A Travellerspoint blog

April 2010

The Han River Ride 1 & Aussie Terry & Eve

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered and an inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

I’ve no idea at all of the origins of the above quote but it surely must have been penned by someone well travelled in confusing China. Even though I’ve been here for over five years this country still continues to frustrate the hell out of me even when I know it is going to happen. This weekend is a long weekend for May Day (also known as Labor Day) and of course what could have been a five day weekend for us was cut down to three due to non-communicative staff at the school.

Anyhow, we’ll get to that in the next entry. So what’s been happening over the past few weeks?

For those who read my last blog entry, the promised classroom assistants for the rest of my classes (being half of them) never actually became a reality so I continue to find myself waiting for the students to be quiet for three quarters of my class time all the while I stand staring out the window waiting anxiously for the term to end so I can pack my things and scamper to a new school.

Last weekend I got the surprise of my life when Aussie Terry & Eve came to visit me from Xian. For those that don’t know Terry is one of my family’s longest and closest friends. His wife Eve is from Xian and ten years ago when I came to China I got to stay with her family for a week. We’ve managed to catch up several times over the past five years when they return to Xian to visit Eve’s family. This year though I had changed my mobile number and forgot to tell Terry and as I hadn’t heard from them I thought they were still away travelling somewhere near Shaanxi Province and that they’d contact me when they returned.

Instead, after trying to contact me for several weeks they decided to chance it, grab a train to Hanzhong and do their best to find my school and me. After several false starts they finally found me and mid Saturday morning I was woken by loud shouting coming from the security gate to my floor.

We spent the day catching up over coffee at KFC after which we met Aussie Brad and friends down at the Han River and spent a wonderful several hours walking through the beautiful river side gardens. That evening Brad, Sarah, Nicko McDude, Terry and Eve and I decided to check out a restaurant that Brad and I had passed on several occasions called The Tropical Rainforest. It was the perfect choice as not only does it have a good selection of western food but it also comes complete with several delicious singing beauties, one of which graced us with her rendition of the Four Non Blondes song 'What’s Up’ which made a perfect night all the more perfect.

The only thing that spoilt the evening was having to say good bye to Terry and Eve who are returning to Australia today (being 1st May) and sadly I am unsure when I will get to see them next as when they return to Xian in July I will be off on my ‘2010 Summer Beers N Noodles Adventure’ and hopefully not returning to Hanzhong the following term.

So how’s the weather mate?

Sometime during the week someone flicked the weather switch and we have gone from cold and cool to warm and hot over night. We can now be found enjoying high twenties to low thirties, both of which feel like the low twenties back home in Melbourne from where my mother now tells me how cold it has become especially at night.

Besides those with Terry and Eve and Brad, the photos for this blog are from bike rides that Brad, Sarah and I have taken along both sides of the ‘city section’ of the Han River which runs through the southern part of the city and separates Hanzhong proper from Longun city which is where Sarah and Nicko McDudes school can be found. The Hanzhong city side has a beautiful garden that runs for several kilometers while the Longun side of the river is currently half complete.

Presently they are in the process of knocking down most of the old buildings that run the several kilometers from the main city bridge all the way to the western outer city bridge. From what I have been told sometime last year the main city bridge collapsed leaving only the small pedestrian bridge that only allows bicycles, scooters and pedestrians to cross. All other vehicles have to make their way to the outer western bridge to cross the river which I am sure is more than a pain in the butt and will be for several years to come.

<u>The following is a small introduction to the Han River as the next four blog entries I will write will contain photos of several bike rides that Brad and I have found over the past several months, most of which have the Han River along side or somewhere near by. </u>

A principal tributary of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), it has a total length of around 1,530 km, rises in the mountains in southwestern Shaanxi province, is known by various names in its upper course and becomes the Han River at Hanzhong City. It then flows through the fertile basin some one hundred kilometers long and nineteen kilometers wide and then cuts through a series of deep gorges and emerges into the central Yangtze basin in Hubei province. The merging rivers divide the city of Wuhan into three sections: Wuchang (on the south side of the Yangtze, across the river from the mouth of the Han River), Hankou (on the north side of the Yangtze and the Han) and Hanyang (between the Yangtze and the Han).

The Han River is one of northern China’s most important waterways.

