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Mid Autumn Festival & an Awesome Ride

HeyHeyandaBig G'Day toya,

Legs…Legs…Can’t Move My Legs! Oh so tired…tired, tired…need a wheel chair! Legs…Legs…Can’t Move My Legs…Like bowls of jelly! Need to go to the toilet…no wheel chair…legs like jelly…Oh Oh!

My ride today was a little bit too much even for me, but honestly I really was only going to ride up Pagoda Hill and then back home again but somehow I found myself about an hour down the far side of Pagoda Hill steadily climbing a huge mountain on a series of small tracks which came to a dead stop about a kilometer from the top of the mountain.

If one thing frustrates me in life it is that, follow a track for such a long time and then it just stops. But I guess the families who live in the one or two houses somewhere nearby have to get too and from. As they are the ones who tend the fields that can be seen at the top of the nearby mountains.

On my way back down the mountain I found another track heading east so yes you guessed it, I was off like a brides nightie and scrambling my way up yet another hill and then down the other side and when not long after passing several hill side homes the track rounded a bend and turned into a goat track. In the far distance I could hear heavy machinery and see some cars so I knew there was a road over there somewhere. The problem was that it was in the far distance and also what lay between my self and them. I could and should have went back but me being me didn’t and as there was no room for both my bike and myself on the goat track I had to slowly do my best to ride along it. It wasn’t a cliff face I was on but it wouldn’t have been a pleasant roll to the bottom of the hill as it was quite a ways down to the small river.

I then had to carry my bike down a set of goat steps and the through the river. Not once did I think about how I was going to get up the other side.

Once I did think about it I found that it caused a huge problem and even had me sitting down looking around me at the small cliffs above for a while. Thankfully though a short distance down the river I found a way up. It took me having to gently (well, as gentle as possible anyhow) throw my bike up the soggy green hill hoping that either the peddles or the handle bar would anchor it so it didn’t tumble back down on me. When I reached the top I was rewarded with the most amazing sight, there was an elderly gent there waiting for me with his arms out stretched to help me get my bike over the top.

Not only was he full of questions but you should have seen him when he realised I was a foreigner. He simply stood up, stared and then began jumping up and down slapping his head and knees. I’m thinking he could have been struck by lightening and he still would have died laughing.

He was part of the road crew who had been watching me fumbling my way along the goat track and then disappear into the trees at the below, so he had come down hoping to find me and to see if he could help me reach the top again. I have no idea where he was from in China but I couldn’t understand a single word he said as he spoke no Mandarin. I told him where I was from along with many other things in Mandarin and he couldn’t understand me either. It wasn’t until I said that I was from Shangzhou that he understood that one single word.

We then walked up a small nearby hill to check out the small dam and sat there relaxing for five minutes. We waved our good byes and he stood there shaking his head as I made my way along the next tiny track.

I spent the next half an hour doing my best to ride along the newly road they were making but as it was in its infancy it was just a thick layer of dry dirt that turned to a fine dust as I rode so I actually spent half an hour eating dust while my front wheel did its best to wobble its way forward. Not long after finally reaching concrete and I came to a busy road where I stopped and stood trying to figure out where the hell I was. I looked around me and nothing looked familiar yet everything looked familiar so I thought I was in another town that being a rural mountain town that seemed al lot like shangzhou and this made me worry as I had never heard of a town close to my town.

So I began to ride and found a small road side noodle stall so I decided to stop for a snack.

This noodle stall you will see in the photos is typical of the food stalls I eat in here in China but as you can guess they would never be allow it to open back home. How strange though that they are always full and serve some of the most delicious noodles and food you can possibly imagine. It’s a pity that 99% of all foreigners will always pass them by due to such high food and hygiene standards placed back in their homeland.

Remember that you are a product of not only your environment but your government.

Remember also that your body’s acceptance and tolerance of what we judge as 'dirty food stalls’ are not only a product of the latter but also the extreme amount of cleaning chemicals you keep in your household along with the extreme amount of totally ridiculous compensation claims that hold up the western courts each year.

