Finding Myself in China: Mt. Tai is located in the center of Shandong Province, lying across the cities of Tai'an, Jinan and Zibo. Its main peak, Jade Emperor Summit, which is within Tai'an City, is about 1532.7 meters (5,029 feet) high. The mountain was once called Mt. Daishan, Mt. Daizong or Mt. Taiyue and was renamed Mt. Taishan in the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). It epitomizes splendid Chinese culture and was listed in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO in 1987.
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First Published at Magic City but different Photographs and They appear sequentially. Where external tourist information is not accompanied by a link - the information came from photographs of signs on the mountain.
At the beginning of July 2008, after my teaching duties for the semester had ended, I traveled to Shandong province with Jerry my Chinese friend. He had asked me if I would like to visit his home town and Mt. Tai. Since I was not returning to Australia until the end of the month I readily agreed. So Jerry took time off work and off we went.
The leader of the 'Five Sacred Mountains,' Mt. Tai is located in the center of Shandong Province, lying across the cities of Tai'an, Jinan and Zibo. Its main peak, Jade Emperor Summit, which is within Tai'an City, is about 1532.7 meters (5,029 feet) high. The mountain was once called Mt. Daishan, Mt. Daizong or Mt. Taiyue and was renamed Mt. Taishan in the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). It epitomizes splendid Chinese culture and was listed in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO in 1987.
Long Distance Shot from the hotel we stayed in
Jerry had booked us soft seat tickets on the train north. The journey was a nightmare for me. Firstly the trip took almost 10 hours (from Memory) and there were so many people on board who had 'standing' tickets, that the aisles were totally filled with people. It was virtually impossible to go to the Washroom; I managed the feat only twice. Whenever the food service came through a carriage, everyone had to get off the floor where they were sitting or sleeping, and cram in with those in the seats. But it is all part of the experience of living in China! At least I had a seat.
Entrance to the Geoheritage Park from whence once commences the journey up the Mount.
Although we had intended going direct to Mt. Tai, it became quite obvious that I needed a days rest, and so we disembarked early and headed to Jerry's hometown. In this case, hometown means the town to which Jerry's village is attached. Although I will not expound the reasons here, I took an intense dislike to the town and it's people. For a place with a boast of being a tourist town, the local attitude to foreigners was certainly not conducive to fostering it's image internationally. One of it's local attractions (none of which I visited) included Mengzi Temple.
Mengzi is a famous thinker and educationist in Warring States in China, he was a formal inheriting scholar of Confucian school. He is respected as the "Yasheng" by successive scholars only next to Confucius. The Mengzi Temple was built in fourth year of North Song Dynasty in 1037. Originally it was built near the Mengzi Graveyard in Zoucheng.
Jerry at the Entrance to the Park
We booked into a cheap hotel and spent the day resting. The following day we headed off to Taishan by bus. We were met by a former classmate of Jerry's who found us a hotel for the night. It was an exceptionally hot and muggy day, and we had arrived after lunch. The boys planned for us to go climbing the mountain immediately, but what with the heat and the travel of the previous days and not to mention that I had fallen prey to influenza two days before departing, I insisted that we rest up and take off early the next day.
In the early hours of the morning there are buses to take one halfway up the mountain so that one can continue the journey to the summit on foot and witness the sun rise over the Summit. (Remember this!) The more adventurous however, start at the bottom of the mountain and walk all the way to the top.
Now whilst Jerry had planned to whisk me off up the mountain in those early hours, everything he did to fulfill the plan was thwarted, and we ended up going mid-morning. The entrance to the 'geoheritage' scenic area is quite beautiful, and was just a few metres from where we stayed. As we were walking across the road to buy our tickets (100+rmb), a bus load of Chinese tourists arrived. I'm not sure what gave them the most thrill; to arrive at the park, or encounter me.
Purchase your Ticket and take the bus halfway up the mountain
Nantianmen Geoheritage Scenic Area is located around the South Gate to Heaven, including the top of Mount Taishan and last section of step way (with many turnings), it is the core of Mount Taishan National Geopark, covering an area of 3.06km2. Besides the numerous typical geoheritage, including famous Immortal Bridge (Collapse accumulation), Platform for Overlooking the State Lu (Zhanlutai Platform), Summit stone, there are also a great number of cultural relics (archways, temples and Taoist temples), such as Shenxian Archway, Bixia Temple, Cliff Inscription of Tang Dynasty, etc. It is very interesting that many cultural relics are closely related to geoheritage, for instance, the Cliff Inscription of Tang Dynasty is just on a vertical joint plane. So some cultural relics are very significant not only in culture, but also in scientific research.
