Living in China: Stories and Photographs: Beijing: Great Wall: Tokyo: Forbidden City: Ming Tombs: Summer Palace:If you do an internet word search for Badaling, you will find many addresses to choose from in your pursuit to know more about the Great Wall. After leaving the great wall we traveled to the Ming Tombs. Unfortunately we never got to go into any because there was a good deal of restorative work being carried on at that time. One of the lesser appreciated side effects of the 'Cultural Revolution' was the amount of malicious damage done to these tombs and other relics of China's past, and our guide was quite open in informing us of some of these events. Such a pity.
Introduction: The Frustrations of Advance Planning. I don't know if what I am about to write applies to all of China, but certainly in my school there seems to be at the very least, a definite lack of planning, and at the worst, a deliberate witholding of information from staff until the last possible moment. Throughout my year here, it has been a constant source of irritation to me, that no one ever knows anything about anything that is to take place more than one or two days in advance.
My contract was with the school was due to finish on January 20th 2004, and I was aware that this would fall somewhere near to the Spring Festival. Prior to that there would be exams, and for some days prior to that, I would not be required to teach. I had some months ago, established that the exams would occur somewhere near to January 10th, and that I would be free to commence my vacation somewhere near to the 5th January.
As the time got closer, I began asking if anyone knew when the exams would take place, and I received various 'opinions' ranging from the 3rd to the 10th of January. Finally one of the Grade Two teachers (Kim Xia) was able to tell me that they would in fact commence on January 3rd. She was the only one who seemed to Know.
This is Mrs. Xia - a wonderful teacher, and an excellent conversationalist.
My next mission was to find out from what date I would finish teaching, but this was far more difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, given that one must make arrangements with the airlines, I arranged my flight from Wuhan to Beijing for Saturday January 3rd.
In order to arrange my return flight, my next step was to find out when school might recommence, but as it appeared an impossible task, I tried to find out when Spring Festival would commence so that I could make arrangements to be back at school within 14 days of that date.
No one however knew when Spring Festival would commence, let alone when school might resume. Finally I turned to the internet, which, after a fifteen second search, advised me that Spring Festival 2004 would commence on Thursday January 22nd 2004. When I informed the principal of my discovery, she told me that she did not in fact know when the festival would commence, because she had not yet been told. When I insisted that it was the 22nd, she told me that one never knows these things because the lunar calendar makes the date different every year. She was unconvinced that I, a mere foreigner, should be able to know the date when she as yet had not been informed.
At any rate, I made arrangements to catch a plan to Beijing on the 3rd of January.
Between Christmas Day (Thursday) when I went to Chibi, and Saturday 27th December, I had been extremely busy, and thanks to three boarders in my house, numerous visitors, and a late dinner with friends from Wuhan, I had had little sleep. That, I figured, would change Sunday morning when I would have a very good sleep in. But of course, nothing in China runs smoothly.
A visit to the school from the Education Department officials (about a dozen of them) resulted in an unannounced tour and inspection of my little flat. Now never mind that my balcony, the computer the school gave me, the lock on the classroom door, the shelves in the kitchen, the television, and the airconditioner had all given me grief and repeated requests for maintenance were ignored, - the bigwigs decided that my front door looked unattractive and needed a fresh coat of paint. Without further ado or any warning or advice to me, on Sunday morning at 9am, painters turned up and lavishly applied a cocktail of chemicals to the door in order to strip from it the current layer of paint.
Not only was my planned 'sleep in' destroyed, but the nauseating smell from the paint stripper gave me an immediate migraine. Had I known what was planned, I could have advised them of the physical outcome of breathing toxic fumes, and could have suggested that they wait one week until I was on my way to Australia.
I remained sick and angry for 2 days, not only on account of the migraine from the paint stripper, but because after first period Monday morning, I received notification that there were to be no more Oral English classes. I was from that very moment, officially on holidays, and I still had 4 days to wait before leaving for Wuhan and Beijing.
Of course there was no point complaining to anyone about the whole situation, because the Chinese are used to this style of living and don't see it as strange. When I informed my liaison officer that I could have left earlier if they had but informed me in advance, his recommendation was just to leave immediately for Wuhan and just ask the airlines for a different ticket. Ahhhhh! If life were so easy!!!
When I asked him why they had painted my door without advising me, he told me that they were 'trying to please me'. My angst was a complete mystery to him.
