Splendor of a bargainer’s paradise
The city of Tai’an is very crowded and dirty with many overprice retail stores and shopping complexes for tourists. Luckily, we had a clean hotel to rest in the night before our climb.
I woke around 5:45 a.m. feeling sick to my stomach, and no matter what I did nothing helped to make it better. I decided on the bus ride to mountain Tai no matter what I would make it to the summit, because this experience is one of the most important ones of the entire trip to China.
The shuttle bus took us to the half way starting point where we began our hike. The beginning — unlike what I expected — the steps were easy with many places to stop for shade and refreshments from the local venders, who we are told make the hike on foot every day to all parts of the mountain.
After a few minutes the steps began to lengthen and neither shade nor vender came as often as our trek to the summit continued. Taishan is one of the best places we have been for taking pictures. I was able to get hundreds of perfect shots of the natural landscape.
After about two and a half hours, we reached the top where our friends were waiting for us. In the end after battling exhaustion and stomach problems on the way up, the mountain climb was well worth it. Taishan has amazing vistas that look beyond steep drop offs and thousands of steps to the city below.
The trip down was faster and easier thanks to the lift that gave us a break from walking, as well as an real view of the mountain. We went to Jinan for dinner with one of the first Chinese exchange students we met before coming to China in Bloomsburg.
Lin’s father treated us all to dinner at an amazing upscale local restaurant where I had the best meal since getting to China.
Haggling against desire
China has proven to be a bargainer’s paradise. Just about every object up for sale can be negotiated for.
Before coming to China I never had a true bargaining experience, excluding buying a car, which is something completely different than trying to negotiate the price of a bottle of water on a mountain when you know the seller already understands your dire need for something to drink and you are willing to pay about anything for it.
That’s what happened to many others and me on Taishan, when we hiked it the other day. It’s a funny thing to be thirsty or hungry in a place where there is really only one option, yet still trying to negotiate with a seller over a few Yuan difference.
A bottle of water in China normally costs from 1 1/2 to three Yuan; but at touristy places like Taishan, it can cost anywhere from five to 10 Yuan. That’s cheaper than in the states, but after a while we begin to treat Yuan like dollars and for the most part things match up pretty well.
So, in the case of a bottle of water I’m happy to pay a couple dollars. But 10 Yuan is crazy, so bargaining for things becomes second nature after a while.
— Morris Longo, a sophomore business management major