Waiter I found a hair and/or a tiny piece of dirt in my food! Waiter says he’s sorry and in your mind you begin your law suite.

I’m thinking that if you throw away your crazy chemical wipes and allow your kids to play in the dirt and make mud pies like we use to then asthma and many other things that have escalated in the west over the past twenty years wouldn’t be such a problem. But hey, I’m not a doctor, the fact is what you judge as ‘dirty China’ I have never ever seen any of my students with such problems and in the past five years and I can honestly say that I can barely remember any of them sneeze or even cough.

In all my schools I have twenty two classes a week with around eighty students. So that’s a total figure of around 1,760 students every single week north, east and south of China.

Most of my students are from villages where there are no chemically cleaned kitchens and restaurants, sinks, daily showers (totally un-heard of as there are no bathrooms), cleansing wipes (totally un-hear of), fridges and washing machines but there are dirt floors, pigs (in the next room) and chickens running in and out of the house etc. They may have so little but on the other hand they actually do have so much and so much they will never understand due to their wanting to be just like ‘us’.

Heaven forbid what will happen to this country if and when that is granted. Thankfully though, due to its population that will hopefully never occur to its majority.

But also sadly due to the latter and that I agree with what most of you are thinking most will probably never get to travel and experience a Café Latte or even a KFC wrap. Also sadly, with one comes the other so I too am a product of my environment, I wish that all mu students can experience the life that I have been given but I also don’t want rural China to change. So as you can guess I live in this….paradox…is that the right word? I go to class and see my students trying so hard to get a better life and I try so hard to teach them and help them through to their next phase of life.

Anyhow, after sitting down and waiting for my noodles in a place I had no idea where I was a young girl sat beside me and said my name and I realised that she was one of my students and that I was in fact only about three streets away from my school. I then realised that no matter how much you think you know a place it can always surprise you. I looked back at the little street I had come out of and the fact that I had ridden past it hundreds of times and had I always thought that it led to a block of new apartments.

Little did I know it in itself was an entire new adventure waiting to happen. Just like the crazy kids in The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe. I may not have found Narnia but I surely found an adventure!

Ok, apart from my ride today this blog is also about the Mid Autumn Festival that is happening here in China at the moment which is half the reason for our eight day holiday and also the extreme amount of fire crackers that have been deafening me over the past several weeks. I won’t go into the history of the festival as I’ve attached a heap of information below on that for anyone who is interested but it really is a most beautiful time. Over the last few nights the moon has grown in size and last night she was at her peak and was wearing a single DD Cup whilst here on earth the mere mortals had strung romantic red lanterns all over the city in praise of such a wondrous bountiful beauty.

It is a time of year I refuse to travel as it is simply to frustrating but I also walk and ride with a sense of total happiness that so many people have travelled so far to reunite their families for one of the two times each year that it brings happens here in China. Food and drink are plentiful as is the sound of laughter and happiness. In a country so populated where students and fathers have to travel so far to find education and work both the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and the Mid Autumn Festival is a time where one can walk and find extreme happiness on almost all corners of whatever city they are visiting or find themselves living in.

For those who have been here at this time of year, so far I have been able to keep the millions of offered Moon Cakes at bay simply by acting stupid and saying ‘sorry I’m full’ but there will come a time (like when school starts) that there will be loads of them left at my front door and then I will be left with them and no matter how hard I try to pass them on to the Chinese English Teachers it will end in failure each time and they will pass them back as they will know they were a gift from my students to me.

The fact is I actually only like the ones with egg in them and find the others far too sweet for me. This of course means that I am totally sweet enough as I am! Yeah yeah get a bucket!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane PS: Below the photos can be found information on the Mid Autumn Festival. PSS: I’ve finished The Tudors Season III and didn’t Cromwell get the drunken hacking he deserved!

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The soundtrack to this entry, was by the one and only KISS The albums were ‘Hot In The Shade & Revenge’ and this beer’s for you Canadian Chris! _____________________________________________________________________________________

<u> </u>

<u>MidAutumnFestival</u>

Held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival after the Spring Festival in China. The festival takes its name from the fact that it is always celebrated in the middle of the autumn season. The Festival is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest. On this day, family members gather to appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes at night, express strong yearnings toward their homes and think of family members who live far away.