He did however inform me that he would arrange for the school driver Yuan Fu to take me to Wuhan Friday morning. He informed me of his own intention to accompany me and that the van would be waiting at my flat at 8am. (Yeah and don't hold your breath waiting for it - I muttered to myself).
Friday 2nd January 2004 was a very 'suspicious' day for me. It commenced with a knock at my front door at 5:45 am. When I opened the door, there was a former student of mine, (Wang Xi) holding a bunch of 11 beautiful roses (Eleven being the number of love and friendship). The flowers were also an apology for the events of the previous day. His parents had invited me to dinner. He was not sure what time that would be, but advised me that he would phone me and let me know what time to come. While I spent many hours mumbling under my breath at how late the day was getting, he apparently had been phoning and phoning me, wondering why I would not answer. Fortunately I had witnesses to prove that he had obviously been phoning the wrong number.
Needless to say I accepted his apologies, and was thoroughly thrilled with the flowers. It was after all, the only time I have ever received flowers from a Boy or a Girl, but it did leave me wondering what I was going to do with them. On that score however, there was nothing to worry about.
The Trip to Wuhan.
The day having commenced on such a suspicious note, the next thing to take me by surprise, was that just as had been promised, Liu Xi Wen and Yuan Fu arrived exactly at 8am. When I slid open the side door, I received a fresh surprise. There was Wendy Gong, the headmaster of the English Department. 'Well hello!' I greeted her, 'I didn't know you were coming with us'. 'Yes!' she boasted, 'I am coming to see you off at the airport!' 'You are?' I replied, 'but I don't leave for the airport until tomorrow.'
She demonstrated her surprise but insisted that she still wanted to see me safely to Wuhan. Of course, even though I was a little slow at first, I soon realised that her presence had nothing to do with mine, and that in all probability, had she not been planning a trip to Wuhan, I might have had to make my own way.
As I have written elsewhere, winter brings with it the 'all day' fog (what an apt expression to use in China), and this Friday morning was no exception. It was extraordinarily heavy when we left, and driving at the usually 'reckless high speeds' was quite impossible. What should have taken us only an hour to reach the freeway, took instead one and a half hours, and when we did finally arrive, it was to discover that the freeway had been closed.
'Oh, we cannot go on!' exclaimed Liu Xi Wen, 'we must turn back. Maybe we can try again tomorrow.' (Yeah - and the next day and the next day and the next day). They were very surprised to learn that in the west, if you know that a freeway might be closed due to weather conditions, one always checks in advance of departure, to see if in fact the road is open. 'Oh! We did not know that!'
After some discussion I persuaded them to get me onto one of the many buses sitting by the side of the road. They were reluctant at first, but when I pointed out that if I did not get to Wuhan that night, I would miss my connections and the school would have to BUY me replacement tickets, they largely agreed to let me proceed on my own. As it was, we were delayed for only one hour beyond Liu Xi Wen's return to Hong Hu.
The trip to Wuhan itself was uneventful, and the scenery was hidden by the fog. When we arrived at HanKou bus station, I headed outside, took a breather so that I could have a cigarette, and with that done, opened my wallet for the change I would need to take the 803 bus to the Qing Chuan Hotel (Holiday Inn Riverside Wuhan). When I opened my wallet however, I discovered that the two 1 yuan notes I had put aside for the bus fare were missing. I am still positive that I did not remove them myself, for I knew that I would need them. hhhhmmmm????
Without any way of finding change for the bus, I hailed a taxi and for 21 yuan, arrived quickly at the Hotel. This is important to note, for the last time I caught a taxi from that Bus station, it cost me 40 yuan and took forever to arrive. Appreciating the female driver's honesty, I tipped her the eight point something yuan change from the 30 yuan I handed her.
As soon as I arrived in my room I called room service and ordered a pizza. (Oh how I had missed pizza. You can't even make your own at home because there is no such thing as Cheese). Putting down the phone, I ducked downstairs, out the door, across the street and into a store (a chines store), and bought some beer, coke and biscuits. 15 minutes after I arrived back in my room, the pizza arrived, and I am not ashamed to admit that I ate every last crumb of it in one sitting.
Next morning after breakfast, I went to the travel office in the hotel and asked if they could check that there was a ticket waiting for me at the airport. My sister-in-law had arranged it a week earlier for 780 yuan. They informed me however that that flight had been canceled, and that I had just better go to the airport and see what happens.
