Living in China: Stories and Photographs: Hong Hu, 3 Gorges, Beijing, ShanghaiHong Hu is nestled up against the huge levee that protects it from the Chang Jiang River. That is the Yangtse River to you 'Foreigners'. This life giving river is as capable of giving life as it is of taking it, and a few years ago it did just that, when several hundred civilians and soldiers died, trying to restrain her destructive inundation of the town.
This is what it is like at the moment from Dawn to Dusk.
I'm sitting here in my cold cold flat, freezing my buns off because my airconditioner does not work (but never mind, somebodywill fix it - probably by summer, in time to give me nice fresh hot air).
I have a cold, I don't feel well, and I'm bored. I should sleep, but I don't want to do that either. My one comfort is that I'm not home in Australia, listening to endless commentary and watching video re-runs of Saddam's capture, as speaker after speaker from all around the globe say the same things over and over and over again, to have it then rehashed by the television news anchorman(person).
Damn Saddam! Damn the Americans too! I had just sent off 28 emails to various newspapers around America, bringing to their attention the fact that so many Americans are taking an interest in my work, while little has been published in the local media. I first tweaked their interest and aroused their curiosity with the email subject line: "News Tip - Newspapers fail to deliver the news". I challenged them to outdo the mega internet news sources. I gave them opportunity to meet the needs and interests of their regular Joe Blows. And then Bloody Saddam had to get captured and now the whole world is interested in nothing else! Damn him! Damn him! And blow this whole question of the death sentence. It is too good for the man! Lock him up and throw away the key and give him unlimited time to think about what he has done, and even if he considers himself a god, he will be a lonely one. Here endeth the lesson!
I have written a few stories about my travels in China, and tonight, I want to write a little about Hong Hu. As an Australian I am inclined to say that it is in the middle of nowhere, but in China, while you may be a long way from Western style civilisation, you are never very far away from anywhere else. No matter which direction you travel, it is only 10-20 minutes by car to the next township or village.
This is taken on the road to Wuhan. There are many little places like this.
A few kilometres down the road at the turn off to Chibi. I snuck up behind these boys and caught them for a quick photo shoot.
Hong Hu is nestled up against the huge levee that protects it from the Chang Jiang River. That is the Yangtse River to you 'Foreigners'. This life giving river is as capable of giving life as it is of taking it, and a few years ago it did just that, when several hundred civilians and soldiers died, trying to restrain her destructive inundation of the town.
This is taken from the Levee Road and gives you an idea of the height.
The next two show the river and the Island. The first is taken from the levee road at the eastern end of the Island. The other is take from the River bank at the end of town.
A view of the Chang Jiang from the back of the Town on the River bank
Hong Hu is famous for her lake. It is huge and sprawling, and filled with aquacultural projects and islands. Some centuries ago, it was the location of a sprawling village, but gradually the rising accumulation of water overwhelmed her history and her landmarks and alas, she is no more. No rivers apparently run into this mighty inland sea, and it is said of her that she is the purest of all the lakes in China, and whether true or not, it is proudly claimed that her produce, especially her fish, are exported to the far reaches of the globe.
This old river is cut off now from the Chang Jiang It is controlled by Locks or sluiceways. It is full in summer and empty in winter.
The peoples of Hong Hu are, judging by their appearances, a mixed bag of cookies. There are the really tall folk, the tiny vertically challenged (as well as the midgets), the round faced, the thin faced, the pale and the very dark, and even the odd assortment of dark skinned Muslim folk from up north. On occasions, one is even privileged to see the Mongolians with their brightly decorated clothes, and their overflowing stalls full of trinkets and baubles to delight the cockles of the enchanted.
As towns go in this area, Hong Hu is of average size, but it is, as anyone will tell you, just a little city, which, if compared to some cities in similar locations on the Australian coastline, is anything but little. Because it sits against the river, there is no main road running through the city centre, which, given the state of the existing traffic, is a marvelous achievement, probably due more to luck and poor design than actual planning. You know you have arrived at Hong Hu when you arrive at the roundabout just up from the school in which I live. Removed at the end of 2004
This road coming from town. It intersects with the road leading into town at the roundabout. Turn left and go to Wuhan. Turn right and you will go to a 'T' junction. Go left to Chibi or right back into town. But if you go straight ahead, you will pass by my school and end up on the road to nowhere.
The road on the right of the building does not yet seem to go anywhere and no one knows where it will go. Presumably it is going to be an important road, as it has required the street in from of the school to be widened considerably. (Apparently it will be a new main road into town: 2006)
The town is of course a city, and as such, it has 'suburbs' or 'little towns' surrounding it. These usually consist of one or two streets lined with a variety of shops and food stalls.