The lower course of the river, with its innumerable small waterways and canals forms the spine of a dense network of water transport covering the whole southern part of the North China Plain. Junks can travel from Jingzhou to Wuhan via these waterways and the name of the Han Kingdom (Han Dynasty 206BC-220AD) and subsequently of China's majority ethnic group derives from this river.

Located in the southwest of Shaanxi Province Hanzhong City lies to the south of the Qinling Mountains and to the north of the Daba Mountains with the Hanzhong Basin in the center. It is bounded on the southwest by Gansu and Sichuan provinces and adjacent to Xian in the northeast. Hanzhong gained its name from the Han River and as early as two thousand four hundred years ago Hanzhong Shire was established by the Qin Kingdom during the Warring States Period (476BC-221BC).

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

Remember that it don’t have to be nothin, it just is! The soundtrack to this entry was by the funkalicious SWOOP The album was a random play of both &#8216;The Waxo Principle & Thriller’ ____________________________________________________________

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve


The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

The Han River Bike Ride &#38;amp; A Visit From Terry &#38;amp; Eve

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Beers For Classroom Assistance & My New School

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

I have finally experienced 'one of those months’.

Over the past five years I have met so many foreign teachers who spend much of their time in despair wondering what they are doing wrong which leads them to believe that they are not a good teacher and have no idea what they are doing. For many this is a reality for most of their school term and as each new day dawns they wake with a heavy heart as the thought of going to each class where they will spend most of their time trying to keep their students quiet is simply too much to ask. They know full well that once they succeed and begin teaching the noise level will rise and they then have to complete the cycle again and again until finally they are saved by the bell.

But the sense of salvation lasts for only a short time as a new class will soon begin.

After several weeks and settling into my new school my assistants began dropping like flies and soon I was left with enough to cover under half of my lessons and that’s when it all began to go downhill. The further downhill it went the higher the noise level rose and it wasn’t long before I was barely teaching anything at all to most of my classes. It’s not that my students were doing anything &#8216;wrong’ or being &#8216;bad’ like the students of many foreign teachers I’ve met in the past, they were simply being kids and when you put sixty of them together at grade four level and have no Chinese assistant to lurk in the back ground you pretty much have a recipe for disaster.

I got by though by smiling with the knowledge that I would still get paid and move on to a new school come the new term. But that doesn’t stop those horrible feelings of despair creeping in leaving you drained at the end of each day from simply doing nothing!

One good thing that has come from the past month is the reality of how lucky I have been for the past five years as I have never had a problem with any of my students as all my past classes have eagerly awaited my arrival and have lapped up everything I have dished out in the way of teaching. There has always been a sense of serenity and gratitude from between both teacher class and never have I had to experience some of the horrid realities that some teachers have had to live such as fighting in class and a complete lack of respect towards the foreign teacher.

Instead I have obviously been much luckier than I have led myself to believe.

With me things came to a halt several days ago when upon awakening I had had enough of feeling useless and the thought of getting paid for doing nothing had been eating away at my consciousness for too long and I decided to put a stop to it by dragging the worst of my students to the office by the scruff of his disrespectful neck and I knew exactly which student it was going to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t choose him. He simply chose me every class we were together!

As usual the class begin and within minutes he began making a total ass of himself by disrupting as many students as possible around him. Once this begins it spreads like a virus throughout the classroom and then other not so good students join in and soon the rest of the class (who want to learn) begin arguing with them and what begins as simply asking the bad students to be quiet soon ends in a screaming match between students.

This week we have had tens of students from the Hangzhou Teachers University join our school to sit and observe lessons and being a foreign teacher there is no guessing who’s class they choose to sit in. At the beginning of each class I explained to them that they would be learning nothing from me as each class they were observing came complete with no Chinese assistant and that I had not been able to teach the students anything for well over a month.

Finally THE class came and I gave my worst student more than my usual three chances before opening the door and nicely asking him to leave. Of course he wouldn’t and soon most of the other students were yelling at him to get the hell out. finally he did but on this occasion very reluctantly and as I shut the door he proceeded to kick it back in my face and thankfully I had taken a step back before he chose to do so.

He then found himself being dragged to the office kicking, screaming and crying. Once there he then found himself being tossed from my class never to return. This was questioned and if he did I simply wouldn’t return.