The hotel runs two shuttle buses to the airport daily, but not near enough to my flight time, so I had to make my own arrangements. Turning down their generous offer of a private limo for 200 yuan, I got a taxi.
My first Taxi trip to that airport cost me (without meter) only 130 yuan. (He did a special deal because he likes Australians). My next trip (with meter) cost 87 yuan. On this occasion however, it cost a staggering 62 yuan. Thanking the driver, I handed him 80 yuan and walked away. He actually did the 'hand prayer' thing and bowed. Honesty is so rewarding. What you may fail to realise here, is that those drivers who turn off the meter and give you the 'good deal' are either cheating their employers completely, or at least partially. This man was totally honest with both of us.
I managed to get myself another ticket on the next plane (only 15 minutes after the previously scheduled one) for a mere 980 yuan, which, together with the 50 yuan airport tax came to 1030 yuan or about AUD$160.
Arriving in Beijing.
The trip to Beijing was, apart from a little turbulence, incident free and undertaken in around one and a half hours. Because of the change in return dates for my flight, I had upon arrival, to go to the JAL office and confirm my new arrangements. By the time this was done (not easy when no one I inquired of spoke English or knew what 'Japanese Airlines' meant) I needed a cigarette, and so left the building by the nearest exit, which just happened to be one flight up from the taxi rank. This was a drop off point only (theoretically speaking).
Finishing my cigarette I headed toward one cab, but was intercepted by the driver of another. His special price was 200 yuan. I told him in Chinese that I was not a dumb foreigner and that the price was only 100 yuan. That statement to a Chinese man was proof of my stupidity, for I should have said it was 80 yuan so that we could agree on 100. He offered me 120 yuan and I thought 'What the hell!'. So off we went.
After checking in at the Zhong Yu Century Grand Hotel (over the road from the Beijing West Railway Station) I caught a cab back into town to look for the Kodak shop.
Now on my last trip to Beijing, I got lost while walking from the Forbidden City to the Mall and ended up boxed in at the railway station. On this trip into town, it was the taxi driver who was confused as to how to get to the Wang Fu Jing. This I realised when he began to move into the left lane in front of the Forbidden City as we passed Tiananmen. The Mall is definitely off to the right of the road, and several blocks further on from Tiananmen. He insisted that we had to turn left and I said 'No!' We finally saw a street sign with WANG FU JING written on it and with an arrow, but after a little driving we were both lost, so I instructed him to take me back to Tiananmen square.
Unfortunately he didn't appear to know how to get back to it from where we were. I finally recognised another square and insisted on being let off. Once I got out the taxi however, I discovered that I had in fact no idea where I was. I ended up doing a huge circuit around the square, constantly passing under it through subways, until I finally ended up back where I started. For some strange reason, arriving back at that point and coming from the opposite direction, I finally found my bearings and headed off for a long walk (about a dozen blocks) to the WangFu Jing.
During this walk, quite a funny thing happened. I was walking down a side street that I was certain would take be to the Mall, when I saw a policeman (or whatever). With a gun on his hip, and walking head down, I figured it best not to surprise him, so when he was about 3 metres in front of me I called out 'Excuse me' in Chinese. He looked up, saw me, and began to bolt onto the roadway. He took about 4 steps before he got control of himself. Here I was thinking if I suddenly frighten him he might pull out his gun and shoot me before he knew what was happening. Poor fella! Talk about losing face! Anyway, he confirmed to me that I was indeed headed toward the Wang Fu Jing, and we parted company.
The purpose of this particular trip was to purchase batteries from the Kodak shop at the top end of the mall. On my last visit I bought these wonderful CYBERSHOT rechargeable 1.2v 2100mAh batteries for my digital camera. AND THEY ONLY COST 60 YUAN EACH. (Remember this price).
When I finally arrived at the Mall, I discovered to my disappointment that the Kodak store is now a Muslim Restaurant. I did manage to find another Kodak shop, but they didn't have anything like these batteries.
A young lady greeted me in English in the mall (an Art Student hawking for an art exhibition) and as we talked I mentioned the batteries and she directed me to a big store where I was able to buy new batteries for the same price as last time, with the exception that the price included two batteries not just one. (Memory is a necessity in China - ya gotta know the going rates for everything).