<u>Legend about the Festival:</u>

The story of Chang Er is the most widely accepted tale regarding the origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is said that in ancient times, ten suns existed and the extreme heat made people's lives very difficult. It was the hero Hou Yi who, owing to his great strength, shot down the nine of the ten suns. On hearing of this amazing feat and the hero who performed it, people came from far and wide to learn from him. Peng Meng was among these people. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind woman named Chang Er and lived a happy life.

One day, Hou Yi came upon Wangmu (the queen of heaven) on the way to meet his old friend. Wangmu presented him an elixir which, if drunk, would cause him to ascend immediately to heaven and become an immortal. Instead of drinking the potion himself, Hou Yi took it home and presented it to Chang Er to keep. Unfortunately, Peng Meng secretly saw Hou Yi give the potion to his wife and three days later, while Hou Yi was out hunting, Peng Meng rushed into the backyard and demanded that Chang Er hand over the elixir. Knowing that she could not win, she took out the elixir and swallowed it immediately. The moment she drank it, she flew out of the window and up into the sky. Chang Er's great love for her husband drew her towards the Moon, which is the nearest heavenly body to the earth.

On realising what happened to his wife, Hou Yi was so grief stricken that he shouted Chang Er' s name to the sky. He was amazed to see a figure which looked just like his wife appeared in the Moon. He took the food liked by Chang Er to an altar and offered it as a sacrifice for her. Hou Yi's neighbours also burned incense and prepared food to express their good wishes to the kind Chang Er. This became a custom later every year.

<u>Customs:</u>

Different customs have evolved in different areas regarding the Mid-Autumn Festival. The most significant customs are to appreciate and offer sacrifice to the round bright moon and eat moon cakes. Other activities like dragon dancing and doing obeisance to the moon are also considered highly important.

Appreciating and Offering Sacrifice to the Moonlight:

Since ancient times, Chinese emperors offered sacrifices to the sun in the spring and the moon in autumn. Especially in the Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 221 BC), the big incense burn table was arranged and all kinds of food were offered in sacrifice that day. However, appreciating the moon became more popular in the Tang (618 - 907) and Song Dynasties (960 - 1279). Many famous poems for praising the moon on the night of the festival were created during those periods. In the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), the Moon Altar was built for the purpose of sacrifice to the moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Today, sacrifice has been replaced by a simple appreciation of the moon. Members of a family usually sit around a table eating and talking to their heart content and at the same time admiring the bright moon. While looking up the moon, people will think of their relatives afar and good wishes are expressed in their mind.

Eating Moon Cakes

As with every Chinese holiday, the Mid-Autumn Festival has its own special food. People eat moon cakes at Mid-Autumn Festival. The moon cake is a kind of cookie with various fillings and on the surface are printed different artistic patterns depicting the story of Chang Er flying to the moon. People treated this kind of food as one of the sacrificial offerings to the moon in the old days. Today, it has become an indispensable food while appreciating the bright moon for every family. Moon cakes come in various flavors which change according to the region but common fillings are nuts, sugar, sesame, ham and egg yolk.

As the moon cake is round in shape, it symbolizes the reunion of a family, so it is easy to understand how the eating of moon cakes under the round moon can inspire the missing of distant relatives. Nowadays, people present the moon cakes to relatives and friends to demonstrate that they wish them a long and happy life.

<u>The Stories of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival</u>

I. The Lady - Chang Er

The time of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.

Note: Chang'e 1 Lunar orbiter was launched to the moon on October 24, 2007. The Chang'e moon satellite, named after Chang Er, will take 3-D images of the moon surface for yearlong. This is the groundwork for the next Lunar Lander (Chang'e 2) project in 2012 , Lunar Sample Return (Chang'e 3) in 2017 and Chinese astronaut on the moon project.

II. The Man - Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

III. The Hare - Jade Rabbit

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

IV. The Cake - Moon Cake

During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures


Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Mid Autumn Festival Bike Ride Adventures

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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