China Culture.org (not current)
Mt. Tai rises abruptly to 1,300 m above the vast plain of north China. The sharp contrast between Mt. Tai and its surrounding plain and hills makes it especially majestic.
Mt. Tai rises from about 150 m above sea level (north of Tai'an City), to the Middle Gate to Heaven at 847 m, to the Southern Gate to Heaven at 1,460 m, and finally to the Jade Emperor Peak at 1,545 m. Standing in the central part of Shandong, the mountain stretches for 100 km. Its base covers an area of 426 sq. km. The wide base and huge body of the mountain gives an impression of solidity and dignity. Chinese people tend to describe a situation as being as stable as Mt. Tai or a matter as being as weighty as Mt. Tai, giving clear evidence of such an impression.
Just thrilled to see a foreigner and to say 'hello!' to one.
Upon admission, we boarded one of the buses that transport tourists halfway up the mountain. There were some beautiful sights to see and unfortunately between not having my camera ready, and often being on the wrong side of the bus to take a good shot, I missed capturing them all. "Oh well!" I thought: 'There is always the return trip!' Little did I know what was in store!'
Once the bus arrived at the mid-way point, everyone scattered and followed the various pathways leading to those 'famous' places listed on the signs. Me, I just followed Jerry, until that is, I spotted the cable cars! I was there to see what could be seen, not kill myself climbing mountains. As is so often the case in life, a momentary decision can have great impact on the future, and on this occasion my decision would determine the course of events over the next 24 hours.
The Bus station halfway up the mountain from whence one takes off on foot.
Sounds very dramatic doesn't it? Well it was in a way. You see, Jerry wanted to climb up the mountain and then walk or take the cable down the mountain. I in the meantime was looking at the sky and thinking to myself: 'Since Murphy's Law is my constant companion, what are the chances that there will be big storm and we will get stranded on this mountain? I figured that the chances were very good, so I talked Jerry into taking the Cable car to the summit at which point we could decide the most appropriate action to take.
The cable car does not take one completely to the top, and there is still a fair distance to walk. The pathways are totally man made, with steps of varying widths. I figure that someone told the workers that each step had to be 'a foot wide,' and as they all had different size feet, they ended up with different sized steps. Remember I said this because I will come back to it later.
Actually this belies the fact that there was so much cloud that we couldn't see more than 20 metres ahead of us at times.
As is obvious in the photographs, we were enveloped in cloud up there. I remember hearing a huge gong being rung, and when I figured out where the sound was coming from, I set my camera to 'video' and decided to record the sound and show the building. Just those few seconds of adjusting the camera meant that the Shrine disappeared from view, and although we waited for quite a few minutes, it never reappeared. The pathway to the summit wound itself all over the place, and along the way there were myriads of temples and other ancient sites to be seen; food outlets and those dreaded tourists by the millions.
Au Naturel - not everything is spic and span
The Grand view Peak gets its name because there are a number of inscriptions of successive Dynasties on the cliff. The inscriptions which remain were created by the emperors in the Tang, Song and Qing Dynasty when they came to confer titles to Mount Taishan and offer sacrifices to it.
By the time we reached the summit I was feeling thoroughly relieved that we had chosen to take the bus and cable car, as opposed to walk the whole distance. I was exhausted! Another reason to be thankful, was that it was quite obvious that bad weather was on it's way, and my mind immediately concentrated on our possible choices should a storm hit.
Before walking the final steps up to the highest point on the Summit, Jerry and I stopped to look at the view of the valley on the Eastern Side of the Mountain. We did manage to catch glimpses of it, but I seem to remember that it took a good 20 minutes or so before we were finally satisfied that we had managed to see it in all it's splendour. It took that long because the clouds just kept sweeping in and completely cutting off visibility.
15 seconds after this shot it was 'clear' - 15 seconds later, foggy!
During that time I discussed with Jerry the possibility of finding lodgings, and was surprised to learn that there are hotels up there. After checking out the summit, we decided to check one particular hotel, or should I say, a series of buildings owned by one hotel group.
Whilst Jerry was inside, I was wandering around outside. As he was being shown to the particular building in which our room was located, the accompanying Staff Member suddenly announced that a foreigner could not stay there, and recommended that we go to the 'really expensive' hotel off yonder.
Can't remember but nothing religious - Security Office?
In the process of doing that, we discovered that a dilapidated looking building off in the distance was also a hotel. When I found out the price of the 'expensive hotel,' I decided that I was sick of being 'ripped off' by the Chinese simply because I am a foreigner. I don't earn much more than some Chinese and a whole lot less than others, so why should I constantly be forced to pay high prices for the privilege of being a foreigner.