These batteries were the only reason for spending the 50+ yuan on the two taxis, so I was determined not to waste this expense. I set off on a walk. I came to the 'Take Away' stalls at the end of the Wangfujing, where I firstly purchased some oily noodles, before feasting on some barbecued lamb from the Muslim stall. Wearing a beanie with a kangaroo emblem on it was a dead giveaway for a lamb eater (Australia, as every Chinese person knows, has many 'ships' and Australians eat them every day). I had a nice chat with the vendor who kept calling out in Chinese and doing the Arab rolling of the tongue thing. Of course I can do the same thing and it delighted many many many onlookers to see us in competition doing it.
When he sung a little song in Arabic for me, I responded with one in Hebrew. Not recognising the language he wanted to know what it was, but his lack of English made it impossible to tell him (and believe me I tried).
On my way back up the mall to the subway I encountered one of the many students who snare you into going to the Art Exhibition. It is impossible for a foreigner to go a hundred yards without being accosted. On this occasion however an hour of discussion passed before he finally go to mention the exhibition and then I declined his offer.
Leaving him I headed back to the hotel where I passed a quiet night watching television. Unfortunately, in Beijing, there is little in the way of foreign programs on TV. In Wuhan there are about 6 channels which include English, French, Russian, German, Spanish and Italian.
Badaling & the Ming Tombs.
On my Second day in Beijing I took the tour of Badaling and the Ming Tombs both of which are located to the north of Beijing. Although I had been to Badaling the previous winter, I was anxious to see it really covered in snow. Unfortunately we had a warmer winter this year and I saw less than last year.
While previously I had been taken on a private tour, on this occasion I took a public one, that involved two people from Hong Kong and a bus load of Korean students only one of which could speak a little Chinese. The guide was a little peeved at not having a large and receptive audience, and spent most of the time talking directly to myself in English and the other two in Chinese.
Here is a shot I took at the Korean Hostel. I couldn't begin to figure out how 'TAR they had FRAVELLED'.
Although disappointed at the lack of snow, there were other compensations. I wasn't shown the bears last trip, nor was I given the opportunity to take the ??? whatever you call it.
There's a Bear in there - no people - just as well!
Going Up! Next level ladies and asthmatics in distress, cold wind, and aching muscles.
Going Down! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Taking the ride halfway up the hill made for an easier time climbing the rest of the steps, and no photograph can do justice to the exertion that is required.
I tried to demonstrate the steepness. The people coming toward me were Chinese Americans.
It is nevertheless amazing to see really old people, men and women, right up there at the top. If you do an internet word search for Badaling, you will find many addresses to choose from in your pursuit to know more about the Great Wall.
After leaving the great wall we traveled to the Ming Tombs. Unfortunately we never got to go into any because there was a good deal of restorative work being carried on at that time. One of the lesser appreciated side effects of the 'Cultural Revolution' was the amount of malicious damage done to these tombs and other relics of China's past, and our guide was quite open in informing us of some of these events. Such a pity.
I was fortunate to meet up with a private group of three tourists. One was a tall young man from Western Australia. Unfortunately I have forgotten his name. One of his associates was a Japanese boy who spoke No English, and the other was not from Albania. I say this because when I introduced him to the tour leader, he corrected me, but for the life of me I can't remember where it was exactly that he came from. But it was in the general area.
Maps at the Entrance to the Ming Tombs.
This fella greets you when you enter the Great Hall.
The 3 Tourists with whom I spent time at the Ming Tombs.
The Next day was a free day for me, so I went into town by train. This was a treat for it involved a foray into a strange environment, with an unknown language, and total unfamiliarity with the system. I had set out from the Zhong Yu hotel and went across to the Big Train station, but soon realised that this was a long distance station, so I just set off down the main street for a walk. Eventually I saw a subway and entered. I don't think they have ever seen a foreigner down there before, because they simply couldn't take their eyes off of me.
At the ticket booth I saw a map, found the Wang Fu Jing (the Mall), spoke the word to the lady, received my ticket, and proceeded to the station, where I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out in which direction I was supposed to travel. By the time I arrived at the Wang Fu Jing station, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for having pulled off this coup with such grace and without effort. Murphy's law however was right there with me.
