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Hungover In Qufu & A Little Bit On Confucius

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

After a rather social evening at the hostel I woke feeling a tad too rough to hit the streets.

So I put head back to pillow and quickly fell back to sleep for a few more hours. I felt much better when I woke around eleven and quickly showered and packed. Luo Wei had boarded her train at six this morning and as it was her birthday last week I thought I’d best change from my shoddy fifty Yuan a night flea pit and head to the hostel and book in for a few nights.

We always eat at the beautiful hostel in Xian and we then head back to our usual hotel……why?

Our hotel is half the price of the hostel and we get free towels, a kettle, tea, cups glasses, soap, shampoo, conditioner, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a VIP Card and no drunken people yelling all about the place.

I have stayed in several YHA’s in China and many all around the world and they are pretty much all the same. They make you pay through the roof for a room with a bed, an air-conditioner, a window, a shower, a toilet and a basin and you provide the rest. I think they could at least provide towels and toilet paper. But hey, the above is the reason I always choose to stay in cheap Chinese hotels and even Luo Wei was very surprised when she arrived to find no towel for her shower, instead we had to share my tiny travel towel.

Accommodation wise there is enough budget accommodation for anyone who decides to visit Qufu.

Last night I stayed in the Shitouji Hotel which is just down from the Drum Tower and it is very much what I look for my first night in a new city. The showers really sucked and there were a few too many misquotes both flying around and squashed on the walls. I checked out the Xiuxian Hotel which is right next to the Shitouji and I think they are owned by the same people and its rooms were beautiful and they come down from 120 Yuan to 80 Yuan within seconds. Normally I would stay in a hotel like this but as I haven’t seen Luo Wei for over a month and as I have said above it was her birthday so I chose the Youth Hostel to begin our journey together for the next three weeks to one month.

Luo We arrived around one and by two she was impossible to wake.

I spent the rest of the day and the evening walking all over the old walled core of Qufu. As small as it is it really is such a wonderfully charming town that has been built around the Confucius Temple and Confucius Mansions. It is where the sage Confucius (551 to 479BC) was born and spent his entire lifetime. The inner-walled section of the city can easily be walked in an entire day. That is if you are as silly as me. It actually reminds me a lot of a smaller version of Kaifeng city including the night market. But the night market can not be compared to the one in Kaifeng city which is my faviourite night market in China. During the day the population of Qufu city can be cut into three.

Group one are those such as me, backpackers and tourist.

Group two are the locals that pretty much stick to their own territory.

Group three is made up of those pesky hawkers, pedicab drivers, taxi drivers and horse and carriage drivers. None of them seem to know the meaning of the word no in either English or Chinese and I am sure all of them have been body snatched from small rural touristy areas in Vietnam where I think some of the worlds best (also worst at the same time) come from.

For most there really isn’t a lot to see in Qufu besides the Confucius Temple, Mansions and Forest and I’d say most people only stay for a day or two and I’m sure I won’t be staying much longer either. Like Kaifeng city, behind Qufu’s main streets are small dusty side streets that are teaming with locals eating, thinking about eating and preparing to eat.

So who was Confucius?

Who was this great sage?

Like most people that share his status his impact was not felt during his lifetime. He lived in abject poverty and rarely put pen to paper. His teachings though were recorded by dedicated followers in The Analects of Confucius. His descendants, the Kong family lived a much more comfortable life. The original Confucian temple at Qufu began its construction in 478BC and has been enlarged, remodeled, add to, taken away from and rebuilt. In 1513 armed bandits sacked the temple and the Kong residence, resulting in walls being erected around the town of Qufu from 1522 to 1567 to fortify it and the towns Drum and Bell towers also remain.

Not so much a religion but a code that defines hierarchical relationships.

Confucianism has always had a huge impact on Chinese culture.

It teaches that a son must respect father, wife must respect husband, commoner must respect official, official must respect ruler etc. The essence of its teachings are obedience, respect, selflessness and working for the common good. You would think that this code would have fit in nicely into the new order of communism, yet it was swept aside because of its connections with the past. Confucius was seen as a kind of misguided feudal educator, and clan ties and ancestor worship were viewed as a threat.

In 1948 Confucius direct heir, the first born son of the 77th generation of the Kong Family, fled to Taiwan. This broke a two thousand five hundred year tradition of Kong residence in Qufu.

While the current popularity of the great sage is undeniable, it is debatable as to what extent his teachings are taking fresh root in China today. The majority of devotees around Qufu are middle aged or elderly, suggesting that the comeback of Confucianism is more likely a re-emergence of beliefs never effectively squashed by the communists. Chinese scholars are making careful statements reaffirming the significance of Confucius historical role and suggestion that the progressive aspects of his work were even cited in the writings of Mao Zedong.

Confucius too, it seems can be rehabilated.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

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The soundtrack to this entry was by Fat Boy Slim

The album was 'On The Floor At The Boutique’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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