My better half is right. I was mobbed by my fans from all over the world!
I woke up and decided that I’d like to find a cache in Spain. It’s really neat to be able to find treasures in a different part of the world. I opened the window and put my eTrex on the edge outside. It got the coordinate of my location. I then went to geocaching.com and searched for nearby caches using the coordinate. By the way, here is a shot of the view out of my hotel window. Pay attention to the antenna on top of buildings. When I went to high school in my county town almost 20 years ago, there were also many TV antennas on the rooftop of apartment buildings, not unlike what you can see in this picture.
It turned out one cache is hidden around Montjuic Castle, 1.5 kilometers away from my hotel. Keep in mind the distance is direct distance calculated by satellite. So you would walk more than that to get there, because it is impossible to walk a straight line in a city.
A few kilometers walk is manageable. So I started climbing toward the mountain behind.
About 2 blocks uphill from the hotel, there appear to be an elementary school. There is a playground next to it.
Continue hiking up, I passed what appeared to be another school. Behind the school, I saw this interesting sculpture:
During the hike, I saw 2 persons urinating along the road. One was walking his dog. He stopped and pissed next to the trail. The other parked his moped along the road and released himself on the slope below it. I was a little surprised by that, because although this is not the full tourist season, that area is not totally barren either. However, I don’t want to give you the impression that the mountain is dirty or smelly, though, because it is not. On the contrary, it looks very nice and well-maintained.
After hiking for a while, I got a very good view of the whole city. The following pictures were taken along the way:
Finally, I got to the cache spot. I saw the dog-walker mentioned earlier not too far from it. I waited a while for him to leave. I then found the cache without too much difficulty. Here is what I got:
I went to the castle afterwards, had a sandwich there and visited the museum inside.
On the way out, I saw a bunch of school children on a field trip. They were very curious of me. A few children asked “What’s your name” and “How old are you?”. That was apparently something they learned from their English textbook. And they were eager to practice on this Chinese. There was no point in telling them my adopted English name, so I told them my name and age in Chinese. I then managed to say “Chino” while pointing at myself a few times. That seemed to make them even more curious. A few ran away and told their friends about it. A few more then came over and asked the same questions. Some also told me “My name is so and so”. I managed to count 1 to 10 in Spanish, just to amuse them a little bit. There were a lot of giggles and excitement among them. A good time was had by all.
My first encounter with people of different skin tone happened sometime when I was in elementary school, probably when I was around 10 years old, the same age with most of the Spanish kids I met. I was visiting Mount Tai (泰山) and QuFu (曲阜, birthplace of Confucious). That was the first major trip I took outside of my village, although both Mount Tai and QuFu are in my province. My dad was on a teacher’s retreat. I believe a teacher was allowed to bring along one child. My dad lost all the money he brought half-way through the journey. He stored the money in a plastic bag that he carried, around 40 yuan, if I remember correctly. That is around 5 dollars in today’s rate, but should be less if the exchange rate in the 1980s is applied. I am not sure if he lost it or somebody stole it. In any case, I was very disappointed and afraid that we would have to go home early. The other teachers must have seen that and decided to lend us some money so we could continue the trip. One teacher I remember particularly well is 付员增. I am not sure if I typed his name correctly here, but I appreciate his empathy and compassion very much.
I vaguely remember I tossed an ice-cream wrap on a white person by accident, although the credibility of that memory is in doubt. I may have invented it to impress other kids and adults. I remember I had great curiosity about foreigners too, just like the Spanish children’s curiosity about me. I probably gawked at them, just like the Spanish children gawked at me. However, I wouldn’t be able to ask those simple questions in English, because I didn’t start learning English until the first year in middle school.
On the way down, I saw a group of probably 10 people climbing up. One of them approached me. I thought he must want me to take a group picture of them. But actually he wanted to take a picture with me. This group was from Italy. Fortunately, that person was the only one that wanted a picture with me. Crazy fans, what can I say? 🙂
In the picture above, the man in red coat asked me the name of the big tree in the picture. He thought the garden is Japanese-style and mistook me as a Japanese. After apologizing, we chatted briefly. They are retirees from Holland. He told me that his friend’s daughter studied in Beijing for one year and her whole family visited and had a good time there.
In all, it was a great side trip. Based on the number of people who wanted to talk to me, I can only conclude that my book has brought me fame from all over the world 🙂
Now promise me, don’t believe everything the tabloids say about me, ok? 😉