As I proceeded toward the exit escalator I found myself right behind a group of six or so Muslims. The most elderly of these, a woman, had obviously never traveled on one before, and it took 3 attempts to get her onto it. We had traveled about 1 metre when the old dear lost her balance and fell backward. One of her friends made a quick grab for her, and so did I. But between the angle of ascent and her weight, all three of us went crashing backwards on to the escalator. It is amazing how time stands still in such circumstances. As I fell, I remember thinking that I must, not knock myself out, keep my hands away from the sharp edges of the steps, and try to stop the old lady from landing on top of me.
Someone saw what happened and hit the emergency stop button, and so there we were like a pile of so many corpses, entangled together, with none of us able to get up. The men folk of this group did just what was expected of them, and stood back waiting for some officials to sort it all out. I was the last to be unceremoniously dragged to my feet, after the other two women were disentangled.
I was a little shaken, somewhat embarrassed and completely covered in dust and dirt, and all the dignity and grace that I had imagined myself to have had just flew out the exit - and they didn't even thank me!
Not to worry, it would not be long until my vanity was appeased. Sometime later I was walking toward the (back) entrance of the forbidden city to take some particular photos that I wanted, when two people who had been walking in front of me, stopped, turned around, and began to speak to me in Chinese. As I raised my hand and began to say that I don't understand chines, I realised that they had said 'Tiananmen'. 'Ah!' I said with wise counsel. 'Tianenmen...... and then did hand signals indicating that they should go back to the crossing and turn right. They signaled a question about going forward, and I indicated that they could not get to tiananmen that way. The conversation went something like this ..... Tiananmen....tiananmen....tiananmen.....tiananmen......... Thank You! You are welcome! Of course between all these tiananmen's was a lot of gesticulating. Ah but if feels good for a foreign visitor to give directions to Chinese people in their own capital city.
This next photo is taken from the side street to the back entrance of the Forbidden City .That is a frozen moat to the left of the picture, and it was at this end of the moat that I encountered the Chinese tourists.
Walking back one street and turning right, you go on several blocks till you hit a main road and turn right towards Tiananmen. This shot taken from the side street, faces towards the Forbidden City and makes, I think, a beautiful picture.
Now speaking of directions, while I have been to the Wang Fu Jing many times, on this visit I did something new. I walked down a narrow little alley that leads into it. Maybe you think this is nothing special, but as a visitor to a foreign country, you will find that you prefer not to stray too far from public view. Nevertheless off I went wandering, and what sights I saw. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos. I don't know why, perhaps because I was so caught up in the experience. Off in this side alley was another world, full of smells, and food, and things for sale from a variety of stalls, and not a foreigner to be found. From their reactions, the people there apparently had never ventured out into the mall and so had never seen a foreigner before. Words can't describe the feeling that I was like Alice in Wonderland. I just stepped from one world into another.
Now speaking of never having seen foreigners, the next photo is of a couple singing in the Wang Fu Jing. I had decided to eat a proper meal and went into this eatery in a very stylish complex at the Mall, only to discover that you could not pay cash for the meals. You had to purchase a credit card type thing, and put money into it so that you could buy meals. A nice man managed to convey this to me in Chinese, and directed me to the counter where I could buy it. Having found that counter, I continued walking, left the building and settled for a McDonalds hamburger. Finishing my meal but not my coffee, I walked out into the mall, to find that right next door there was some entertainment, so naturally I hung around.
Eventually this man and woman came on stage and sang a beautiful song. As they were waiting for the music to start up for their second number, the lady spotted me leaning against a street lamppost. She lent over toward the man, and quite distinctly said the Chinese word for 'foreigner'. As he began to look for me, I raised my hand and following it with his eyes, discovered me standing there pointing at myself. They both cracked up laughing. Of course the other members of the audience did not know the joke, and I received quite a number of curious stares as both performers frequently faced me during the performance, nodded and waved. I managed to take this photo of them, for which they were grateful I'm sure, although I didn't hang around to swap particulars.
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.