Thankfully a meeting with the schools Foreign Affairs Officer was organised and after finding out that over half of my classes had no assistants and that I had not taught them a single thing for over a month along with the fact that I didn’t’ need an English speaking assistants and just a Chinese face there was a promise of filling each class with any available teacher. When I walked out of that office I felt a huge weight lift and all of the future teaching ideas I had been blocking began bursting through and filling my creative conscious.

To most who are reading this it will sound like such a petty thing but for those who have been foreign teachers and have experienced such classes then I’m sure they will be opening a beer in my name as for most this is a no win situation and they have to spend most of their term standing before a class of up to eighty students they have a total inability to teach.

Instead they spend their time standing at the front of the class shaking their head as the lesson plan they spent hours working on the previous evening silently slips away into the recesses of their mind and their once thriving forest of ideas quickly becomes overgrown with weeds that quickly begin to strangle any future thoughts of creativeness and caring. They are then left with the empty feeling of simply surviving each class and somehow completing the term.

I have only had a glimpse of the above but it was enough for me as a seasoned foreign teacher to simply say &#8216;fark this, I actually don’t have to put up with this’ and to then set in motion a process to put a stop to it. Imagine being a new foreign teacher who has said good bye to their family and friends, travelled half way around the world to a country and culture where they know no one and can understand nothing and having to deal with the above for up to five months.

Over the past five years I have been dealing with people wanting to come to China to teach along with many new teachers who have ended up in schools where the above has become their reality. They either raise their heads from their pillows in dread each morning until the end of term or sadly pack their bags and sneak away on a silent weekend to head home leaving their dreams behind in a classroom and school who doesn’t care enough to provide classroom assistants.

Most of those I know who have left spent years dreaming of immersing themselves in the foreign culture they made their reality but they felt they had no help or power to change things for the better. Thankfully though some have found me through my blog and I have helped them find a new school thus allowing their dreams end fulfilled.

On a more happier note, it hasn’t been all bad here, my Grade 6’s are totally awesome and discipline themselves without the need of an assistant which came as a huge surprise to me as they are usually the ones who are too cool for school even with an assistant and my Grade 3’s are always more than eager to lap up as much knowledge as possible. One of my Grade 5’s is a complete dream but the other has been as horrible as all of my Grade 4’s and sadly Grade 4 makes up most of my timetable yet until now there has been no assistants provided.

As of a &#8216;scruff of the neck’ day this week, supposedly all this has changed and I for one more than hope that it has as Children’s Day is fast approaching and for the first time in five years after being approached to help with the festival performances I found myself angrily saying &#8216;I have no time to waste on students who waste my time and this year I will not be celebrating Children’s Day by watching performances that I played no part in creating.’

Happily the second half of this week (with the help of a lurking Chinese assistant) found us completing a topic that should have taken two lessons to complete yet had been dragged through the mud for the past nine lessons.

So I guess this blog goes out to all of those cocky self important foreign teachers that I meet each time I travel who think they are the be all and end of their school. I have now taught in five schools in four provinces and the fact is you selfless little shits are nothing without the assistant who is made to turn up to your class to help you and who most likely gets paid three to ten Yuan for what you think is their privilege to be in the same classroom as you.

Without their help you would be forced to face your true reality. That of being an alien in a world that most of you couldn’t survive without help!

This beer is for all classroom assistants who provide us foreign teachers with help (willing or non-willing) in all non-English speaking countries. Without them we are not only fighting a losing battle but we are also living a reality that is full of frustration, confusion and loneliness!

To put it in simple terms, we are pretty much up shit creek without a paddle!

The photos for this entry are of the school sports days that finally happened after many weeks of rain. Each week the students came to school ready and full of excitement but were sent back to the classroom due to rain and freezing conditions. Winter is upon us once again and snow has been falling in the surrounding mountains and even Xian city has been covered by several blankets of snow. Others are of my apartment and the mile long balcony upon which I have found several classes of my favourite students painting a mile long painting which I believe is for Children’s Day.

This would never happen back home!

Think of freezing cold days (almost snowing), many art students sent to paint on a meter wide surface, having to squat for endless hours on a tiled surface with no stools or tables and having to paint in freezing conditions. Oh little Chuck wouldn’t stand for it neither would his parents and I’m sure a group law suit would be filed the very next day yet sadly little Chuck and his parents will never know how lucky little Chuck really is.