I told Jerry to go check out the other hotel and to make it clear that he would be booking in with a foreigner. I also told him that I would not pay more than 200 rmb per night [* fnt] and that if we could not get a room for close to that price, then I wanted to leave the mountain immediately. (I had already had bad experiences in his home town and some particularly bad ones in SuZhou). I was in no mood to put up with Chinese Racism any longer! [I also have no time for Western PC idiots who have no idea of the true nature of racism.]
The Temple/Shrine sounding the gong
I stayed outside the expensive hotel while Jerry descended and then ascended a variety of tracks to arrive at the old hotel on the next mountain peak. When he eventually returned, he assured me that all was well and for 200 rmb we could both stay there. When we arrived together I was really made to feel welcome by the owner; something that I really appreciated given some of the events I had experienced in previous days.
Checking into our spacious but Spartan room, (despite the inconvenience of the small 'convenience' within it), Jerry and I decided that we could afford a short nap before setting off to explore the summit at leisure. Oh the plans of mice and men! Within 30 minutes a storm hit and we could not see 3 metres further than the bedroom window. The rain did not let up for quite a long time, by which time it was dark! So much for a leisurely stroll through the mountains.
Picture perfect and easy ascending - the dangerous part was coming down
I would have to say that this was one of the few times that I have managed to somewhat thwart Murphy and his ridiculous law. Because we had checked into the hotel prior to the storm, we managed to stay dry for the night. So many others had to find shelter where they could or walk back down the mountain in the rain and in the dark. Once the storm hit, the cable car was not permitted to run.At any rate, after eating a nice meal prepared by the owner himself, Jerry and I took a stroll in the misty darkness using as our guide a light at the top of the hotel. We did not wander far, but we did stumble across that place to which all the pilgrims would be heading at dawn; the lookout directly behind the hotel from which the sun is first seen to rise at dawn.
At dawn next morning we heard the hotel owner waking up those people who intended going to the lookout. They were in for a big disappointment. At about 7am the owner came knocking on our door to tell us that we had better pack up and get off the mountain because an even bigger storm was headed our way and the cable car was still not operating. We would have to walk down to the bus station. Purchasing two poncho raincoats, we headed off for the walk down the mountain.
Now remember earlier I made a joke about the size of the steps? Well it was no joke in the rain I can tell you. Walking up those steps was no where near as hard as descending them in the rain. I followed the lead of so many others and walked sideways for long stretches at a time. Some of the younger more daring mountain climbers were descending 'front on' at alarming speeds, although not as alarming as watching them take their spills, thereafter to more carefully go where angels feared to tread.
The raincoats which obviously were designed to protect us from the rain, were simultaneously causing our bodies to overheat, and like so many others, we found ourselves discarding underlying layers of garments until finally it became apparent that the only way to avoid heatstroke was to remove the raincoats altogether. And so it was that we found ourselves in the drizzling rain walking in cold mountain air, trying to cool the body heat created by our vigorous and rapid descent.
Everywhere in China there are signs on mountains that prohibit smoking. I cannot express my relief, nor give thanks enough for a sight I encountered along the way. There in front of us were a dozen intrepid mountain climbers intent on ascending the mountain, taking a breather. They were cheerily sitting on the steps, in the rain, smoking to their hearts content. Finding security in numbers, I joined them. [Yes I did say that they were ascending the mountain. They, like so many others, had taken off in the wee hours of the morning, blissfully unaware that they were walking into a storm.]
As is always the case for foreigners in China, the locals were stunned to see one, not the least reason for which in this case was both his location and the condition of his dress. I don't know why it is that the Chinese expect foreigners to be dressed to the nines in all places and on all occasions, but seeing a foreign mountain climber dressed as casually as were they, seemed to shock many people. I descended the mountain listening to a constant stream of 'hellos'; seeing people look me up and down as though I was not suitably attired, and watching the stunned expressions on Chinese faces as people suddenly realised that that was a 'laowai' standing in front of them.
How nice it would have been to have taken that trip in Spring and to have brought back photos of all the sights to be seen. In the rain however, one could see nothing. At one point we could hear the rushing of water just off to our left, but had no idea where the stream causing it was located. At those points where once could see the surrounding attractions, the problem was one of taking photos without getting the camera and its lens soaked. I guess one day I will just have to go back and try again.
Jerry just below the highest point on the summit. Mountains in the background are obscured by the cloud
When we reached the bus station, we were ferried to the bottom of the mountain where we caught another bus back to Jerry's hometown. After taking a day off to rest, we headed off to his village, located about an hour away by taxi. I visited with his mum and took a little walk on my own while they settled some family problems [Why don't you have a better paying job? When will you get married? When will we have grandkids? - that sort of thing.]