Storie dalla Cina in italiano: Dal momento che Shijiazhuang non è proprio il paradiso del turista, una volta cambiato il biglietto e anticipata la partenza (per andare sul sicuro avevo comprato un biglietto sul tardino, non si sa mai di aspettare un bus una vita e mezza, perdersi nella campagna e rimanere bloccati a Shijiazhuang!), l'unica attività a mia disposizione era il sopralluogo a uno dei centri commerciali della piazza della stazione (unico negozio degno di nota il supermercato, ho preso certe cialde al sesamo buonissime da sgranocchiare al rientro)
Dopo 45 minuti di strade tutte uguali, siamo finiti nel bel mezzo della 'zona commerciale', dove il traffico si è fatto insostenibile e venivamo sorpassati da arzille nonnine con ceste piene di spesa. A piedi, ovviamente. Qui ho cambiato autobus, sempre seguendo le indicazioni del foglietto. Lungo la strada, sono stata messa in allarme da dei cartelli: Longmen caves: 11km. Longmen Caves: 13km. Longmen Caves: 15km. Avvicinandosi alla meta, i chilometri dovrebbero diminuire, non aumentare ¡ quando mi sono resa conto che stavo viaggiando nella direzione sbagliata avevo gia trascorso più di un'ora e mezza in autobus e mi trovavo ad oltre 15 chilometri dalle grotte. Ho fermato un taxi.
My 11.45 am flight left at 1pm. Knowing that this would happen, I had bought my international ticket from Beijing, and chanced travelling to Beijing the day before. That also meant that I would need accommodation on the 14th. After checking the Internet, I came across the Beijing Aulympic - Olympic - Hotel, 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
Sulla Chaoyang Wai Dajie, anonimo e un po' trascurato, sorge il Dongyue Miao (dove miao sta per tempio, che bella parola!), un tempio taoista sede anche di un museo di tradizioni popolari. Le guide lo ignorano o lo liquidano in due righe come lovely, la piantina della città non lo riporta nemmeno; a mio parere è uno dei più bei templi della città. Oltrepassato il primo cortile attraverso un colorato portale si ci si trova di fronte alla sala di preghiera, alla quale fanno da cornice oltre 70 nicchie, ognuna con una divinità in trono e un corteo di cinque statue a grandezza naturale su ogni lato. Ogni nicchia corrisponde a un diverso “dipartimento” dell'inferno taoista e ce n'è veramente per tutti i gusti, dal Dipartimento degli Spiriti dei Boschi, al Dipartimento delle Divinità della Porta, al Dipartimento delle Morti Violente al Dipartimento della Rettitudine dei Funzionari. E le statue, vivacemente dipinte e restaurate di recente, sono delle più varie.
Una ridente domenica mattina di fine marzo, un'allegra comitiva di 4 giapponesi e due italiane si è inerpicata su un minibus alla volta di un villaggio a una novantina di chilometri dal centro di Pechino, Cuandixia. Cuandixia è situato nel fondo di una vallata abitato da uno sparuto numero di famiglie (circa una settantina) che hanno deciso di aprire le loro case ai turisti. I punti di ristoro sono le loro cucine; il museo delle tradizioni popolari, il soggiorno di casa.
A circa duecento chilometri da Pechino sorge la cittadina balneare di Shanhaiguan, nota al grande pubblico in quanto punto d'inizio della Grande Muraglia. Fortunatamente, appena finiti gli edifici nuovi cominciava la vera città vecchia. Visto che stavamo cominciando a deprimerci sul serio, abbiamo deciso di imboccare uno dei tanti hutong, compiendo una specie di viaggio in un'altra dimensione. All'inizio pensavamo di essere finite in mezzo al mercato, la strada era costeggiata da banchetti con ogni tipo di prodotto, dai bottoni ai libri ai vestiti militari, ma ci siamo poi rese conto di trovarci nel centro commerciale locale: i banchetti erano allestiti all'esterno dei relativi negozi. Raggiunto un bivio alla fine del primo hutong abbiamo preso a destra, verso la sezione "cereali e carne"
Circa una ventina di minuti dopo mi si avvicina un altro cinese ad attaccar bottone, raggiunto dopo poco dal nonnetto di ritorno dalla sua passeggiata. Il nonnetto approfondisce la storia dell'americana e del cinese parlando delle relazioni uomo-donna in occidente. Riferendosi alle donne, usa il termine kaifang (开放), che io interpreto come "cordiale”,"caloroso”, ma che poi scopro significare "disponibile”. Le occidentali hanno l'abitudine di abbracciare gente a destra e manca, ivi compresi i nonnetti al parco. A questo punto me ne sono uscita con un esterrefatto: "Eh?!”
