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The Han River Ride 2 & South Western Temples

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

After several wasted days watching DVD's to pass the time between going to classes to then be told we had no classes due to exams I decided to stay here in Hanzhong city to spend my Labour Day long weekend riding, having some time to myself and catching up on several blogs that I've started over the past month all of which I couldn't be bothered finishing due to having far too many crappy classes all of which make me feel totally worthless as a teacher at the end of each day.

Now that I'm back on the bike each night things have changed heaps! I can now take out my frustrations on my peddles and giggle when things go wrong!

During my thirty or so kilometre ride this afternoon and of course when I was way out in the boon docks my pedal arm decided to come lose. As this is normal for me I reached into my pocket for my small 'Fixit Thingy Majigama' to find that I had forgotten to pack it so every minute on the minute I had to stop and dig my nails in and wiggle the arm to tighten it. After ten minutes of this and knowing that I had another two hours of it if I didn't get it fixed I decided to keep riding down the track. Soon enough and just as I expected yet sooner than expected my pedal arm flew off and after a twenty minute search I continued on my way pushing my bike and carrying the pedal arm as I couldn't find the nut to reattach it.

Thankfully not far down the road I came across a small service station and after giggling at me when I held up the pedal arm the guy grabbed a nut from a small pile of bikes around the corner and I was soon back on my way.

The photos for this entry are of bike rides taken to the south west of Hanzhong city where the Han River makes a right turn and begins to head north. That is if you are facing west so I guess if you were facing south then it would be were the Han River makes a left turn and begins to run east.

Anyone who is still confused can simply grab a beer, face east and watch the sun rise.

While riding through the villages in this area we found several temples worthy of exploration but the temple I have returned to on several occasions is a tiny ancestral temple surrounded by fields. When we (Brad and I) first found it they had just started renovations and had refitted the roof with new wooden support beams and had also re-bricked the temples front.

But it wasn't until we were shown inside that we found out how lucky our small find really was.

During my five years travelling all over China I have only ever had the luck to come across several 'real' temples being either built of renovated. By this I don't mean the huge temples that have been built in large cities or tourist areas etc. I'm talking about those found in small and peaceful out of the way places where you are invited in to watch them lay the floor and watch as the temple artists go about working their magic.

My visit to Litang in Sichuan Province & My visit to Kangding in Sichuan Province

On this day they had just finished making the statues from clay and painted them white readying them for their colourful facades and the village's local temple artist had also just begun painting the walls and ceilings. These are the last four photos you will see below (two before and two after shots). I headed back a week or so ago and when they saw me riding down the small track they got all excited and proudly showed me all the work that had been completed since my last visit.

Being such a huge temple freak, for me it really is an amazing experience and one that makes me feel special to be part of it.

Enough of south western Hanzhong. Now it's back to the May/Labour Day Celebrations and Frustrations!

We had been told that the schools Mid-Term exams were on their way but of course we were not told when and Thursday when we arrived at the English Office we were told that we had no classes in the morning but we DID have classes in the afternoon and the following day. No need to tell you what happened when we arrived for our afternoon classes nor do I need to tell you what happened Friday morning when we arrived for classes.

Ok then as you asked, it went something like this; Sorry you have no classes because the students have exams. It's like, no shit Sherlock tell me something I don't' already know.

Those who have taught in China will understand completely but for those who haven't, you are left standing there staring into space whilst calculating how long the school must have known about the exams as each teacher had to prepare for them yet somehow just like all previous years you are the last one to find out. Not only that, they keep you dangling and will never tell you straight out that you have no classes for the rest of the week and this goes for all exams and the end of each term.

I have been told by more than enough Chinese that this happens for several reasons such as the school wanting to control you and your actions along with staff jealousy over your salary and the amount of time we have off.

The latter being more than understandable as the Chinese teachers have to watch as we walk out of the school gate to enjoy an extra long weekend while they have to remain at school to work for so little when compared to us foreigners. Before you begin thinking bad of foreign teachers you should compare what a Chinese translator gets paid by the hour in Australia and then compare how many Chinese interpreters there are in Australia to the amount of foreign teachers here in China (I spent close to a decade paying court interpreters). Add to that the fact that we don't have our friends and family surrounding us and then you will find that things are actually very equal.

In this comparison you can't include foreign teachers in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea but you can include those in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand...just to be fair!

Around midday Friday I packed and headed to the local bus station to grab a ticket to ancient Qingmuchuan Town which is found very near to or in Sichuan Province. Upon arrival I was told that there were neither tickets nor buses so I did what any foreigner would do, I went to the next window where sadly I was told the same. I then headed back to school wondering what to do next and whilst collecting my salary I was told that there were major road works happening somewhere between here and there due to the huge Sichuan earth quake that happened several years ago that wreaked havoc in the Qingmuchuan area and closed the Panda Reserve for many months.

Of course no one thought to tell me this when I mentioned going there during the week.

So here I am, sitting at home with a few coldies several days into what could have been a five day weekend. I thought of grabbing a ticket to Xian City but I'm bored of Xian and as Luo Wei won't be there this weekend I would rather be here riding through the fields instead of frustratingly trying to walk amongst the extra tens of thousands who decided to make the city their holiday destination.

Happily though after chatting to Luo Wei on the phone last night I will head to Xian next weekend to finally catch up for the first time in a long time over dinner and also head back to the Toshiba store as I have somehow killed my Toshiba Qosmio. As it's still under warranty I have to take it to the Toshiba Service Shop which of course can only be in Xian.

<u>As it is celebrated all over the world here is a bit on the origins of Labour Day.</u>

Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. The majority of countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, and it is popularly known as May Day and International Workers' Day. May Day can refer to various labour celebrations conducted on May 1 that commemorate the fight for the eight hour day. May Day in this regard is called International Workers' Day, or Labour Day. The choice of May 1st was a commemoration by the Second International for the people involved in the 1886 Haymarket affair.

The Haymarket incident occurred during the course of a three-day general strike in Chicago, Illinois that involved common labourers, artisans, merchants, and immigrants.

Following an incident in which police opened fire and killed four strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant, a rally was organized for the following day at Haymarket Square. The event remained peaceful, yet towards the end of the rally, as police moved in to disperse the event, an unknown assailant threw a bomb into the crowd of police.

The bomb and resulting police riot left at least a dozen people dead, including seven policemen.

A sensational show trial ensued in which eight defendants were openly tried for their political beliefs and not necessarily for any involvement in the bombing. The trial lead to the eventual public hanging of four anarchists. The Haymarket incident was a source of outrage from people around the globe. In the following years, memory of the "Haymarket Martyrs" was remembered with various May Day job actions and demonstrations.

<u>Traditional May Day celebrations</u>

May Day also marks the end of the uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the locally prevalent political or religious establishment.

As Europe became Christianised the pagan holidays lost their religious character, they either morphed into popular secular celebrations, as with May Day, or were replaced by new Christian holidays as with Christmas, Easter, and All Saints Day. In the start of the twenty-first century, many Neopagans began reconstructing the old traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival again.

Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _____________________________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the mighty SOD The album was 'Live at Budokan'

As Brad and I are the only ones who live at the school it is a wonderful experience to be able to raise the volume to eleven. For those who are wondering why I don't' just make ten louder, it's because this one goes to eleven! Anyone who is confused can simply grab a beer, face east and watch the sun rise _____________________________________________________________________________

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride


The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

The Western Han River &#38;amp; Temple Ride

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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