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The Adventure Ends with Stelaes & More Snacks

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, The 2009 Winter Beers & Noodles Adventure comes to an end. The last nearing month and a half has been wonderful and thankfully as I spent most of it in the south of China it was also very warm and comfortable. Now I'm back in the north it is much colder yet at the same time it is warmer as up here we have water pipe heating in every room. It's just a pity you can't take it with you when you leave the house or hotel. So what are the main thoughts gained from this winters adventures? Food! Food! Food! Honestly it is all about food here in China. I have eaten so much food this last month that I'm ready to burst or head to Jenny Craig. It also doesn't help spending an entire month in the city that was once known as Canton City as this is where the Chinese food that we all know comes from and it is everywhere and so cheap. When I left Guangzhou city I promised myself no more snacks so the last few days I have tried to stay away from food but it has been an impossible task because everywhere I've walked, on all street corners, at all sites there were hundreds, thousands and in some places billions of tempting food stalls and all of them offering something delicious yet different than the one next to them. In the end as hard as you try not to, you end up taking a sample from each one. You then walk away satisfied...until you turn the next corner. So besides walking around for hours each day I have actually visited a few sites. Yesterday I stumbled upon Xian's oldest mosque around mid afternoon and was shown around by an English speaking member. I'm positive I've been to this mosque before but I can't find any information on it on the internet. He called it The Ancient Mosque and I can't be bothered sifting through my thousands of photo's to check. I actually thought it was a temple when I first entered and then I saw the symbol on the Prayer Hall roof and realised that it was in fact a mosque. The following is bits and pieces from the of the LP's description of the 'Great Mosque' as when I read it it totally described the mosque I visited yesterday except that the Great Mosque is China's largest and the mosque I visited yesterday is Xian's oldest. Then again, as far as I know I was probably in the Great Mosque. But I remember the Great Mosque to be much...um...greater in size. The Ancient Mosque is a fascinating blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture. The mosque begins with an obvious Chinese temple feature, the spirit wall which is designed to keep demons at bay. The gardens, with their rocks, pagodas and archways are obviously Chinese too. The Arab influence extends from the central minaret which is cleverly designed as a pagoda, to the enormous, turquoise-roofed Prayer Hall at the back of the complex, as well as the elegant calligraphy gracing most entranceways. [/i] I spent the rest of the day simply wandering around here and there in the backstreets. Well...um...to put it another way, wondering from snack stall to snack stall and market to market. I love visiting all the markets and watching everything from chili power to different oils being made by hand. At home we simply visit the supermarket but here many people never visit the supermarket due to lack of finances or 'way of life'. So when I come across such things I like to stop and watch for awhile. I then begin to think about life and how even back home things actually were once all done by hand.

I know my nieces and nephews would never believe me! I then try even harder to be more thankful for the life I live now. Today I visited a museum that I have always been near but have never actually set foot in so I decided it was time. Found just across from the cities Wenchangmen Gate (just down from the huge South Gate) is what is known as the Forest of Stelae Museum. Stalae's are simply stone tablets with engravings upon them and obviously the engravings and those who engraved them are very important and very old or I guess they wouldn't be in a museum. The entrance fee is 30 Yuan and to find it simply go to the South Gate and walk down Shuyuan Xiang (the little Art Street) and continue to follow it around to the right. For those who love calligraphy and engravings you will spend most of your day here. For those of you who are like me and simply love anything ancient and beautiful, you too will spend many hours here trying to figure things out. I had a wonderful time and apart from the main hall where I found myself walking around huge stone tablets incased in glass, I found most of it very exciting. In fact I spent around twenty minutes trying to find the owner of the thick Aussie accent I heard from time to time. Each time I heard it I would quickly follow it but no matter how quick I was no foreigner was to be found. The answer soon came when I was leaving one of the halls and a Chinese family followed me to my next destination. Aunty asked where I was from and I told her I was from Australia and soon after I continued on my way. Just as I was leaving one of the Chinese guys began talking and there was the owner of the thick Aussie accent. In the next hall we introduced ourselves and found out we were both from Melbourne. That would make us the two coolest guys in Xian right! Ha Ha Ha Ha! Aunty was trying her best to persuade him to stay in China and to teach English to help him also work on his Chinese which from what I can gather is about as good as mine. When I reached the Sculpture Gallery I let out a big 'Oi Yor!'. Oi Yor is the same as us saying WOW or Damn, or anything along those lines....anything that needs a bit of an emotional outcry! The Sculpture Hall was beautiful but man it was colder than watching a footy match at AFL Park during mid winter. The huge life sized Rhinoceros was colossal and totally worth the visit to the Arctic Circle! I spent the rest of the day lazily wondering around the streets before heading home around eight for a short rest before heading across to the Youth Hostel to try their chicken salad. I can't say it is worth the money but it surprised the staff when I ordered something other than my normal Club Steak Sandwich with two Jim Beams and cola. So that's it, yet another adventure comes to an end to allow me to rest and get ready for the next one which thankfully will be a summer adventure. Somewhere in between I'm sure I'll throw on some blogs about life, school and a couple of bike rides here and there. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane PS: photos can be found below all text as usual ___________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by The Smashing Pumpkins The album was the greatest Pumpkins album ever, 'Gish' ___________________________________________ <u>Stele</u></b><u> Forest Museum</u></b><u> </u></b> Xian's Stele Forest (Bei Lin) Museum is located at 15 Sanxue (Three School) Street, near the south gate of the City Wall. Established in 1090 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Stele Forest Museum in Xian is well-known nationally for a fine and large collection of more than 1, 000 inscribed stones, engraved during a 2,000 year period from the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is a good place to get close to Chinese history and culture. The museum, covering an area of 31,000 square meters is divided into seven major exhibition halls, which mainly display ancient calligraphy, historical records and stone carvings. <u>Exhibition Hall One</u> mainly displays the text of twelve Confucian classics carved on 14 steles. The twelve works include the Analects of Confucius, the Books of Changes, the Books of Songs and some others. These twelve classics are must-do readings for intellectuals of China's feudal society. The stones were engraved over 2,000 years ago when printing was not yet invented. In order to preserve these works well and pass them down to later generations, the rulers ordered them to be carved on these stones. <u>Exhibition Hall Two</u> exhibits calligraphy steles written by the prominent calligraphers of China's ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907). The Tang Dynasty witnessed a flowering of creativity in many fields. Chinese classic calligraphy reached its golden age during this time. Visitors will find works of Ouyang Xun, Yan Zhenqing, Zhang Xu and many other noted ancient calligraphers in this hall. <u>Exhibition Hall Three</u> also exhibits works of calligraphy. These steles were inscribed with five varieties of calligraphy, seal characters, official script, regular script, running hand and cursive hand. From these steles, visitors can have a clear idea of the development of Chinese writing. Chinese calligraphy forms an important part in China's magnificent culture, so these stone tablets are of great importance to explore China's long and magical ancient culture. <u>Exhibition Hall Four</u> contains various stone sculptures. 200 works from the Han Dynasty to the Tang Dynasty are displayed, including portraits of Confucius, Buddhist scriptures from the Tang Dynasty and much more. <u>Exhibition Hall Five, Six and Seven</u> are also well worth a visit. Hall Five displays steles engraved with historical records from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Qing Dynasty, China's last imperial age. Many famous and significant poems are displayed in Hall Six and Hall Seven.

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven


Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Forest of Stelae Museum &#38;amp; The Ancient Mosque Adven

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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