Sabato mattina, dopo un cambio e quaranta minuti di metropolitana, ho raggiunto Haidian, quartiere alla periferia nord-ovest di Pechino, sorta di villaggio satellite. In mezzo al nulla, si erge la stazione della metro, un edificio quadrato che pare l'entrata di una bisca clandestina. Il parco era pieno di nonnini dediti alle attivitèpièsvariate, tra cui le acrobazie col diablo. Non so come, ma la versione cinese suona. A dire il vero, sembra uno sciame di mosconi impazziti. Uno dei nonnetti, poi, era un genio del diablo, faceva certe acrobazie da Cirque du Soleil.
Summer Palace Beijing: Touring Beijing: Statue di bronzo rappresentanti una fenice (simbolo dell'imperatrice) e un drago (simbolo dell'imperatore) all'esterno della Sala della Benevolenza e della Longevità.
Sabato sera, in un locale di Pechino, ho conosciuto una ragazza cinese, Sophie. Lei e un amico scattavano alcune fotografie al gruppo live. Era molto gentile e dopo un po' di conversazione ha invitato me e le due ragazze che mi accompagnavano a visitare un nuovo quartiere artistico di Pechino. Abbiamo subito accettato con piacere
Built in 1406-1420, The Imperial Palace, popularly known as the Forbidden City, was the permanent residence of the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It's buildings are divided into two parts. The front part, or the 'outer court', consists of Tai He Dian Hall, Zhong He Dian Hall and Bao He Dian Hall, which are taken as it's main body, plus Wen Hua Dian Hall and Wu Ying Dian Hall, which are taken as it's two wings, Where the Emperor held important ceremonies
From the airport one may take the fast train into Hong Kong, or as the Chinese say, 'You can just......'. The trouble with that is, unless you can read Chinese, or have someone with you to guide you, you can't just do anything. I found it very confusing and wasted a lot of time trying to find my way OUT of the airport and onto the train, but having finally accomplished that, when I arrived at the final destination, I had no idea where I was, or where to go, or who to speak to, for, although Hong Kong was under the control of the British for so long, no one seemed to be able to speak English
If you do an internet word search for Badaling, you will find many addresses to choose from in your pursuit to know more about the Great Wall. After leaving the great wall we traveled to the Ming Tombs. Unfortunately we never got to go into any because there was a good deal of restorative work being carried on at that time. One of the lesser appreciated side effects of the 'Cultural Revolution' was the amount of malicious damage done to these tombs and other relics of China's past, and our guide was quite open in informing us of some of these events. Such a pity
Now while the tour itself was interesting, the real experience commenced upon leaving the compound. One cannot imagine what it is like to be literally surrounded by hawkers, who will not take no for an answer. They jostle you, prod you, beg, and harass you. They know that if they keep it up you will buy something. Fortunately my meager knowledge of Chinese permitted me to tell them to 'rack off'; that I wasn't interested, and that they charge too much. Not even the Chinese contingent escaped with all their finances intact, for like the westerners, they simply gave in and bought unwanted items.
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
The day I was due to Leave, Zhan Yan turned up at my house saying that his summer camp had been cancelled and none of his family were in town. So guess who came with me? There is no commentary apart from the fact that it costs 50 RMB for the entrance ticket
These photos were taken from the park near to the Qing Chuan Jiari Jiudian (Holiday Inn). This next photo is taken from the other side of the Bridge looking back to the scenery behind me at the time I took the previous photos. The tower is the TV tower. One can apparently (for a modest fee) travel to the top, but the following morning when I actually went there with friends, it was closed for a special conference. Typical! Just about everywhere I have been in the world, I go to visit places that are closed for the duration of my visit.
Expats in Baotou City: Where to Eat in Baotou: The Seven Pizza bar is located on the 1st floor (western description). It is located just one block from the Main Road Gangtie Dajie and LinYin Road. That intersection also forms the North West Gate to Ba Yi Park. It's not an Up market Joint, and nor is it one of those places where the Chinese stare at the foreigner like he is a monkey in a zoo. It's a 'home away from home' place for foreigners.
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
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.
Arriving at the Hotel at 7 pm, we booked in to once again find ourselves faced with a room with one queen sized bed in it. Again we insisted and received a twin room. We stayed at the JinHui hotel which you can find listed at www.ctrip.com. It is located at LuoHu (lor - who) and is 2 minutes walk from the cargo vehicle border crossing into Xiang Gang (Hong Kong).
