Apr 23

High-Speed Rail to Jinan

Jinan (population 8 million) – “city of springs” – 72 natural springs and the home of the ancient politician and philosopher, Confucius.

The train I boarded in Beijing is a regular run between the Capital and Shanghai, with a stop in Jinan. I was duly impressed with China’s high-speed rail system! It is clean, efficient and on time. The trains travel at speeds of over 185 miles per hour and yet their sleek design allow for a smooth and comfortable ride. I arrived in Jinan in about 90 minutes.

Along the way I see many tree farms stocked with quick growing poplars and willows. I suspect that this tree production is an attempt to mitigate the effects of air pollution. There are also many greenhouses, indicating food production. The air is very hazy. There are also large building complexes that appear to be in mid-construction and seemingly abandoned. Are these properties condemned? Are they in some form of bankruptcy or foreclosure? It is odd to see large construction projects abandoned. I was not able to gain any info.


One of the first things I wanted to do was to get some massage therapy treatment for my back and shoulder. The tumble I took on the Great Wall two days earlier was now causing some serious mobility issues. I was having trouble lifting my right arm above the shoulder without causing deep aching pain. Surprisingly there appeared to be no outwardly visible bruising of my upper back or shoulder, but I was definitely uncomfortable.


on the left; Hong Wei and his assistant on the right; Wang Yan

The name of clinic, Hong Wei Tui Na. Apparently Mr Hong has several clinics for massage in the city of Jinan. This style of massage was quite aggressive and would likely not be popular in the U.S. In fact, some of the techniques used in this traditional massage clinic would likely be forbidden. I will go into to greater detail (with pictures) about my massage and acupuncture experience in a future post.


One day I had a delightful walk at Da Ming Lake with Lily and Morning. Both girls are terrifically photogenic and I promised I would send copies. The picture below is one example of their composure on camera. Thanks to both young ladies for allowing me to take your picture. I am really trying to develop my portrait abilities and your willingness to be photographed and patience as I worked with the camera was helpful to that end.


Students Lily and Morning as my tour guides at Da Ming Lake.


A funny observation and footnote to the Da Ming Lake walk was that I felt like the white ape at the zoo. This happened to me in the Philippines and I attributed it to the fact that many Chinese don’t have an opportunity to see a Caucasian. Additionally, I am taller than many Asians and of course, my gray hair makes me stick out like a sore thumb. So, I am acquainted with a certain level of extra scrutiny that comes in the form of staring ….but people were actually pointing and taking photographs of me like I was some sort of freak! Funny.



One afternoon Ferdy took me to a local park in his city and we ventured into the cave that is home to 10,000 Buddha sculptures

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Our walk was after a delicious seafood lunch. 照片 001








The name of the restaurant; Blue Sea.





Here are a few of the pictures from this restaurants daily seafood selection.
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This grouper became part of our meal.

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The finished product. Very fresh fish!










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My student, Renee is a vegetarian. So, she was kind enough to introduce me to a restaurant that served an incredible array of non-meat items. Each of these dishes actually looked and tasted and had the texture of meat!




this one tasted like chicken.


…and this one tasted like pork.

High culinary talent is a thing to be admired, but these dishes were examples of fine art. If you would like to check this place out, here is the name; He Xiang Ju.


Lunch with Messi at her dumpling restaurant. IMG_1294

IMG_1295Delicious dumplings!


I also had a special visit from 2 course advisers with whom I previously worked. They wanted to see me and had never been to Jinan, so they took the train and we had dinner and a walk around some of the springs and waterways. Great to see Kelly and Emy!

Kelly and Emy

Kelly and Emy

Dinner with Ellen Zhang and her lovely daughter….somehow I can’t seem to find the pictures from that wonderful meal highlighting a couple of foods from Inner Mongolia, Ellen’s native province.


During the dinner with Team Q, I was too busy eating and talking that I completely forgot about taking pictures of the food. However, I think it is safe to say that all of my students know I love to eat great food! It is a small miracle that I don’t weigh 500 pounds! We also had an informative time with a Q&A period after this meal. I found the team to be fun, curious about the West, gracious and welcoming to all visitors to China. They appear to be a group of people who work well together and enjoy each other in free time. It was nice to see such group cohesion.

I have so many, many wonderful students in Jinan!

I love you all and thank you for providing such a terrific experience meeting each of you and learning about your culture. I am looking forward to seeing all of you again.

This game of scrabble was an introduction to the game for several students, but we had fun.

This game of scrabble with some members of Team Q was an introduction to the game for several students, but we had fun and learned a few new words.

