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A Beautiful Mountain N The Alleys Of The Old Town

Hey Hey and a Big Christmas Eve G'Day to you all I have had the most beautiful day today. I spent an entire four hours on the phone to different friends in Australia before finally getting out of bed to start the day. At the moment in Shaowu I am still totally confused as to where north south east and west are. My Shaowu map has no 'north' focus point on it so I don't actually know where north is, therefore I don't know actually where I am...if you know what I mean. I know which way to lay my map when I walk but that's about it for now. Anyhow, I have just had the most beautiful day walking through 'Xi Chun Park' which is an awesome mountain to the left of me if I face the main river. My walk was such a welcoming and lovely experience after being in Gansu's Baiyin City. There was so much colour and life. Birds were singing and I could hear little 'things' moving around the undergrowth all around me. It was so green and so alive. I felt like a child again. After being here for a week I can feel a huge part of 'life' returning to my body and soul. Prior to moving north, a friend told me that my subconscious would miss the colour green and other lively lush colours. Of course I thought, 'Yudda Yudda, what ever' but I can tell you, no truer words have been spoken. Since returning to the south of China, each day I have felt a new energy return. I really had no idea how unhealthy I had become or was becoming. In the north each day past with me trying to get as much walking and exercise in as possible, but I had no idea how quickly ones mind can actually become stale and unhealthy. I now realise that my normal 'jump out of bed and get ready to teach' state of mind had kind of disappeared. Don't get me wrong, I still taught as best I could but my best actually slipped without me actually knowing it. How strange the human mind really is! Here in Shaowu each lunch time I walk for an hour or so along the river. I walk from the cities main bridge to the next bridge which I believe maybe east. I walk beneath or along side the cities main mountain (Xi Chun Park). I then cross the easterly bridge and walk back along the other side of the river and return to my school. Today I spent a wonderful few hours actually climbing the many stairs and walking along the beautiful walking tracks that take you from Pagoda to Pagoda upon the mountain. I stopped to chat and sing with many local peoples whom visit the mountain each weekend for a chance to relax and wind down after a big week at work. The end of the walking track led me to my normal easterly bridge as I thought it would. I crossed as usual, but instead of walking back along the river side I headed into the old alley ways that society is based around on 'the other side of the river'. It was such a great time. I found so much more than I was expecting to find. I also found that no matter where I am I always strive to find 'the poor' section of the town/city. This is the section where I find 99% of the cities 'real' smiles. Though they have sweet bugger all in comparison to the rest of the city, they are so happy to have what they have and to actually be alive. The children come out in droves and happily skip and jump along side me as we do our best to conversate. I find that the more Mandarin I know the less exciting it is for the children so I usually totally revert to total 1% conversational knowledge and add in the basic requirements, like where I am from etc. After such an awesome day I returned home and was then invited out for dinner with Daniels Middle School for a Christmas Eve Dinner. As usual the food was out standing and the company was amazing. Mr Doo who is my schools Foreign Affairs Teacher was at his normal self, full of smiles and downing beers like the beer factory was running out of beer. Like that could actually happen in China! After dinner Daniel, his Chinese friend and I headed back to my place for beer and a chat. On my wall hangs my world map and of course an Australian map so we spent the next several hours happily chatting about our travels and future travels and dreams. I now sit here at 1:30am happy knowing that tomorrow is a public holiday for us Foreign Teachers. I have spent uncountable days and nights whilst being away from my home land wondering why on earth the world's most multicultural society doesn't celebrate other cultural holidays and beliefs by granting them Public Holidays. Why doesn't Australia completely get rid of all of its current public holidays and introduce public holidays that totally relate to the society that we live in. Why not a few days off for Christmas and New Years, and then a few days off for the Chinese New Year along with days off for other cultural beliefs and traditions etc. Oh I'm sorry, we do! We celebrate the Queen of England's Birthday! Argh, Festive Beers N Noodles to you all....Shane

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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