he first day of Wh

about Jinan even if they ▓have not been there. Winter of Jinan, an essay written by Lao She (1899-1966), is compulsory reading for high sch▓ool students acro

ss the country. As Lao She describes it, Jinan's winter is unlike those of ▓other northern cities. It is "benevolent" - warm, sunny an▓d "without the sound of wind". It is "an old city, with many hills and springs,▓ asleep in warmth and comfort, waiting to be awa▓kened by spring's breeze".

This "land of dreams" is where I ▓was born and grew up. Nurtured by its pleasant weath

ite Dew, peo Dolor Sit

er, Jinan people are naturally generous, hospitable, joyous, with a special enthusiasm for drinking. This capital of East▓ China's Shandong province is also kn

image

own as the "city of s▓prings", with 72 of them dotting the land▓scape. While their locations, history, and characteri▓stics have been meticulously documented, Baotu Spring is the most well known. It ranks▓ alongside Qianfo Hill and Daming Lake as Jinan's top sight. Water gushes from the th▓ree mouths of Baotu Spring all year round, feeding its people, and telling its stories. Speaking of Daming Lake, besides its wonderful lake scenery and Spring Festival Temple Fair, its frog population is an odd lot - they never croak. The▓ story goes that once Qing emperor Q▓ianlong visited Daming Lake and was impressed by its beauty, marred

only by the noisy frogs who disturbed his sleep. The emperor ordered them to keep shut. They did - and have been doing▓ so for generations thereafter. No one as yet come ▓up with a scientific explanation for this unique phenom▓enon, and so the legend endures. Jinan is also a good place for foreigners to practice their Chinese▓. The local dialect shares the same pronunciation as Putonghua for almost every Chin▓ese character, but uses different tones. Hence, those still struggling with the four tones of▓ Putonghua can easily communicate with the local▓s

, as their less-than-perfect tones are very likely to match the correct tones of the J

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inan dialect. Shandong's cuisin▓e is acclaimed as one of the four best cuisines ▓in the country. Famous dishes include tangcu▓liyu (fried carp with sweet and sour sauce), jiuzhuandachang (twisted large intestine of the pi▓g) and baochaoyaohua (fried pig kidney). But I prefer the street snacks. I bet Jinan's baked sweet

R Code t

potato is the best in China, even the whole w▓orld! My classmates

in primary school will surely recall when the teacher asked

us to▓ write about a local specialty, a

ll 54 of us wrote about the

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