My schedule was a little tight this trip thus, preventing me from spending more quality time with each of my students. One student I had trouble connecting with was Sky. She operates a school for young ESL students and has recently expanded her business to a larger facility. I did introduce The Game of Scrabble to her and I hope she finds it helpful for getting kids excited about vocabulary.

Cool girl sky and young Mr. Pie with the old fat guy!

Cool girl Sky (r) and young Mr. Pie (middle) with the old fat guy!

Next trip; More time with Sandy and Sky and other students I missed on this trip.

Climbing Mt. Tai is another item on the list for my next visit. Confucius was said to have uttered “The world is very small'” upon reaching the top of this famous mountain. I have also read that those who climb to the top will live to be 100.


I would also like to explore more of Shangdong province outside of the city.

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/high-speed-rail-to-jinan/


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    • Sandy on April 24, 2015 at 4:42 am
    • Reply

    I ‘m very glad to see your blog, Kevin, and just as we said that we will meet again in the future. My busy work is slowing down now. You finish your travel, so both of us can have a break now. See you on our class, by the way, when you start your lesson?

    1. We will have your lesson at the regular time this week, dear. Don’t be late! haha!
      We will spend more time next visit. You had better start to improve your scrabble skills.

    • spring on April 24, 2015 at 8:57 pm
    • Reply

    Being a member of team Q, I am very happy to meet you for real .People usually looks more cute or handsome through the vedio.But you,to my surprise, is much more handsome and younger to my face.
    Also thank you for introducing the game of scrabble which i will use for building my vocabulary.By the way, May and i win the second round also, haha…

    1. I am excited that you enjoy scrabble. It is a fun way to learn new words and practice strategy. Thanks for your high praise. It was my pleasure to meet you and the team. Looking forward to the next game.

    • May on April 24, 2015 at 10:01 pm
    • Reply

    It was really nice to see you in Jinan,Kevin. Only the gathering time was too short, far away from enough!
    Next time,wish we should have a whole afternoon to play scrabble.I will keep practising to become a qualified competitor. Don.t treat lightly,haha.

    1. Thank you for the warning, May! I think you will become a serious contender. I better practice using the link to the Scrabble app.
      I’m looking forward to our next match.

    • Summer on April 28, 2015 at 5:44 am
    • Reply

    Dear Kevin,very excited to see you in Jinan!!!
    I really enjoy the time with you.You have the sense of humor,you are very sweet and handsome.
    Next time we must spend more time playing scrabble.I think it is intresting.
    Really looking forward to seeing you again in JINAN!

    1. Summer, It was my pleasure to meet you and all of Team Q!
      Miss May has already put me on notice that she intends to beat me in Scrabble. I think I had better start preparing for many challenging competitors!
      Looking forward to our next game.

    • Grayson on May 1, 2015 at 10:05 am
    • Reply

    There’s a recent saying in China”The world is so big, i want to travel around” I am very excited to read these articles,because all your experiences in China are big impact on me,which arouse my ambition of traveling…….. And i hope there will be someday i can tell other people, “I have seen the world”.

    Looking forward to see you soon! And let’s go to Tibet next time!

    1. Traveling can offer us new perspectives about life and work. The world is indeed a very big place and so many places to see. Travel like education can (should ) be a life pursuit. Keep on traveling and continue to learn.
      Tibet is a place I would be curious to see, but at my age I am not sure I am willing to make the physical sacrifices of hardening my body that such a trip would require. High altitude adventures are of a special nature. Prior planning, including physical conditioning, special gear and acclimation to the thin air once you arrive all play a role in whether or not the trip is successful.
      By the time I was your age, I had ascended a half dozen 14,000 + ft. peaks in the Colorado Rockies. Today, I would have to think long and hard if I wanted to condition my body to make such a hike. I can tell you though, the view from the top of a great mountain peak is an awe inspiring spectacle!

    • Morning on May 4, 2015 at 10:29 pm
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    It was my great pleasure to show you around Daming Lake & Baotu Spring.Thank you very much for the photo copies,it is an unforgotten part of our memories!
    How time flies! The time we spent together is too short. Hope i can get the opportunity to play scrabble with you in the future.I think it is very useful to build my vocabulary.
    Here i want to express my sincere thanks specially. You introduce to us some effective ways 、abundant resources to improve our english levels and make me more confident meanwhile.
    Thank you,my dear Kevin. I will move on under your help!

    1. I am very pleased to learn that you had a successful first trip to Brazil! I am sure your boss was impressed too. May and Summer have expressed their desire to play Scrabble as well….in fact, May is confident she will win next time. Better get ready.

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