The Hong Kong Hotel was located in a back street, about 10 minutes from the Bund. We spent two days in the area before taking the train to HangZhou, where we spent a couple of days exploring 'West Lake'; and visiting "Shaoxing" about which I have already written at Magic City. The photos contained in this file are nothing spectacular, but for those who have never been to Shanghai, or never been to China, they might offer some insights.
In July 2007 I traveled to Macao and then on to Chengdu. My first trip took me to LeShan and Chengdu's Giant Sleeping Buddha. After that, I traveled with my friend Mingxing to EmeiShan (Mt.Emei). The photographs in this file are those from our first day of travel on the mountain. We did not go to the summit until the next day.
What a shocker to discover that at Sydney I had to collect my luggage, exit the airport and travel to the domestic airport and check back in again. They decided to break the rules and send us prior to our luggage, and in my case, that meant waiting at Brisbane airport for 2 hours post-arrival just to retrieve my luggage. My time in Brisbane was mainly spent staying with relatives and living a mundane existence. Although my daughter apologized for not providing me with more entertainment that having a baby throw up all over me; that type of 'daily life' was in fact quite novel for me, being as it is, something other than what I experience in China
On the Matilda Trail by Captain Sandy Stewart. Today we are going to head north to Mt Isa, but before we go we have a few things to do. First of all we have to go to the FLYING DOCTOR HQ and thank them for the tip of when the plane was coming in. On our way back to town we went past the Vortex guns built by Steiger Vortex as a rain making exercise in 1902, it failed. We are now crossing over Lagoon Creek heading for Longreach. Cruising west 80 kms to Ilfracombe we stop to have a beer at the Wellshot Hotel and guess what! THE PUB'S GOT NO BEER.
Spanish Lighthouse at Corregidor Island had a signpost letting us know how far from home we were - The Centerpiece at the War Memorial for American Soldiers in Manilla - Corregidor Island Battery looking toward Batan - Military tanks at the Philippine Military Academy
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.
Check the Chapter Precis Page to see details of each chapter and to gain access to the Four Free to Air Chapters
R.P. BenDedek writes social commentaries and photographic 'Stories from China' both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing columnist at Magic City Morning Star News in Maine USA.
(He has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003 and currently (2013) is teaching in Suzhou City Jiangsu Province.)
15 Short Topics - Seder Olam Rabbah
Topic 1. What is the Seder Olam Rabbah By R.P. BenDedek
This article has been designed for students as a quick study tool. It contains both basic information on the Seder Olam Rabbah, and links to articles about the Seder Olam Rabbah. For Information on King Cyrus, SEE: King Cyrus the Great : Reference File.
Topic 5. Seder Olam & The Pharaoh who knew not Joseph: By R.P. BenDedek
Exodus From the Birth of Moses 80 years: Enslavement of the Israelites to Exodus 86 years. From the Expulsion of the Hyksos to the Exodus 113 years. From the Death of Levi to the Exodus 116 years. - This article has been designed for students as a quick study tool. It is a Topic Excerpt from The Sojourn in Egypt to The Judgeship of Joshua - Seder Olam Rabbah (No.3)
Topic 9. Seder Olam : Ehud & 80 years of Peace - Judges 3:30 and Erroneous Biblical Chronology: By R.P. BenDedek
This article has been designed for students as a quick study tool. It is a Topic Excerpt from Seder Olam Rabbah (No.4) The Period of the Judges. Biblical Chronology for the Period of the Judges is understood to be excessively erroneous, and the chronologies of both Josephus and Seder Olam Rabbah make it apparent that this has been known for a very long time.
Topic 14: Seder Olam Rabbah : How many days in a Biblical year? By R.P. BenDedek
The Chronologies in the Bible, Josephus and Seder Olam Rabbah are confusing. This is a 'unique' article to the Short Topical Seder Olam Rabbah Studies. It is not excerpt from the Larger articles. It does contain excerpts from Seder Olam Rabbah (No.6) Time Compression: Samuel, Saul and David. The Biblical Data as it stands, exceeds available history for the parameters it sets. The KingsCalendar however, which is a computer generated mathematical formula, assigns each Biblical Year a value of 336 days, which reduces the overall Biblical Data by roughly 8%. When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years that measure 336 days, the synchronisms actually align.
obviously you need to put your learning to test with your admin staff, at the university. You could really help them learning to discern the calendar. SEE!!!! there is a reason why they had to learn a calendar after all. They too wouldn't have known when to do anything either. Ha! Ha!