The rest of the photos are from the Xian Adventure Aussie Brad and I took last weekend along with the awesome bike ride we took upon return.

The Xian adventure was a complete debacle as my hard drive died in my new computer (yes I killed another one) and I took my computer into to get fixed. We rid Vista and installed Y7 and it fixed the problem…for a few hours yet enough for me to grab a bus home. So now that I’m back in Hanzhong it will cost me much less to simply buy a new hard drive that to go back to Xian to have it replaced under warranty.

Add to that the fact that Lou Wei was told on the Friday that she had to work all weekend so I headed back home Saturday evening and Sunday morning found her rushing to Xian so we could spend the day together to find that and I had left the building.

That sucked more than the last months classes without assistants as when you have a couple who spent over two years together who were made to separate due to Traditional Chinese Parenting who then miss out on an opportunity to spend time together for no real reason other than a normal Chinese boss who gives instructions at the very last moment then you have a real bugger of a result. So anyhow, this beer is for the future. There are only eleven weeks until the end of term. With the help of my &#8216;promised’ assistants they will be totally freakin awesome!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the beautiful DIDO The album was the awesome three disk set &#8216;No Angel’. ____________________________________________________________

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings


Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Hanzhong Beauties My School &#38;amp; Happenings

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Qingming 3 - Zhang Qian & Local Temple Festival

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Being a huge Silk Road lover I can now not only say that I have visited the site where the actual Silk Road began in the ancient walled city of Xian but I can now happily say that I have visited the tomb of the man whose adventures actually paved the way for the transcontinental trade route that we know as the Silk Road. That now only leaves the dream of actually personally travelling the Silk Road which will take me from Xian city across the northern Silk Road to Kashgar city (bordering Kyrgyzstan and India) and then returning to Xian bus hopping it across the southern Silk Road.

I have tried twice to live this dream but each time my dream was halted.

Both times I was stopped in my tracks at the ticket office and wasn’t allowed to purchase the tickets west that I needed to begin my journey. My first try was in 2008 when twenty seven Chinese policemen were shot dead by locals trying to transport explosives across to Beijing in an attempt to disrupt the Olympics. My second attempt was last year just after the Urumqi uprising that resulted in the banning of our beloved Facebook here in China which continues and will no doubt last for several more years.

Qingming 1: Festival History Qingming 2: The Wuhou Tomb & Temple Those who have read my last two blogs (above) will know that this weekend China is in the middle of celebrating what is known as the Qingming 'Tomb Sweeping’ Festival and as I couldn’t get a ticket to Xian city I decided to go all Indiana Jones and Lara Croft and spend the weekend visiting several famous tombs in the Hanzhong area. Prior to visiting yesterday’s tomb I had actually done some research on the man buried beneath the grass covered mound. As for today’s, I actually had no idea who was laying beneath and what his claim to fame was.

Imagine my surprise when I found out it was the man who paved the way for the Silk Road.

Needless to say, that was enough for me to take that extra step, grab my whip and complete myself &#8216;tomb wise’ by morphing into Indiana Jones mode even though I knew that it there would be no Temples of Doom to be found nor was I on any kind of Last Crusades but I happily settled for the fact that there just might be several Crystal Skulls full of Beers to be located.

Our adventure began on a rather confusing note as when we arrived at the bus station (across from KFC) and went to purchase our tickets to Chenggu town (28 kilometers from Hanzhong city) the ticket girl showed me the computer screen which read two hundred and seventy Yuan and a bus that left at half past seven in the evening. I automatically thought she thought I was saying Cheng Du city in Sichuan and that was then followed by ten minutes of total confusion. In the end I found out she was printing off a day’s worth of tickets for the local Chenggu buses and I’m sure out of pity she personally led us to a small local bus upon which we then purchased the tickets.

When we arrived at the small Ghenggu bus station we grabbed a ten Yuan Taxi to the Zhang Qian Memorial which wasn’t what I was expecting but in the short space of a year soon will be. On top of the restorations that are happening they are actually expanding and building which I am sure will result in a memorial fit for the man buried beneath the grass covered tomb that can be found in the center of what I can currently describe as a building site. We spent an half an hour walking around, having pictures taken with several visitors and after leaving decided to follow the droves of locals making their way to and from a small village that is found behind Zhang Qian’s tomb. At the gate of the village we got to witness eighteen village elders cram themselves onto the back of a small tractor type vehicle.

