Another day trip we took last summer was to the neighboring city center of Zhoucun (pronounced -- oh, never mind). Thanks to the complete flatness of the landscape, Ross and I can travel quite a distance on our old bikes. We went along the highway, past a number of factories and businesses (such as that one with the unexpected mansard roof on the lower right). Zhoucun was about 40 minutes' ride away. It is an older area of Zibo. Zibo is called a city but it's actually a collection of seven districts with seven different city centers. Like Greater Vancouver, each district has its own personality. Zhoucun is kind of the Burnaby or New Westminster of Zibo, if you know Greater Vancouver.
So we got to explore downtown Zhoucun a little bit and came across a nice park. Unlike some of the newer parks we've visited in Zibo, this one was full of people enjoying various pastimes -- roller skating, playing Chinese checkers or cards, and fishing.
Them: (In Chinese) Are you Americans? (If we can pick out the word, měi-guó rén, which means American).
Us: (In Chinese) No. We're from Canada.
Them: (In Chinese, with smiles and head nods) Ah! Canada! Very beautiful country!
Us: (In Chinese) Thank you. (xiè-xie)
Them: (In Chinese) Why are you here? (Or possibly they just asked, )how old are you?
Us: (In Chinese). I'm a teacher. This is my husband.
Them: (In Chinese) how old are you? (or possibly) why are you here?
Us: I'm 59.
Them: (In Chinese) Can you speak Chinese? (Actually, that's been pretty well established).
Us: No, sorry.
Sometimes children will shyly say "hello" to us, so we exchange "how do you do's" and "nice to meet you's" while the parent or grandparent whispers encouragement. Ross carries a supply of little Canadian flag pins to hand out to the older children.
Often the locals will cheerfully chat away with us but once they realize we can't understand, they'll slow down a bit and start gesturing, which certainly brings home to me as an English teacher the reality that even if you slow down, speak louder, and wave your arms around a bit, it doesn't mean that someone who can't speak English will understand you. Because it doesn't work for Chinese, either.
Ross has observed that we've really gotten used to communicating with a few words of Chinese, while pointing at things. It's just a way of life, now. And we make not understanding work for us sometimes, too. Are bicycles allowed in the park? Who knows? Let's play "dumb foreigner" and ride in here anyway.
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Ross enjoyed watching the fisherman using their Chinese-style equipment, but I don't imagine they pulled anything noteworthy out of that lake.
Cycling around the park, we heard some lovely music and followed the sound. In a quiet corner, under the trees, we saw some ladies practicing dancing/exercise with fans.
I hope they don't mind, but we snatched a little bit of video. It was so charming.