While we were waiting for all of the 20-somethings to wake up, we went to the beach for a little early morning sand-play.
We spotted this woman washing her vegetables on the street, getting ready for the breakfast and lunch crowds.
Once everyone was ready and fed, we started our climb of Mount Putuo. One of the ivy-grown walls next to the path...
Some of the beautiful canopy over our heads...
This monk was doing his pilgrimage to the top, complete with backpack. He would kneel and touch his head to the ground about every 3 steps. Exhausting! Passers-by would give him some water to help him on his way. There's Peter, passing him on his right.
Jack looked in the bushes for critters to take pictures of. I'll do a separate blog of all of the critter pictures he took!
The boys really loved all of the green moss and wanted their picture taken by the mossy rocks here...
Sophie sat down on the stairs for a break. Doesn't she look tired?
After an hour's worth of stairs, here we are at the top!
We walked down a wooded path to the temple on the top. Here we are at the temple entrance with the sign behind us to prove we all made it!
We strolled inside the temple to take a look around at the grounds...
LEFT: a set of prayer pillows under some decorations hung from the ceiling. RIGHT: Peering through a doorway into one of the temple rooms.
Looking down one of the many temple hallways...
This is the typical pose we saw of many hundreds of people who come to Putuoshan for their pilgrimage.
More prayers being said...
Laura and Kendall hanging out in the courtyard...
More open air courtyard of this mountain-top temple.
Part of the group taking a rest and looking at pictures after our hike up the mountain and walking through the temple!
There are many beads and Buddhist artifacts for sale up and down the mountain. This man was waving is arm to beckon would-be customers over to his display...
Kendall and Sue enjoying the view on the way back down the mountain.
Sophie caught a ride most of the way down with Aamir or some other poor sucker who she was able to beg into carrying her!
Jack was a trooper up and down the mountain. Kendall showed him how to take pictures of bugs and other creatures so he stopped every 50 feet to do so!
At the bottom of the mountain, we had to cross a park to get to the beach. We found many pigeons and - pigeon feed for sale! Jack laid down on the grass and asked us to sprinkle some food around!
He loved it! The pigeons did have a hard time staying on his slippery, short hair...
Sophie also had a great time being with the pigeons. Peter however couldn't be bothered. He made a bee-line for the beach!
The pigeons also loved Sue. They would land on her even if she didn't have any food!
Rebecca tried and tried to get a bird to land on her, but they just wouldn't! I told her to act like a tree, which she is doing here.
The birds sure enjoyed perching on Sue!
They were also (rightly) a little skittish of landing on the kids, but Peter saw what fun we were having and came back to join in.
However, the beach was beckoning and what a nice beach it was, called the "Thousand Step Beach".
We bought (negotiated!) a sand bucket with tools for the kids, and Sophie immediately ran to the water's edge to break ground.
The boys commandeered some of the more useful tools and started building a sand castle.
This was Rebecca's first time to ever sea the sea, so she really enjoyed the water and the sand.
She built her first sand castle with the boys. They started one, but the tide was coming in so fast that they had to restart further up the beach.
The rest of the group had seen the beach before, and they had different ideas!
Lots of little things in bloom...
Jack, helping to make an earthworks to protect the sand castle from the onslaught of waves.
LEFT: Jack, who we told not to get wet, now thoroughly soaked, and RIGHT: Sophie loved to run so much on the beach we had to track her down by her footprints.
The three engineers, calling their masterpiece complete as the tide started to claim it back for its own.
All refreshed after a long beach nap!
After a bus ride back to town, we looked for a place to have dinner. We passed by the town well where we saw many people come to get water by lowering the bucket...