Had the best day today.
Ventured out on my own. Was given instructions on getting to the Big Goose Pagoda by bus. Well you know me, will try anything and always seem to forget I do not have any sense of direction.
Caught the correct bus but I did not know you had to have the correct money and feed it into the machine when you get on the bus. I tried to pay the driver and he just looked at me (in despair I think) and motioned for me to get on. Same happened on the way back.
Anyway, as I said, I was given instructions but could not keep up with the turns the bus was making, and I had to stand, and my low blood pressure was starting to tell and I thought I could see a park and surely that must be it. Guess again.
I approached a policeman (always go to a cop for help, right?) actually right, he was very helpful and seemed pleased he could help me even though he did not speak English. I had a map, pointed to where I wanted to go and he pointed down the street. So I started walking, walking walking.
I knew I was not lost when I saw Ronald McDonald (what would we do without him). I passed a University so I homed in on a likely looking student and asked them how far and they said two bus stops. They actually say bus stations here and I should have taken them at their word because it is about 20 blocks between bus stops (stations)
Passed this hotel and knew I would at least have somewhere to spend the night and be able to re-group in the morning.
FINALLY I could see it in the distance (enlarge the photo and squint and you may be able to see the outline of the Pagoda!)
It took me 45 minutes to walk the distance.
From then on the day was great. Have lot of wonderful pictures to put on when I get back to Tianjin. Two young girls came up to me to have their photo taken with me and two university students wanted to have a conversation.
One on the park rangers (I think that is what he was, university student working part time.) wanted to talk with me and tell me how great the Big Goose Pagoda is and all about the surrounding area. O.K. but he was coughing all the time and I had to keep backing away. After he left I had a bath with hand sanitizer.
Stopped to have a cup of coffee at a little bar in the park (and I do mean little, 2 stools and that is all). I thought the guy said 2 yuen and he was getting agitated when I gave it to him. As luck would have it Andrew chose that moment to ring me so I asked him to talk to the bloke and sort it out. Poor man he wanted 20.00 yuen.
I took lots of wonderful photos around the temple and through two beautiful parks there. It was so surprising. Photos up tomorrow.
I return tonight, overnight on the train, to Tianjin and then fly out to Malaysia on Saturday.
Oh! About the Kenyan. I spoke to the staff here and they said he is a real pest. He comes in every weekend, is drunk by 10:00am and annoys all the guests. They have had to ask him to leave on many occasions.