"Finding Myself in China" The presence of a foreigner, in drawing the usual inquisitive response, also resulted in a stern admonition from the proprietor to the workers to return to their station. Not before I managed to get some photos however. This complex is a genuine operating place of worship which abounds in monks and other religious persons. It has both very old temples, and some very new ones, some of which are not even completed yet.
Chengdu People Sichuan China
by R.P. BenDedek (12:03 PM 2/21/2015 Beijing Time)
This article was originally published on Feb 19, 2006 at Magic City Morning Star News and I later created a file of Additional Photographs to accompany it. In preparation for publication of my book "Finding Myself in China," this article was transferred to this Website in 2015. This article was the first of many photographic articles on Chengdu that I have published. In 2007 I was back in Sichuan doing a tour of Leshan and Mt. Emei. The photographs in the original have been maintained (with some additions) but in composite form. At the end of this page there is a full list Sichuan Articles.
The text of this article has undergone some editing to facilate placement of photographs (of which there are a few extra), as well as for American spelling and grammar.
Chengdu Ren : Chengdu Sichuan and its People
It's been a while since I did a photographic article on China, and winter vacation this year has given me the wherewithal to provide some more articles. Unfortunately to date, I have been too busy to write about my Spring Festival Trip to various places in Hong Hu, and my most recent trip, to Chengdu, ended on Saturday. On Monday I commence teaching again, this time in three different campuses, and as well, return to studying Chinese at Wuhan University. As I will be in up to 38 classes per week, I will not have a great deal of time in the coming few months to compile these stories. In the meantime, mainly because I promised a few people that they could see their photos here at Magic City, I am presenting this introductory article, as the first of what I hope will be several articles providing photos of places of interest in Chengdu. My visit there lasted only 4 days, and my sightseeing was restricted to the actual city of Chengdu, not its outlying districts. The young man in the top left frame of the photograph below is an employee at the Tea House in the grounds of the Qing Yang Gong Daoist Temple in Chengdu. The presence of a foreigner, in drawing the usual inquisitive response, also resulted in a stern admonition from the proprietor for the workers to return to their station. Not before I managed to get some photos however.
Qing Yang Gong Daoist Temple
Photo Below Left Frames: Qing Yang Gong Daoist Temple Top Right Liu Bei (161-223) Emperor of Shu Kingdom - Wuhou Memorial Temple Bottom Right Taken at Mt. Emei
Below Left MX at Qing Yang Gong Daoist Temple Below Right Yours Truly hamming it up in the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Park
This complex is a genuine operating place of worship that abounds in monks and other religious persons. It has both very old temples, and some very new ones, some of which are not even completed yet. My friend Mingxing and I even ducked inside a couple of those under construction to take a few photos. It is really amazing to see both old and young paying homage to ancestors and religious figures. Lighting incense, kneeling, bowing and praying, they paid no attention to the foreigner(s) running around taking photos. I was not the only foreigner there at the time. Whilst the new 'Tourist' Temples are really nice, I actually prefer the 'genuine' old ones, and their interesting aromas.
Mingxing (MX for Short) and I traveled by train to Chengdu, which was an experience in itself. I would someday like to take the 36 hour slow trip and see some of the countryside in daylight. From what I saw in the (full) moonlight, it is well worth seeing. The night trip was certainly colorful, since, as it occurred between the end of the Spring Festival period and the Lantern Festival, fireworks could be seen going off in the black distance, mile after mile as the train sped on its merry way throughout the evening.
Another temple complex we visited was the Tibetan Temples behind the local bus station not far from the Chengdu Pearl International Hotel. The Pearl is a 3 star hotel, which, while not much to look at from the outside, is exquisite in the foyer(s), and very good value, and additionally, not far from the Railway station and really central to all the places we visited. The Tibetan Complex was only 2 RBM entrance fee, as opposed to the 30 RMB and 60 RMB of other places. It is a huge area, and so full of interesting people like this guy, who is obviously Daoist/Taoist. We both found each other fascinating. There were heaps of Buddhist monks running around the place. Some of them were regular Buddhist, and some were in Tibetan dress. There were also a variety of folk running around in traditional costumes, which ranged from the Tibetan type to the Indian type of dress. I was fascinated by the number of regularly dressed young folk bowing to the monks, and noted that this complex includes a school.
Tibetan Temple Area
The Man in the bottom left frame was quite fascinated by the site of yours truly. He kept turning around to look at me and smiled a lot. The photo of the women was taken "discreetly" from a distance.
Down the street opposite and a couple of blocks from the Taoist Temple, there can be found the Chengdu Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum Complex. The tablet to the left comes from that Museum. More photos of Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum complex can be found at A Photographic Introduction to Chengdu. Since my primary motivation in presenting this article, was to let some locals see their photographs on the internet, I thought I would include the photo on the right immediately below. It was taken in the Tower of the Ten Thousand Buddhas at Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum Complex. MX and I were browsing around when I saw this strange item in the corner of the room. For a second I couldn't work out what I was looking at. Then I realized it was someone sitting asleep in a chair. He was presumably there to guard the contents on this floor of the tower. When I saw this photo on my computer I was angry with myself for taking the photo while holding a cigarette. Then it occurred to me that I wasn't smoking at the time, for you see, you can't smoke even in the park area of the Museum complex. There are only two possible explanations for this smoke. Either it is my breath - it was a cold day. Or it is a ghost! I'll let you decide for yourself.