In Hong Hu, to the best of my knowledge, there are six (6) markets. There is no other word for it. They are markets, wherein one may find an assortment of fresh produce and meat. Neat little rows upon rows of vendors plying their trade, all begging you to buy from them at twice the price of the fellow next door. (well to the foreigner at least).
This photo is taken at the laneway entrance to the market where I usually shop. These vendors in the front with trolleys, will scurry off if the police appear. They have no licence to be there.
A long distance photo
The secret of successful purchasing in these places, (and note I said purchasing not bargaining, for while that is what the Chinese do, YOU, the BenDan WaiGuo will get cheated no matter what price you pay), is to ask, at various intervals, 'Duo Shao Qian?' (Door / Sow - as in the pig/ Chen) and compare prices offered. Of course this is an utterly useless exercise if you don't understand what they are saying! BenDan WaiGuo!
For 'us' locals however (by which I mean resident foreigners - that was the 'royal us', for I am at the moment and fearfully for sometime to come, the only WaiGuo here), the smart thing to do is find out who is honest and just deal with them. They appreciate the business, and they know others will try and steal you away. But when you show loyalty to them, they stay loyal to you.
Buying Meat is an interesting experience (God I hope no Rabbis are reading this!). I don't eat Fish or duck; the Ox meat is disgusting, and the chickens have an odour and taste stronger than the 'mere skin and bones' which proudly are referred to as chickens (winged variety of course - that was a little local Chinese humour. The other variety of chicken has two arms and two legs and costs more money for less time that it takes to eat a drumstick). This only leaves PORK! I hate pork! It stinks! I had tasted it before and to me it was on par with mushrooms. Both taste like dirt! But after 8 weeks of starvation, I began to learn to eat it, and am now reasonably adept at preparing it in several ways. But to buy pork, now that is a different matter.
The first thing you do is go to the first in a long line of vendors and ask 'Duo Shao Qian?' and he will tell you that it is 7.5 yuan. You then ask the vendor next door, who will tell you that it is 7 yuan. The next will say 6.5 and the following will say 6. The next will also say six, and then you either buy from him, or go further down, and buy from the first person who says 6 or 6.5 yuan).
Now the Chinese will stand and 'fight' (read bargain), over point one (.1) of a Yuan (you-en) or even .01 of a yuan for a tiny slice of pork. [Point one is 'Yi mau'(pronounced 'e' - 'mao'/ .01 = yi fen - pronounced 'e' - 'fn' as in fun without the 'u'). The foreigner does not do this. He neither buys one slice, nor argues over the equivalent of 1.5 cents or .15 of a cent. Using all of your body language skills, you indicate to the vendor that you want the whole bloody whack of meat that he has sitting there. At first he naturally thinks you are joking, but when you finally convince him that you are serious (it helps to flash a 100 yuan note and point to the whole slab of meat), you must wait a minute or two while he recovers from the shock, and then calls everyone together to witness this 'marvel of gluttony'.
When the transaction is complete, he is happy (because if he had known you were going to buy so much - he would have lowered his price), and you are happy, because you don't have to go through this for another month, unless the power goes off for more than a week, thus requiring you to ditch all the rotting meat you have in the freezer and start the process all over again.
Having accomplished this marvelous feat of 'interlingual' communication, you must carry your 15 'jin' (7.5 Australian Kilos) of carcass back home, and then begin the process of removing the 4 - 7 jin of fat that lines it. For this you need a very very sharp knife, a great deal of skill, and lightning quick reflexes or lots of bandages (whichever of the two is the most readily available).
Whilst the fat can be slowly melted down, I usually cut it up into 3 or 4 sections and give it away to the local labourers. (Don't be surprised if the occasional one turns up at your door with a handful of weeds as payment - sorry I meant to say - nutritious greens!)
OK, so now you know how to buy meat in a place like Hong Hu. Doesn't sound that bad does it? Did I forget to tell you that in the markets there is no such thing as refrigeration? There are no nice stainless bench tops, no sterile cutting boards, no hygienic gloves, no running water or soap, no airconditioning, no dustcover; just lots of flies, dust, coughing, sneezing, blowing of noses (into the wind or on the ground - it doesn't matter). Ah, what's a little cigarette ash on the meat going to do? Seriously! Just wipe it off with your hands - it's as good as new!
This man is actually a customer. A long distance shot and enhanced.
Another long distance shot - but you get the picture.
This photo is of the people who run a stall just inside the market. They sell all the regular nicknaks - brushes, combs, slippers etc.