Later Jerry took me for a walk around the village. The people there were so much different to those I met in town. It was a magical place - a place I wouldn't mind living in.
As in all stories, a lot has been left out about this trip, but I do hope that you enjoyed the photos accompanying this story. There are another 20 photographs in Part Two
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[* fnt] A lesson in Economics to those who want to feel superior:
200rmb IS NOT equivalent to US$30. 200rmb is to a Chinese person or a foreigner on 50,000rmb per year, equivalent to US$200 for an American on US$50,000 per year, except that the vast majority of Chinese are not on 50,000rmb per year.
The vast majority of Chinese can not afford 200rmb per night for a hotel, and so when necessary to do so, they would be looking for a hotel for 60-100rmb per night, which by the way is what I would be hoping only to pay in Australia whenever it is possible. I would certainly avoid paying AU$200 per night for a hotel if I could. During my recent stay in Australia I paid $70, $80 and $109 respectively for various hotel stays. To do that of course meant that I had first to save, (at the 6.6:1 rate of conversion at the time of my arrival) 462rmb; 528rmb and 719rmb. Tourist hotels in China range from 500rmb to 2000rmb. I however am not a rich foreign tourist.
Photographs of Mt. Tai and Villages in Shandong: Taken from the Expensive Tourist hotel looking over to the one we stayed in that night! That speck on the step between the two buildings in the top of the photo - is Jerry! See how heavy the fog and cloud is? Literally between shots the clouds would roll in and obscure the view and sometimes you had to wait for quite a while before getting what you wanted. (Gee! Ain't that life!) In Chinese custom, the eldest son or nearest male relative/descendent, should carry a facial photo of the deceased and walk backward in front of the funeral procession. Jerry informed me recently (2009) that it was a couple of months before his mother got the photo to his 'grandfather.' That same night he passed away.
Xiangfan is a historical and cultural city in the southwest of Hubei Province. It has an area of 26.7 thousand square kilometers and a population of 6.75 million. The central part of Xiangfan is a plain. The rest are mountains and hills. Xiangfan has a subtropical monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 15.8C, and has 240 frost-free days. Annual rainfall averages 878 millimeters.
You will arrive at Taipa House Museum Area with so much to see. If you want to go into the Museum you must pay. But there is also much to see outside. This is a museum beside the A-Ma Temple on Macao Island. This sits on the waterfront and you can see Zhuhai in China across the harbour.
The interesting thing about the ride is that as the train leaves each station, a uniformed attendant salutes the departing train. At night, people dance, talk, roller scate etc. An Island blocks the view to the ocean. The sculpture of the boy is urinating
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.
With the official greetings over, we were presented with a variety of performances from local artists and international guests, including an American man and his family. This family presented a narrative from a Gospel about the birth of Jesus, and then went on to present some musical renditions of Christmas Carols. Another foreigner, who performed a Chinese fan dance, was Helen, a Ukrainian with an American Accent. She is also an English teacher in Dong He District Baotou. We chatted for a little while at the end of the night. The other performances included an Arabian - Chinese dance performed by a group of girls balancing rice bowls while they gyrated around the place. They were all young and beautiful and adept in their craft
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
(Originally a 4 part article) On January 14th 2010, I commenced my trip back to Australia. The temperature at that time was varying between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees. It was for this Aussie, despite living in China for 7 years, truly cold. I flew from Baotou in Inner Mongolia to Beijing and stayed one night in the Beijing Aulympic Airportel. The Hotel is located very close to the airport. The fees were very very very low and that suited me fine. I did not expect however, that the hotel would be as nice as it was. Next day I flew to Hong Kong where I connected with a Qantas flight travelling to Brisbane Australia.
When we arrived, we noted that this place really was a resort centre. It had wave pools and other interesting things for people to enjoy, and even accommodated school tour groups with dormitory style accomodation. Opposite the breakfast room was a swimming complex, in the front of which was a very interesting sign. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my .38 Smith and Wesson. When we went in for breakfast, we saw that the next room was set up for a wedding, and discovered that it was 'our' wedding reception. Taking a 'sticky beak,' I noted that there were no knives on any of the tables. 'Ahah! Thank God I brought that solid clear plastic knife with me!..' The whole time before and after the actual church service, the local beggars were inside the church hitting everyone for money. Oh the guilt of refusing a pittance for the poor in the house of God, but I was advised to give no one anything, for that would be more effective than the 'last trump' for the dead. All the beggars would arrive. Not that this mattered at all. Who was carrying money?
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]