Du Fu Thatched Cottage Park
Although I let MX choose our itinerary, after our visit to the Taoist Temple I told him that I wanted to take a walk, and we ended up walking through something akin to a 'Mall' - a walking street, which was full of buildings that were constructed with a traditional Chinese flavor. On our walk we encountered two young girls in traditional costumes being trained in the art of 'pouring Tea.' If you thought pouring tea was a simple matter then note the photo below. These girls had a variety of methods to practice, and a variety of different containers into which they were required to pour. They made lots of mistakes and provided a lot of entertainment for not just the foreigner, but regular folk.
Another area we visited was the Wuhou Temple Complex, beside which is the Jingli Street Bazaar, and it was in this area that I came across Carol's Coffee House. The Young Chef there (photo above top right frame) made the most delicious pizzas I ever remember eating. This is high praise indeed, for in China, making a pizza is not such a simple matter. Pizza base made on Rice flour is not so good. This one was obviously made on wheat. The Sauce, was of a traditional Italian flavor, and not tainted by traditional Chinese herbs and spices. Cheese is also a very difficult thing to come by in China (from my limited experience of course). It was a wonderful pizza, even if the coffee was Chinese standard. I don't know who this 'Carole' is or was, but judging by the walls lined with photographs of foreign faces, it must be a popular gathering place for ex-pats. Jingli Street is an ancient street that has been famous for a long time, and a lot of the buildings are traditional wood buildings. Sitting at the table eating my pizza, I could look across the alley into another traditional restaurant's upper floor, and it gave me the feeling that I was looking at a scene from a Chinese Movie.
Top Left: Man in the shooting gallery
Above Left: Looking down from our hotel room.
Somewhere in that street was a 'shooting gallery,' but not one where you use rifles, but where you could practice the skill of shooting a 'Ten Arrow' Cross Bow. The young man in the picture above fired off 20 shots and all but one hit the bull’s eye. This type of bow has been around for a long time, and appears to be of such simple mechanical construction. Arrows can be fired one at a time, or if you know how, you can shoot them like a semi automatic gun and the arrows 'fly' in rapid succession. Like modern 'shoot outs,' the average effective distance in such a battle is around 3 meters.
I have written many times before about the way Chinese people look, stare and point at foreigners. One afternoon MX and I were walking through the 'Mall - Walking Street,' behind a couple of women and two young boys. One boy upon spotting me raced a few steps and grabbed his friend. I knew immediately what he was saying, so quickly I darted around the women and ran at the boys while, with outstretched arms, I pointed toward myself. As the two boys turned to 'see the Laowai,' there I was running at them, saying in Chinese, 'Me? Me? Me?.' They screamed, ran about a meter and then collapsed laughing. The women also burst out laughing. A little later I managed to get the photograph of them that you can see above. Now of course in the west, anything to do with 'Strangers and Children' is taboo. In my country now, you can't even take photos at the beach in case you accidentally snap a shot of a child. In China however, society has more to worry about than psychological trauma, political correctness, and constant fear of sexual harassment, or worse, pedophilia. Being friendly in China, means that you are friendly. In the West, being friendly puts you under suspicion or gets you arrested. It is such a pity that we Westerners have lost our innocence and 'joie de vivre.' We can't today even look at a child without getting into trouble. But not so with the Panda Bears.
Below Top Left is the boy mentioned above.
Other photographs are from the Panda Park mentioned after this photograph.
Da Xiong Mao Ji Di Panda Reserve and Research Facility, which was just two short bus rides from our hotel, is located on one edge of the city of Chengdu. It has international recognition and is billed as the Largest Giant Panda Eco-Park in the World, and judging by the activity going on beside the current park, they are about to get very much bigger.
The advertising does warn the visitor that they may not have an easy time finding Pandas out in the open, because they just love to sleep and eat. We saw a lot of the former and nothing of the latter. (Photographs from this park (including that of a panda or two) can be found in the Da Xiong Mao article. The park is quite large, and it can get quite tiring walking around. In Addition to the Giant Pandas, one can find Red Pandas, which look like (according to an American Accent I overheard), Raccoons. There are peacocks running wild, as well as black swans and other birds. There is also a butterfly museum. The Live Butterfly exhibit is unfortunately either as extinct as the butterflies under glass, or is being prepared anew in a new location.
It actually took MX and I a while to find a Giant panda, and it wasn't until after we had seen the red pandas that we 'accidently' came across a real live (presuming it was asleep and not dead) Giant Panda. When we first came across the Red Pandas, I was asked if I wanted to hold one and have a photo taken. I declined. Later it occurred to me that my kids would throw a hissy fit if they found out that I let the opportunity pass by, so we doubled back, and donning gloves and a 'soil protector,' I sat in a chair and had MX take some photos. And it only cost 50 RMB.