Of course, all of this is descriptive of traditional China. But not everything in China is traditional. There is for example, the Long Ke Duo (pronounced - Longer door) supermarket which has a sign for you to read as you leave the checkout: We are Happy to Survie you, Welcome Again
The first time I read it I did a 'double take'. I thought it read: 'We are happy to survive you!'. In this supermarket, as elsewhere, there is an abundance of staff, whose main duties seem to be to Follow you around (just to be friendly) and To constantly change everything around so that in two days time you have to search all over again for the same things you bought two days earlier.
At first, being followed around all over the place is unnerving. At first I thought it was just because we were foreigners, but no, non-discrimination is the go! Everyone is followed. I like to go into different sections (particularly in shops in Wuhan where they don't know me) and slowly make my way down an aisle. When I get to the end, I turn the corner of course, and there I wait. In the meantime, the staff have ducked into the next aisle and can't find me. After a moment or two I duck back to where I was and wait for them to come looking for me. When they turn the corner, I smile, wave and walk off.
Just a note for the traveler: In China, when you leave the checkout, you must go through security and present your receipt. Do not throw it away or put it in your pocket!
In the department stores in the big cities, when you wish to purchase something, the salesperson will give you a docket which you must present to the cashier, who will then give you a receipt to take back to the salesperson, so that you can collect the item of purchase. Don't lose the bloody docket! (Before or after you have paid for your goods.)
Now speaking of buying things: This week I picked up a two piece suit and overcoat that I had ordered. I paid 710 yuan [about AUD $118]. I had to ask around a bit to find the place, but with a student in tow, I set off to find it. It is located just off the main street at the river end of town about a block short of the Long Ke Duo supermarket. There is what might best be described as a 'Bazaar' (Bizzare is another acceptable description) which shares its entrance with a little side street containing all manner of reasonably modern type shops. The Bazaar is to the left.
One proceeds down the alley about 30 metres, to locate the shop on the left, although it is somewhat obscured or overwhelmed by the 'cloth merchants' out front and to each side.
This photo does not do justice to the normal state of cleanliness.
Here it is. The sign which proudly announces the service. It helps if you read Chinese though.
I received only one 'measuring' and as it turns out, that was sufficient. I include here the 'obligatory' photo session photo; obligatory, because if you have a camera everyone wants a photo taken, even if they never see the damn thing. But I have promised this lady that I will take her copies. Now I know that in the bottom photo I look somewhat ridiculous, but that is because firstly, I was only wearing Jeans and a sweater when I turned up to collect the suit, so I'm not wearing a proper shirt under the jacket - and - secondly, I had slept in this beanie the night before, and had had no time to shower before I went to collect the suit. My hair, which currently needs trimming, looked like a birds nest, so I kept the beanie firmly on my head.
At any rate, if you decide to come to Hong Hu, and you have a week to kill, come and have a suit made. Properly attired, I am quite attractive, or - as I replied to a student who remarked that I looked handsome in a suit, 'When the suit is worn by me, its appearance improves and it becomes quite attractive. Of course, this is not such a backward place that one cannot find a suitable Dry cleaner. I have my favourite. Not quite sure why I chose this one, but I guess it is as good as any other.
And I do enjoy my many visits.
I hope you have enjoyed this little story.
(Would you consider sharing the link on Facebook?)
China for me, was intended to be just a temporary distraction from the nothingness of my life. But as things have transpired, it has given me a new lease on life. Despite all the set backs and frustrations of life here, I can say without qualification, that I have not been this happy since I was 18 years old. We had had no idea in which direction our plane had flown, and had no idea if we were in the north, south, east, west or centre of China. If you draw a line from Beijing to Hong Kong and another west from Shanghai, just about at the intersection point you should see 'Wuhan', the capital of Hubei Province.
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.
I decided to climb the brick wall beside my house to see were the sewage went. Yes! I know! Why would someone want to check out something like that? But you know, sometimes in China you just have to find your amusements where you can. You see as I may or may not have already mentioned, one needs to frequently flush the toilet with detergent, hot water and bleach, if one does not wish to be knocked over by the smell when returning home on a hot day. But in doing this very thing I had been concerned 'for the environment', for, to the best of my knowledge, the run off went directly into the rice paddy next door. But I am digressing!
One motivating factor was that Chinese Custom during the Entrance Examination period, is for parents to come to the school and 'hang about', bringing special foods and encouragement for their children. I have no idea why they feel this need to 'take care of' their children, but as the mothers of my two boys needed to be in town, I decided to turn over my apartment to both families, and just disappear.