When we arrived they had sixteen squashed in there but with the help of several friends they somehow managed another two.

At the village we were warmly welcomed into a hip and happening Qingming Festival that was being held at a small village temple completely packed with locals enjoying the sunshine and the afternoons colourful performances that of course included the vocal sounds that resemble several cats being skinned alive, the amped scrapes of erhu’s and the high pitched tapings of small wooden drums all of which somehow seem to find their way into your brain without using your ears and had you walking in the same off balance fashion as you do at a Dinosaur Jr concert full of feedback.

Which is of course cool when you’re a young twenty something. But as you age seems to become unwarranted and less required to get through the set.

Over the next hour we were led by several elderly locals by our camera cords from room to room, from group of people to group of and to end our stay we got to pose and show the V sign for several group shots with the village leaders. We then grabbed a Tuk Tuk back to the bus station and ended our stay with a huge mouth watering bowl of won ton soup.

<u>Now for a little on the guy beneath today’s Tomb Mound</u>

Zhang Qian was an imperial envoy to the world outside of China in the 2nd century BC, during the time of the Han Dynasty. He was the first official diplomat to bring back reliable information about Central Asia to the Chinese imperial court (then under Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty) and played an important pioneering role in the Chinese colonisation and conquest of the region now known as Xinjiang Province, the large autonomous region to the west of China that borders Tibet, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Today Zhang Qian's travels are associated with the major route of transcontinental trade that we all know as the Silk Road.

In essence, his missions opened to China the many kingdoms and products of a part of the world then unknown to the Chinese. Zhang Qian's accounts of his explorations of Central Asia are detailed in the Early Han historical chronicles, Records of the Grand Historian or Shiji, compiled by Sima Qian in the 1st century BCE.

<u>Zhang Qian's Missions</u>

Zhang Qian was born in Chenggu district just east of Hanzhong in the north central province of Shaanxi, China. He entered the capital, Chang'an, today's Xi'an, between 140 BCE and 134 BCE as a Gentleman, serving Emperor Wu of Han of the Han Dynasty. At the time the nomadic Xiongnu tribes, the name given to the Turkic peoples of Central Asia by the Chinese, controlled what is now Inner Mongolia and dominated the Western Regions, Xiyu, the areas neighboring the territory of the Han Dynasty.

In 138 BCE, Zhang Qian (pronounced JANG-CHYEN) set out through the tall stone gates of Chang’an (Xian Cities former name). He rode at the head of a caravan of one hundred Han soldiers, riding into the dusty, unknown lands to the west.

At this time, while the Roman Empire was just beginning to expand beyond Italy, the Han Empire controlled China. On their northwest border a strong nomadic tribe, the Xiung-nu (pronounced SHE-UNG-NU) posed a constant threat. The Xiung-nu often raided the frontier, taking from the border towns all the things they couldn’t get by trade. The Han emperors wanted allies who would help them fight the Xiung-nu. The Han had heard of a tribe further to the west called the Yueh-chih (U-AY-CHER) who might be friendly.

Zhang Qian, enlisted in a mission to seek out the Yueh-chih set out to cross the Xiung-nu territory. Almost immediately he was caught and sent to the Great Khan who held Zhang Qian and his men for ten years during which he granted him a wife by whom he had a son. In the course of time he was permitted greater freedom, Zhang Qian waited for his opportunity and succeeded in making an escape with his men.

He and his company made for the region where the Yueh-chih supposedly lived, only to find that they had moved even further west. As his party traveled on, they encountered prosperous and peaceful countries that welcomed them. Zhang Qian was surprised by the wealth of these lands, particularly their jade, their agricultural products like grapes and wine, which were unknown in China and their powerful and magnificent horses.

These Heavenly Horses were believed to have been born from pools of water and to sweat blood. They were also larger in size and of greater speed and endurance than Chinese horses and since their enemies, the Xiung-nu, were excellent horsemen with superior horses, these Heavenly Horses could help even the Chinese army's chances against the nomads. Zhang Qian also found that these countries were interested in the Chinese goods he and his party carried.

They especially prized silk which only the Chinese knew how to produce.