That brings me to the end of this little introduction. I'm now going to leave you with one final photo, one that I could not resist taking. In china, one often sees incorrectly written English Signs, and occasionally they are hilarious. Now I'm not sure that Ken (Owner/Editor of Magic City Morning Star) will allow this photo, as it may offend some of the more conservative readers, but, as a Christian Minister Friend of mine told me years ago, 'To the pure, all things are Pure!' The photo was taken in the Du Fu's Thatched Cottage Museum Park, inside one of the most important buildings that a man can find when sightseeing.
While some might find the photograph offensive, I personally found it hilarious because in fact it is not offensive since the spelling "missed the mark."
Two of Du Fu Selected Poems Translated by Rewi Alley Foreign Languages Press 2001
The Empty Wallet
Green cedar leaves and gorgeous sun-glow May be food for the immortals, but not for men; The world is tough and real, my road full Of hardship; Nothing to cook, so leaving The well stiff with ice; Not clothing enough So sleeping cold through the night; yet It is bad to have one's wallet completely Empty, so I leave a coin in it Just to comfort me.
The Lovely Lady
Surely The most lovely of her day Now relegated to this back valley, Memories of happier days buried With her amidst wild greenery; The fall of the capital has taken Her brothers; not even did their Great rank save them, or enable Their corpses to be found; The world has no time to waste On the unlucky; love is like A candle in the wind; her husband Has found a new woman already, in His eyes as beautiful as jade; Leaves fold up together at dusk, The wild duck does not sleep alone; Her man sees his new favourite Smile, but does not hear His old one weep; In the mountains the water flows Well and clear; but down on the easy Plains, it grows muddy; she has sent Her maid to sell bits of jewellery for food, Then returning, help her to pull vines And mend the broken hut; She picks a flower, though not To wear in her hair; cuts a bundle Of pine branches; there is chill In the air and her sleeves of coloured cloth Are thin; yet unheeding, she stands Leaning against a bamboo, Watching the sunset.
When you stand to speak you are doing more than reciting words. You are in fact engaged in communicating with an audience your opinions, ideas, feelings, passions and/or knowledge on a subject. They expect you to express yourself with feeling and passion and to actually know what you are talking about. Therefore it is essential that you KNOW what you are talking about – and – show the appropriate body language, gestures, actions and emotions associated with your topic.
The kids used to turn up repeatedly throughout the day just to look at the foreigner, touch him, feel the hair on his (the monkey’s) arms and generally just gawk. China has changed a lot over the years but there have been times when a foreigner in a small town or village would attract huge crowds. Sometimes people would be known to suddenly come upon you, look up at your face and just plain scream! I’m not joking!
The presence of a foreigner, in drawing the usual inquisitive response, also resulted in a stern admonition from the proprietor to the workers to return to their station. Not before I managed to get some photos however. This complex is a genuine operating place of worship, that abounds in monks and other religious persons. It has both very old temples, and some very new ones, some of which are not even completed yet. Additional Photographs
(2007) Really, we only went there to eat pizza at Carole's Restaurant, but noting a few changes in the area, decided to take a few new shots. From the vantage point on the upstairs balcony of the restaurant, I started off the process by taking photos of people in the street who kept pointing out the foreigner
I watched one old man stand next to me and urinate into the garden. I watched a policeman running around trying to catch a street urchin who momentarily took refuge beside me. I watched an official of some sort ask for identity papers of two locals who threw their cigarette butts on the ground and was in the middle of a funny debate with a Tibetan woman about my lack of desire to buy a crucifix, when a policeman appeared and chased her off into the distance. Additional Photographs from LeShan
The Sichuan region is designated as a global hotspot for biodiversity, ... 12,000 species of plants and 1,122 species of vertebrates, the area includes more than half of the habitat for the Earth's wild giant panda population. The photographs displayed here were actually taken in 2006.
Mt. Emei is 3000 metres high, and one can avail oneself of several or all of a variety of methods of ascending and descending the mountain. From a hard slog hike, to an easy access bus ride and from being carried in a cable car to being carried in a 'jampan' (sedan chair) by locals, there are a variety of ways to get around. As a foreigner, I was given special treatment, and the normal price of 220 rmb per night at the hotel, was reduced to just 140 rmb (which was just twice the price that other guests we spoke to had paid.) Additional Mt. Emei Files: 1)Climbing Mt.Emei2)Top of Mt.Emei3)Following the Baoxian Stream
I had so many photographs from Chengdu, that I created this special file to display just a particular aspect of the beauty of Wuhou Temple: Chengdu: SiChuan Art and Flowers. This file contains no commentary.
The Relic Exhibition Hall is the most important Part of Du Fu Thatched Cottage Park. It is located on the site of Du Fu's former Residence. In the late winter of 759, Du Fu went to Chengdu to avoid the disasters caused by An Lushan Shi Rebellion. In the next year, he built a thatched cottage on the bank of the beautiful Huanhua Brook, where he lived for four years and wrote more than 240 poems.
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]