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
Hong Hu is about 3 hours (165 Kms) South of Wuhan, (the Capital of Hubei), and is located on the Chang Jiang (Yangtsze) River. Did you expect some wonderful description to follow? Apart from, 'It is in the middle of nowhere, and is an old and dirty town (their words) although fast transforming into a modern city' there is really not much to say. It does have Lotus park and a lake which are very famous (in Hong Hu) but then again so am I. Have you ever heard of me? There you go then! (Actually the Lake is famous for a battle during the Liberation War - Communist vs. Guomingdang - KMT)
Life in China for most people is very poor. On an average of 400 yuan a month (US$50) they can't afford much. But home is always 'home'. This picture is taken just one block from the main road and parallel to it. It is halfway between the two ends of the modern Central Business District. This is both a home and a business and there are hundreds of them in the central business district.
From my bedroom and bathroom windows I have magnificent views (when the fog lifts) of the fields, and have managed to gain a reasonably firsthand understanding of how rice grows. When I read in the papers that Australian women are 'bitching' about the Government's calls to have more kids, and the 'glass ceilings' that they face I find it hard to be sympathetic. Woman nowadays in China can only have 'one child', and their lives are anything but easy. They build and demolish buildings by hand and dig roadways side by side with their husbands, grandparents and babies. All just to earn a meagre living
Hong Hu is nestled up against the huge levee that protects it from the Chang Jiang River. That is the Yangtse River to you 'Foreigners'. This life giving river is as capable of giving life as it is of taking it, and a few years ago it did just that, when several hundred civilians and soldiers died, trying to restrain her destructive inundation of the town
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.
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?
A Male Steward came off the plane and walked over to me and said: "It's alright! We aren't going to leave without you! Calm down! Catch your breath!" The 'So and So' was right. It was still another 30 minutes before we took off! I on the other hand was watching the driver through his rear view mirror. He seemed to be blinking an awful lot and his driving was a little erratic. Not that that is unusual in China, but when you are on the highway and you have 3 or 4 lanes to choose from and very little traffic, you would think that you could drive in at least one or two of those lanes for more than 500 meters at a time.
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.
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]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up 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.
The acknowledged problem with Josephus is that his chronological details are flawed! They don't make sense! They are excessive! But the real problem is the mindsets of those studying Josephus. If one starts with an assumption that one's viewpoint is correct, then when 'impasses' are encountered, one has to rationalise them in order to get past them. Very few people seem to have the ability to study the material without preconception; without imposing on it their own prejudices. The fact is that Josephus has passed on to us a far superior chronological knowledge of the History of Ancient Israel than has previously been appreciated
Moses was Born 1523 BCE - Fled to Midian in 1486 BCE - Commenced the Exodus in 1449 BCE and died in 1413/1412 BCE: In 1514 BCE when Moses was around Nine years old, Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis II had a daughter...the future seemed secure to Hatshepsut when her Daughter Neferure was born, for through marriage to Moses she would have provided Egypt with a New King. Neferure died at the age of Eleven years in 1503 BCE. In 1487 BCE, around the time that Hatshepsutat died, 40 year old Moses fled Egypt. Forty years later he returned to confront Amenhotep II who was far worse by nature than the Biblical Pharaoh. The Exodus took place during Amenhotep II's co-regency during the last two years of the reign of Thothmes III. During this time, Amenhotep left Egypt to campaign in Asia. The administration of Egypt was left to Grandvisier Rekhmire, whose tomb reveals that he met his end with disgrace. The Book of Judges provides an incomplete chronology of the Judges of Ancient Israel, yet still records 450 years of consecutive data. Extra-Biblical records indicate a further 60 to 80 years for Joshua, Samuel and King Saul. Add 40 years for King David's reign and 4 years to the Commencement of the building of Solomon's remple, a total of between 554 and 574 years elapse between the Israelite entrance into Canaan and the 4th year of Solomon. The King's Calendar artificial construct reduces the overall value of the data, and demonstrates that the period of the Judges compactly fits into 480 artificial years, as indicated in the Masoretic version 1 Kings 6:1.
COMPLETE unabridged version of "The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology": A Polemical rebuttal of Academic methodology in reconstructing the history of Ancient Israel. The Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE is important in relation to the History of the Ancient Near East and The 'King's Calendar' indicates that King Ahab of Israel, died in 863 BCE. The Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser III claims that King Ahab was present at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE. The claims of the Kurkh Stele are promoted despite seven (7) justifiable academic objections to its content. The King's Calendar' is a computer generated mathematical synchronous chronological presentation of the history of Ancient Israel, as principally recorded in the Biblical books of Kings and Chronicles, and sets forth Apologetics for and the results of R.P.BenDedek's discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Books of the Bible, Josephus,the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.