<u> Finally Reaching Yueh-Chih.</u>

Eventually Zhang Qian reached the Yueh-chih but his hopes of forming an alliance were disappointed as after their war with the Xiung-nu, the Yueh-chih had settled into "a rich and fertile land seldom harassed by robbers and now enjoyed a life of peace. Zhang Qian remained there for a year and then began his long journey home.

His return route took him again through Xiung-nu territory and he was again captured and held a year before managing to escape with his wife, his son and one companion, returning to Chang’an in 125 BCE, thirteen years after setting out.

Although his adventures failed to produce an alliance against the Xiung-nu, it strengthened Chinese resolve to rid them of the Xiung-nu threat. Now the Han rulers understood that there was much opportunity for trade and wealth if they could establish contact with the countries of the west and if they could acquire some of the Heavenly Horses, the Han armies would be stronger and more able to defeat future threats.

With this in mind, the Han emperors sent armies against the Xiung-nu, pushing the nomads away from the Han frontier. The Han armies left strong garrisons behind to protect the routes to the west. These routes quickly filled with merchants carrying Chinese silk, metalwork and art and returning with jade, wine, horses and other luxury items.

In the end, Zhang Qian’s adventures led to the start of a long march of merchants across great stretches of land and through wide spans of history. The trade links which resulted from his first trek and later expeditions opened regular trade between China, India, the Roman Empire and all the areas in between.

<u>The Death of a Grand Messenger</u>

Zhang Qian returned from his final expedition to the Wusun in 115 BCE. After his return he was honored with the post of grand messenger, making him among the nine highest ministers of the government but sadly a year later he died.

From his missions he brought back many important products, the most important being alfalfa seeds (for growing horse fodder), strong horses with hard hooves and knowledge of the extensive existence of new products, peoples, and technologies of the outside world. He died 114 BCE after spending some twenty-five years traveling on these dangerous and strategic missions. Although at a time in his life he was regarded with disgrace for being defeated by the Xiongnu, by the time of his death he had been bestowed with great honors by the emperor and has been held in esteem by posterity.

<u>The Silk Road</u>

My Visit to where the actual Silk Road began in Xian City The history of the Silk Road is a history of movement and trade.

It is a history of traffic in which ambitious merchants moved goods from one large market town to another. It is not the history of an actual road made of bricks and pavement like those for which Rome was famous. Instead, the Silk Road was a general drift of movement across a series of connected routes. Together these routes formed a vague artery of trade through the heart of Asia. The Silk Road was more of a pattern of movement than a particular track. The pattern was made by chains of individuals who traveled, primarily for trade, short links of the total route.

Silks moved from China to the Mediterranean. Glassware and grape wine returned.

Ideas and technologies such as Christianity and the paper-making process also traveled the length of the route but few people journeyed the entire distance. Most people only traveled from one major trading city to the next. Those few who did cross the whole route provide us with rare glimpses of the workings of trade across Asia. From their accounts, we can see the market towns and the landscape between them. We can read descriptions of the peoples along the route and the kingdoms, tribes and empires that controlled its sections.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Lou Reed The album was &#8216;Walk On The Wild Side’ ____________________________________________________________

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival


Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Zhang Qian Tomb &#38;amp; Local Temple Festival

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Qingming 2 - Collective Gatherings at Wu Hou Tomb

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya&#65292;

Where do you go to get that Melbourne Show vibe in China?

You wait for the Qingming Festival and head to Uncle Marquis’s Tomb where you will be lucky if you find personal space enough to pick your nose and hock your Harries without mistakenly hitting the nearest Wu Wang next to you. Needless to say it was packed, full to the brim so don’t let another noodle in.

What did one Aussie shepherd say to the other? Mate, I reckon it’s time to bugger off and get the flock out of here!

Seriously, the annual Qingming Temple Festival was in full swing and families had come in droves to Mianxian town to visit the temple of Zhuge Liang (181AD &#8211; 243AD) and enjoy the sunshine. The herds were entertained by delicious dancers, all grazed on BBQ, noodles, rice and vegetables and played fun fair show games such as 'Throw the hoop on the packet of cigarettes and win them even if you are seven’ and &#8216;How many million people can we squeeze into one pagoda’. But it was the other family favourites such as &#8216;How many times can I blow my horn in one minute amongst the crowd’ along with &#8216;My kid can go to the toilet anywhere it likes even if it is seven’ that were the real crowd pleasers for the day.

When Brad, Mickey and I left Hanzhong we were actually expecting a peaceful day in the countryside but after arriving we were in a total bewilderment at what we found which in simple terms was (taken from the Oxford Mini Dictionary);

A shrewdness of apes, a murder of cows, a trip of dotterel, a busyness of ferrets, a charm of finches, a covert of coots, a bloat of hippopotami, a smack of jellyfish, a richesse of martens, a watch of nightingales, a stare of owls, a rookery of penguins, a troop of kangaroos, a string of racehorses, an unkindness of ravens, a hill of ruffs, a wisp of snipe, a murmuration of starlings, a pace of asses, a desert of lapwings, a exaltation of larks, a tiding of magpies, a labour of moles, a pod of seals, a trip of sheep, a destruction of wild cats, a knob of wildfowl, a company of wigeon, a turn of turtles, a knot of toads, a spring of teal, a rout of wolves, a decent of woodpeckers, a herd of wrens, a zeal of zebras, a rafter of turkeys, a gam of whales, a sloth of bears, a cete of badgers, an erst of bees, a obstinacy of buffalo, a glaring of cats, an army of caterpillars, a sounder of swine and even a freaking pandemonium of parrots!

People were everywhere and look as I might I still didn’t find the covey of partridges in the bloody Pair Tree! Mate, you seriously have to believe me, there were herds and swarms of locals and visitors by the shoal and bloody sounder!

(the following are my more realistic interpretations of the above collective names)

There was a bevy of beauties, a destruction of dumbasses, a flock of farkheads, a herd of hillbillies, troop of soldiers, skulk of skinheads, a band of head bangers, a dropping of disco, a fluther of dancers, a fling of fishermen, a parliament of facilitators, a flight of pilots, a span of shakers, a pride of Paddies, a wicker of whites, a bask of blacks, a yoke of yellow, a peep of Toms, a wedge of wackys, a cloud of hippies, a turn of DJ’s, a smack of synthpoppers, a murmuration of motowns, a gang of punks, a rafter of reggae, an unkindness of hip hop, a mute of gospel, a richesse of yuppies, a trip of cat walkers, a gaggle of hairdressers and a dole of bludgers.

There was even a run of Forrest Gumps, a walk of golfers, a knob of Tiger Woods, a rookery of police, a company of CEO’s, a smack of users, a bevy of alcoholics, a crash of drivers, a paddling of rowers, a bloat of fatties, a parade of transvestites, a tiding of seamen and sailors, a busyness of businessmen, a shrewdness of headmasters, a dropping of shepherds, a trip of backpackers, a safe of thieves, a piteousness of actors, a mob of gangsters, a kindle of lumberjacks, a host of Geisha’s, a bellowing of musicians, a clutch of mechanics, a pod of gardeners, a cry of mourners, a leap of born again Christians, a zeal of fanatics, a sounder of tenors, a drift of homeless, a drove of horsemen, a decent of skiers, a bunch of fruitarians, a spring of babies, a bale of shearers and a fall of parachutes.

Believe it or not amongst all of the above I found a chattering of elderly, a sloth of teenagers, a litter of garbage men, a fling of prostitutes, a tiding of housekeepers, a pride of mothers , a span of surveyors, a watch of guards, a rush of Japanese, a herd of Mongolians, a barren of Australians, a yoke of chicken farmers, a suit of politicians, a parcel of deliverymen, a cry of Argentineans, a pace of runners, a murder of meat eaters, a pride of graduates, a fall of presidents, a string prisoners, a run of toilet cleaners, a hover of patients, a covert of popes, a kit of Swedes, a stud of Bonds;

And most importantly of all a charm of Eddakaths…haha!

Who doesn’t love the &#8216;Collective Names’ that have been given to birds and animals over the past couple of centuries? One Saturday night instead of going to the pub with friends, grab a six pack, stay home, go to the back of your dictionary and spend your night trying to make sense of it all.

Strangely after the first couple of beers some of it actually does begin to make sense!

A stare or parliament of owls (think about it) and the one that makes the most sense to me would have to be &#8216;a rookery of rooks’. I got that one even before the first mouthful and began to wonder why our forefathers didn’t just continue on that pathway and give us names such as &#8216;a shell of turtles’, &#8216;a dile of crocodiles’ or &#8216;a pie of magpies’.

