Jinan has become my second city and as always I am grateful for the many friends I know there. This was my 4th visit to The City of Springs. You can read about previous trips here, and here, and here.
My usual routine is to fly into Beijing and then spend the night in a hotel not far from the airport. Fourteen hours of flying along with the added time of getting to and from airports, is best to take a rest before traveling on to Jinan. The day after landing, I can catch the high-speed train and be there in 2 hours. However, on this return trip home, due to some unforeseen scheduling constraints, I did the marathon starting at 9:00AM, from Echo’s place to the rail station (1 hour) in Jinan -> Beijing by highs speed train (1 hour and 40 minutes), to the Beijing Airport by taxi (just over 1 hour) through the security screening which usually takes an hour, totaling almost 5 hours of hustling prior to a 14 hour flight that ends with another minimum of an hour (if there are no lines and no snags) getting through customs and out to the long term parking lot and finally another 2 hours driving home from Newark. For a grand total of at least 22 hours of travel time!…only if I am lucky I may get an hour or two of sleep on the plane. The seats are simply too small, crowded and uncomfortable for me to sleep. Needless to say it is an arduous trip when taken all in one continuous run. Fortunately, the weather held good until I was nearly home. As I reached the Delaware Gap rain was starting to mix with a little snow and the temperature was dropping. I awoke to a couple inches of snow in the morning.
An interesting note about this trip; Regular readers know that I struggle with the bi-annual time change. It disorients my circadian clock and I am in full agreement with the millions of people who think it is a silly idea and should be abolished. Anyway, this season’s time change occurred while I was traveling. In fact, Daylight Savings Time ended the day I was flying to China. So, it will be interesting to see if I notice the change after this two weeks away.
The weather was pleasant in Jinan though the air quality was quite bad.
It was lovely to see everyone from Team Q again! The team has become like a second family for me and I am grateful to all my friends in Jinan for their warm welcome. Happy to learn of new babies too! Congratulations to David who is father of a second boy and to Morning and May for their cute little girls. Additionally, several of the team have passed the 100 lesson marker with me! Congratulations to Allen, Summer, and May! I think each of you have noticed the improvement in your second language skills. Keep up the good work.
On this visit, we also continued the tradition of playing the game of scrabble. May has become the resident star player. She usually scores highest of anyone. Give the fact that she grasped the game quickly, I had her play as a partner with new team member, June…and in May’s absence at the second game June’s team won! Nice! If you go to the link above you will learn some of the secrets to becoming a top-notch scrabble player.
Also on this visit I did some fun cultural things; A lesson in traditional Chinese tea service was very informative. We tasted several nice teas and learned some interesting minutia.
I had an opportunity to play Chinese checkers. I think the last time I played was when I was about 10 years old! After doing a bit of research on this game, I am puzzled how it ever got the name of “Chinese checkers”, because it was actually invented in Germany!
I also took a yoga lesson and it helped stretch out some tough knots in this old body. Many yoga stretches are similar to the stretching routine I used in Karate training and it was a reminder of the fact that I need to get back onto a regular fitness program to initially lose some weight and then tone things up for better overall wellness.
Finally, I had three acupuncture session to work on the neck injury I sustained over a year ago in a traffic incident. Here is a link to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine.