Finding Myself in China: After years of living in China, I finally got around to organizing a trip to Tibet. I was due to pay for the trip at the End of June and I was to go in October during the Chinese National Holiday. If you have been wondering why the Chinese Government put a ban on foreigners going to Tibet, then now you know the reason. It was to stop me! Alleyways and Streets are more narrow than the canals in Xitang Town ZheJiang. Once we cleared the bars it quieted down. Now this is where I point out why the title of this article has 'Clown' in it.
Clowns in Xitang (Water) Town in Zhejiang Province
I have often written about Murphy's Law and how it follows me everywhere I go. Well recently it struck again. After years of living in China, I finally got around to organizing a trip to Tibet. I was due to pay for the trip at the End of June and I was to go in October during the Chinese National Holiday. If you have been wondering why the Chinese Government put a ban on foreigners going to Tibet, then now you know the reason. It was to stop me!
What do you see beside the clown?
I was to have gone to Tibet with Mingxing, a person whose name appears in a number of my articles, since not only did he live with me for a year in Hong Hu, but we have travelled around together (eg: Nanjing) a little too. He currently works in Chengdu and in May he pointed out that I had not done any sightseeing for awhile and suggested that I go visit him. When I mentioned that I was planning on going to Tibet he got really excited because he and his brother were also planning on going there in October.
Well wasn't that fortuitous! I decided to just pay him the money and let him organize everything for me. Since he was coming to Shanghai for a conference at the end of June, I suggested that I should give him the money at that time rather than holding on to it, but before he arrived, Tibet was taken out of my reach.
Mingxing - or Mike Zhang to those who know him in the business world - decided to take some extra time off work and do some sightseeing while he was in Shanghai, and he organized for his brother and me to join him. Our travels were divided into several time periods according to our various commitments, but it all came together with our mutually agreed upon meeting place - the Shanghai Railway station at noon on June 22nd. And didn't Murphy have fun with that!
Some Photos of Xitang
Alleyways and Streets are more narrow than the canals in Xitang Town ZheJiang.
I had finished teaching on Tuesday June 19th and on Friday 22nd I set off quite early for Shanghai. There is nothing like the high speed trains from Suzhou to Shanghai - just a 33 minute trip. I left quite early in the morning because I wanted to travel out to HongQiao airport, just to familiarize myself with the location and the transport because I was flying out from there to Australia on June 29th. All was set. It was decided that Mingxing (after flying in to Pudong Airport) and his brother who was already visiting someone in Shanghai, would meet me at HongQiao.
Mingxing's brother was on his way to the Shanghai railway station, and I was killing time at HongQiao when Mingxing called to say that his flight was delayed, and so he asked if I would return to the railway station and meet his brother. Well that was a comedy of errors for numerous reasons not the least of which was that the brother didn't really speak English and couldn't understand where I was telling him that I was. I grabbed a passerby and explained that my friend didn't know where I was and asked if this kind gentleman could tell him. He opened up his mouth and said exactly what I had been saying and 'brother' was still clueless. Turns out that neither of these Chinese men could really understand the other's Chinese accent.
Souvenir and Food Stalls line both sides of the Canal
The bottom line is that 'brother' and I did finally meet up and then travelled out to HongQiao Train Station where we spent a total of 4 hours together talking in Chinese before Mingxing turned up. I gotta say here that I only ever spent one semester learning Mandarin and that was after 2 years of learning local dialect. I still can't read and write Chinese and my Chinese Accent is usually CHINESE and my dialect is mixed. On top of this, I rarely need to talk in Chinese for very long, and so, after 4 hours of talking, MY BRAIN WAS FRIED.
During the time Mingxing was waiting for his flight and again between arrival at Pudong and arrival at HongQiao, we had numerous discussions as to what to actually do and where we were going to stay. When he arrived, we bought train tickets to some town whose name I have now forgotten and then took a local - not legal - taxi into Xitang. Xitang is a tourist water town and you actually have to pay to go in there. Our taxi driver charged us an extra 50 rmb ENTRANCE FEE (I think we got ripped off), and pointed us in the direction of a local boarding house.
Really bright and noisy at night - calm and peaceful at 7am - Xitang town Zhejiang
The three of us shared 2 beds in a room not big enough to swing a Panda, but we did have screens on the window to keep out the mosquitoes, a TV, air conditioning, and a shared shower and toilet down the hall. And it only cost 180rmb per night for the room compared with 600rmb+ for local hotels. As we live and work in China and get paid in Chinese money, we couldn't afford those pricey tourist hotels. The boss lady told us that if we go through the entrances to the sightseeing place before 7.45am and after 7pm that we wouldn't have to pay to get in, and so naturally we dropped everything and did a night tour while it was free. Next morning Mingxing's brother left to take a train back to Wuhan and we did the 'daytime' tour. What a difference!
There are so many bars and nightclubs there that where we entered at night time, we had to shout to be heard. Once we cleared the bars it quieted down. Now this is where I point out why the title of this article has 'Clown' in it, and why there is a picture of a clown at the beginning of this article. We saw this clown outside one of the nightclubs, and so I stopped to take a picture. As I proceeded on my way I glanced in the nightclub door beside which the clown was standing, and I nearly had a heart attack. There was this girl - almost completely naked - with just tassels on the top and g-string down below. Never did I ever imagine seeing such a thing in China. My friends started laughing and I began clutching at my chest breathing hard saying: 'I am too told to see this! I am too old!' and the Chinese young folk walking beside us cracked up laughing. It was a good stir.
Plenty of Bars, Nightclubs and noise at night and some Really Interesting Signs
And what does that Chinese Man think he is looking at? Bloody Tourists!
We stayed a couple of hours in the district taking photographs, looking in the shops and just talking. It also provided me with an opportunity to add some knickknacks to my little stock of presents for my grandkids back home. Next morning (Saturday 23rd) Mingxing and I took a leisurely stroll around the area again, stopping to listen to some performers on a stage above a 'water gate' and on one occasion stopping for some really expensive but delicious cappuccino.
The entertainers were singing Chinese Opera and people lined the banks of the canal this side to listen.
The first thing we did that day was have breakfast at the 'Me and Town' restaurant in the laneway by the Bridge where there is a sign that says: 'Beizha Street.' The restaurant looked really wonderful and had a sign out front advertising Bacon, Eggs and Coffee for breakfast. What a Luxury! Of course I am always skeptical in China so I made Mingxing question the shopkeeper thoroughly as to how the Bacon and Eggs were prepared and what sort of coffee was on offer and made him double check to ensure that I got a black coffee. Well, as it turns out, the bacon and eggs are fried AND chopped up and mixed with fried rice. My black coffee was instant sache coffee - milk and sugar included. That's life in China.
There is that Chinese Tourist again!
The Breakfast was actually quite nice and we chatted with an American and his Chinese Wife
As we explored, we kept coming across different entrances-exits to this scenic area and we made sure not to exit lest we found ourselves needing to later re-enter in order to find our way back to our little room. Mingxing kept telling me that such was not likely, but I, knowing full well how Murphy's Law operates, knew better than to press my luck.
Eventually we left the way we came in, had a rest, went for lunch, and then took a walk to find the bus station because the plan was that next day we would travel to Jiaxing so that I could keep an appointment. On the way to finding the bus station, we saw the big ornate stone Chinese archways that indicate an important city entrance, and we casually strolled out through it past the guards. At all times we were in plain view of the guards but when we tried to re-enter, the guards demanded our tickets.
That's the sanitation worker in that boat under the Bridge.
As we didn't have tickets Mingxing showed some photos on his phone to prove that we had just come out to find the bus station. The guard directed us toward the bus station, where we achieved our objective of finding the necessary information for the next day's travel. Next morning (Sunday 24th) we caught the local bus to Jiaxing and after my appointment, took a train to Hangzhou. We stayed in Hangzhou Sunday and Monday nights and on Tuesday Mingxing went off to Shanghai to prepare for his conference, and I headed back to Suzhou.
As I continue this story, you will once again see how Murphy's Law follows me wherever I go, and in the process I will share not only photos of West Lake taken both in 2007 (about which I never wrote) and on this trip, but also of a wonderful little place called the 'Southern Song Dynasty Royal Road.' Because of the sheer volume of photographs taken on this trip, most of the photographs appearing in the Magic City Morning Star News Version of this story do not appear in the KingCalendar Version, in which photographs are much larger.
This was the first of 3 stories and 4 files on my holiday
See the list below.
I hope you Enjoyed the photographs and commentary.
When my children were small and they persisted to do something inside the house that had obvious potential for damage, I would warn them of the likely consequences of their actions and then when something did go wrong and they said ‘but it was an accident,’ I would say ‘no it was not! It was a foregone conclusion.’ When counter protesters set out to impede, provoke and confront an opposing ideological group, what results is what one would expect to result and only the idiotic, mindless, anally retentive and just plain stupid person would claim that it is not their fault that the protesters got upset or took action against them.
Mao Wenwen reminded me that when she was my student I would often refer to her as Mao Zedong. I do that sometimes – calling students by the names of famous or infamous people. Paying honor to me as her English teacher Mao Wenwen provided me the coffee free of charge (courtesy of the management). She also invited Johnny and me to come inside and take a look around, and once I did, I decided that I wanted to come back to take photos. Receiving permission from the owner, all I needed was the chance to get back.
I’m sure if you understand what Sociology is that you would find my statement rather strange for it leads to the question of what impact the King’s Calendar Research Result has on society and societal problems. But before we go look at that aspect, I want to talk about the personal aspect – MY aspect.
The demolition came as row between the church and government escalated over allegations the church refused to pay a £450 arbitrary road usage fee. Pastor Zhang Di was summoned for questioning last month and accused of assaulting police officers and attacking a village official. So when I read reports as in the link you sent and see the ACTUAL TRUTH in the middle of the article, I know that there is a lot more going on than is being reported.
Well obviously I am misrepresenting the meaning of the protester here. What they mean is that they support the right of one section of society to have and to hold their own culture and beliefs and they do this by protesting against another section of society’s right to have and to hold their own culture and beliefs.
As for a non-Muslim who posits that Islamic Terrorists do not truly practice Islam or truly believe in Allah, they are speaking either from complete ignorance, or subjective rationale relative to whatever it is that they have been told, or heard, or read. The word subjective relates a personal position relative to a particular situation. That does not of course mean that the subjective perception is ABSOLUTELY / ULTIMATELY incorrect. It may well be correct – the ultimately provable fact of the matter.
Three other articles in relation to the Xitang Trip
We spent quite a bit of time in Leifeng Pagoda before leaving to take a cab back to our hotel. On the way out we read all the signs about the Pagoda's history and the Story of Lady White Snake. We also stopped so that Mingxing could duck into a little temple beside the Pagoda. I took the opportunity to sit on a fence and have a cigarette. While doing so I notice 2 young couples at the entrance and one of the boys looked at me, smiled, said something to his girlfriend who then produced a camera and then made a beeline for me so he could have his photo taken with a 'real live foreigner.' We foreigners probably have our photos taken more often than movie stars.
Located at the south foot of Qixia Ridge, Yue Fei's Tomb (and Temple) is one of representative historic sites of Confucian culture in West Lake Cultural Landscape as well as the place for the famous national hero Yue Fei. As a model of Chinese cultural tradition of loyalty and filial piety known to every household, Yue Fei has been respected and cherished by people with their sacrifices for centuries in this sacred site.
When excavating workers discovered the original Royal road and archaeological viewing platforms have been set up from both above and beside the original road. No charge! You can go down the ramp and clearly see the road and the accompanying signs/ The Chaotian Gate - During the Zhizheng Reign of Yuan Dynasty it was renamed to Gongbei Tower. It was destroyed in the 10th year (1474) of Chenghua Reign Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in the next year. The building was destroyed again in early Qing Dynasty and rebuilt in the 25th year (1686) of the Kangxi Reign Qing Dynasty. It is known as Drum Tower.
Mingxing's company had booked him into the upmarket Kempinski Hotel in Wuxi and he organized and paid for one extra day so that we could go sightseeing. There are two photos in Part one that relate to the Kempinski Hotel Room, but this photo is of the lavish foyer of the Hotel as taken from the first floor landing above the coffee shop. Whilst the Big Buddha is the 'centerpiece' so to speak, the real spectacular is to be found in the Cultural Museum. This place is one helluva spectacular place inside. It sits directly opposite the replica of the Potala Palace, and when you enter you are required to put coverings over your shoes. I suspect that the real reason is to cut down on the cleaning bill. This place was crowded and all those people shuffling along wearing shoe protectors gave the marble floor a really high sheen.
I once had someone write me to say that there was no such thing as Murphy's Law but that my personal 'negativity,' my belief - if you will, was drawing all the negative energy of the universe into my life and thus I was creating all my own bad luck. Wow! Who knew I could have such power! - Two weeks later I decided to return to Jiaxing to take some photos. At the North Bus Station in Suzhou I bought my ticket and while waiting for the bus, noticed that my destination in Jiaxing was the 'Central' bus station. When I arrived, I was totally lost and had to call my friends and ask them how to get to their place.
Qing Ming, means clear and bright in Chinese. It is both the fifth term in the traditional lunar calendar and a festival to hold memorial ceremony for the dead. Being as how I was the only white face in the crowd, the Chinese attendants jumped on me, baptised me, confirmed me and handed me the brochure with all the church services times listed on it. They wanted to know if I was Catholic or Christian. Usually I just tell people I am a Muslim, and it makes them think twice. This time I said something that I regretted. Ha! I'm not telling you what I said!
The Garden of Couple's Retreat. Located on the northeastern edge of the ancient city of SuZhou, the garden was first created in the early Qing period as a pleasure garden of Baoning Prefect Lu Jingzhi. In the 13th year of Tong ZhiReign (1874 AD), Shen Bingcheng, governor of Susongtai Region, acquired it and expanded it into the present scale.The park is located by one of the major canals on the North / East side of SuZhou. It is not far from the Old Water Gate, and right behind it is the SuZhou Zoo. I have been in YanCheng now for 6 months and no longer have a map of SuZhou from which to give precise directions. The entrance looks great from the overpass, but otherwise you wouldn't know it is there. I did take some photos of it at night when I was on the canal tour. That tour leaves from 'ShiLu' which is the 'small' walking street - not Guanqian Jie which is the big walking street.
Leo Rosten in the Joys of Yiddish wrote that there is an old Jewish saying, that the difference between psychotics and neurotics is that while psychotics believe that 2 + 2 = 5 neurotics, although fully cognisant of the fact that 2 + 2 = 4, just simply can't stand it! Personally, I think there are a lot of neurotics in the world. When I read all the bad press Israel gets for it's Terrorism in Palestine, and compare it to the press coverage of the current situation in Lebanon, I can't help but think that the Media are neurotic
Jiaye Ancient Library is a famous private library with the largest collection of books in modern China. the construction of the library was started in 1920 and completed in 1924. It covers an area of 13,340 square meters, and expended the gold of 120,000 liang. After liberation in 1949, it has become part of Zhejiang Library that mainly houses ancient books. In June of 2001, Jiaye Ancient Library was deemed a National Preserved Cultural Relic Unit.
Designed by Lu Yanzhi, a famous architect, the construction of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum began in March 1926 and ended in the spring of 1929. It is 700 meters from the Memorial Archway to the coffin chamber with 10 terraces and 392 steps between them, and the falling head reaches 70 meters. The main buildings of the mausoleum include the memorial archway, the mausoleum gate, the tablet pavilion, the sacrificial hall and the coffin chamber. On June 1, 1929, a grand burial ceremony was held at the mausoleum which is shaped like an alarm bell, symbolizing Dr. Sun Yat-sen's unyileding spirit in fighting to arouse people and salvage the nation. - In the center of this map with the blue roof is Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum. To the right is the Linggu Pagoda and to the left of the Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum is the Ming Tomb area. As you can see there are many other places to see. There is also Purple Mountain at the very top of the picture, access to which can be gained by a cable way
Hong Hu like any Chinese city, contains areas in which the tourist might feel a little 'insecure.' It is not necessary. They are normal places, just tucked away out of sight, and which can be bypassed without realizing that they are there. It took me quite a while to notice the main entrance to one such place, and to my surprise it was like a rabbit’s warren of every imaginable piece of clothing you could buy.
Being an organisation relying of public support, you can well imagine their financial difficulties, but as they point out, "Surgical costs in China are so much lower than in other parts of the world," that "no gift is too small when it involves the health of a child." They are currently attempting to raise funds to build an extension to the 'Hope Foster Home' in Beijing, in order to care for critically ill and disabled children - you know! - the ones that absolutely nobody wants
by R.P. BenDedek October 23, 2003
Another dislocated himself in order to fit into a little hoop. He provided various demonstrations of this. Another one stuck a metal rod in his throat, positioning the other end of the rod on a long board, which was being held by volunteers from the audience. He actually managed to knock them off their feet. Then they called for extra volunteers and they were determined not to let him do a repeat. They succeeded. He applied so much pressure, that he actually bent the rod into a 'U' shape. Another couple of gentlemen were lain on swords, one monk on top of the other, with the topmost one holding a huge slab of rock which was pounded with a sledgehammer until the rock split. This was accomplished without injury.
(Note: Chiara Braccagni's articles are in both English and Italian)
A una di queste chiamate, ci fermiamo a fianco a una coppia di giovani. Non solo i due incauti avevano diversi sacchetti, ma portavano con sé anche una torta. Dopo varie discussioni con la bigliettaia perché la torta nel pulmino proprio non ci stava, provano ad aprire il finestrino e a passarla alla ragazza seduta di fronte a Justine. Visto che non riuscivano a spostare il vetro, sporgendomi, faccio alla bigliettaia: "Lo faccia passare da qui" (okkei, va bene, ho detto solo "da qui," il resto della frase era sottinteso!). Io, anima ingenua, credevo che una volta saliti i due giovani avrebbero trovato il modo di riprendersi la torta. E invece no! Mi sono fatta una decina di chilometri di strada sterrata con una torta gelato sulle ginocchia! E giusto per renderla ancora più precaria, era una torta a due piani con complesse decorazioni, tra cui un drago giallo con occhi e baffi di cioccolata. Avevo il terrore di spetasciarla. A questo punto, però, ridevamo da non riuscire più a respirare.
Feng Qiao Road runs behind my school. Eventually it becomes Xi Zhong Shi Road (West-Middle Road) which turns into Dong (East) Zhong Shi Road. This then becomes West and East Bai Ta Road, which eventually curves around a park and canal to intersect at Dong Bei Street. A right turn at Dong Bei Street runs takes you to the City Gateway and on the otherside it is called Lou Men road. I followed Lou Men road a fair distance until I ended up in a little village, at which point I turned around and headed home
I am currently learning quite a lot of Chinese bad language of late. You see, whereas for the past 18 months I have lived without neighbours on this floor of my building, this semester brought with it so very many boys to this university, that the administration decided to fill the 3 rooms on either side of mine, with a total of thirty-six 2nd year male students, and my home has turned into a virtual drop-in center. My students have the freedom in my class to speak honestly. I tell them that I prefer the truth to politness. I tell all classes, that it is not my job to be their friend, and their purpose in class is neither to be friendly or unfriendly. I'm not there for friendship.
Realising that this was a 'security' situation, I decided that it was probably unwise to stand around with my hands in my pockets, and deliberately removed them, keeping my hands in plain sight at all times. While quite conscious of the fact that the uniform police in every direction were discreetly keeping an eye on me, it nevertheless was a surprise when the Chinese Secret Serviceman confronted me, although from the man's first step in a 15 metre walk, I knew instinctively who he would be. He pulled out his credentials, and speaking in reasonably good English, informed me that he was a Policeman; advised me that he had been watching me for 20 minutes; and wanted to know what I was doing there
Summer Camp consisted of two different 12 day sessions, teaching each class once every two days. On the day of the 4th class during the first camp, I was advised that the parents had complained about my teaching. 'They think that what you teach is useless (like having the students stand and actually speak English), and that you should teach 'new words' (that they will never use if they don't actually speak), and that you should teach them about Australia."
Since 2004 he has been writing academic articles, social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both here at KingsCalendar, and formerly as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News (Maine USA) where from 2009 to 2015 he was Stand-in Editor. He currently has a column at iPatriot.com and teaches English to Business English and Flight Attendant College Students in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province People's Republic of China.)
BenDedek originally created the site to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran.' Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah. Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
(The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam)
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]