for the fish to shake off their wintertime metabolism and start feeding. The fishing trip was scratched. Instead, he had borrowed a minivan and we were going to take a trip through the Benxi countryside – huzzah?
May Day Holiday
Plan A Plan B Plan C – Scenic Tour in the Benxi Countryside!
Our first destination was Ping Ding mountain, located on the edge of the city. It’s one of those things where you’ve seen it a million times and always said to yourself “one day I’ll climb that…” Well, May Day was the day, except we drove it – ha. According to the massacred English on the park sign, Ping Ding mountain is a nature reserve and used as an outpost both by Japanese and Chinese forces at different times during the War of Resistance. The ruins of the fortifications amount to little more than a few low stone walls at this point, but it’s interesting to stand among them and try and figure out why on earth anyone would ever feel the need to guard Benxi.
Continue reading May Day in Benxi