Sadly just when I was gathering my smarts and ready to call myself intelligent then came &#8216;a safe of ducks’ and &#8216;an army of caterpillars. Just like you I thought, shouldn’t it be an army of elephants and not a parade or herd’? That’s when I kind of went all Oxford on my own ass and decided to do a bit of changing so they made more sense to common people such as myself.

Anyhow I guess it is too late for us to question the why’s of such names so we should instead propose a public holiday in thanks to a man named Joseph Strutt for having nothing better to do way back in the day of 1801 when he sat down with his Beers N Noodles and compiled a list of the most stupid &#8216;collective’ names he could find from his library of dust covered books whilst surely giggling his butt off just as we are today.

If he wasn’t giggling then he was a man with a much too serious nature about him and he should have made the changes I have made just to keep himself amused. Also if he had of made the changes way back then we would never have known the difference as most of the above terms were rarely used even then….I wonder why!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane PS: As usual, all photos can be found beneath the text. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Ozzy Osbourne The albums were &#8216;Blizzard of Ozz & Diary of a Madman’ ____________________________________________________________

<u>The Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb & Temple</u>

Wu Hou Mausoleum is the tomb of Zhuge Liang (181AD &#8211; 243AD), a renowned statesman, strategist and diplomat in Chinese history. It is located at the foot of Ding Jun Mountain, four kilometers south of Mianxian County in Hanzhong city. In 234AD, during the last northern expedition battle with the general of the kingdom Wei, Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang died of exhaustion at Wuzhang Plain.

The tomb was built here to the wishes expressed in his Will following his death.

Zhuge Liang, also named Kong Ming, was born into an official family in Yinan County, Shandong Province. He was a famous statesman, ideologist and strategist during the Three Kingdoms Period (220AD -280AD). As the Cheng Xiang (an ancient term for prime minister) of the Kingdom of Shu, Zhuge Liang devoted his life to his monarch Liu Bei and helped him through many difficult situations.

With Zhuge Liang's assistance, Liu Bei appointed himself emperor in 221AD and Zhuge Liang was appointed as Cheng Xiang to preside over political affairs.

Following Liu Bei's death in 223AD, Zhuge Liang was entrusted with Liu Bei's son, Liu Chan. After Liu Shan succeeded his father, Zhuge Liang was authorised as Wuxiang Hou (a title of vassal who was given the land of Wuxiang (in current Hanzhong). Unfortunately, he failed to conquer any northern area and did not accomplish Liu Bei's goal of full unification. As a loyal chancellor, however, Zhuge Liang devoted all his efforts to realise Liu Bei's political ideal.

The mausoleum covers a total area of more than twenty four thousand square meters.

The annual temple fair, held during the Qingming festival, is the highlight of the year with thousands of tourists, many in traditional, regional clothing, all flocking to the mausoleum to pay their sincere respects to Wu Hou Zhuge.

<u>How to Get To & From </u>

The journey from Hanzhong to Mianxian takes around forty five minutes by bus and costs eight Yuan per person. The bus departs from the Hanzhong bus station across from KFC. From the small Mianxian bus station catch The Tomb Bus (No: 5 & 1.5 Yuan) across the river three kilometers to the tomb of Marquis Wu (10 Yuan to enter).

The second adventure for the day is the Marquis Wu Memorial Temple.

It now costs forty Yuan to enter and we caught a tuk tuk from the Tomb to the Temple which cost fifteen Yuan. At the end of the day we caught Bus No: 3 from the Temple back to the bus station. Buses to Hanzhong do pass by the temple but the two we saw pass by were completely full offering only standing room and I believe the last bus from Mianxian is around seven.

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure


Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Marquis Wuhou Memorial Tomb &#38;amp; Temple Adventure

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Qingming 1 - Happy Easter & Sweepin Tombs

Hey Hey and Big Happy Easter G'Day toya,

A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day; The mourner's heart is breaking on his way. Where can a wine house be found to drown his sadness? A cowherd points to Xing Hua village in the distance.

The above is from a famous poem about the Qingming Festival which is enthusiastically being celebrating this long weekend here in China. For those who don’t know what the Qingming Festival is, it’s all the ancestors ie: keeping them happy along with keeping their tombs clean. Therefore in English it is known as the 'Tomb Sweeping Festival’ and along with several other ancient festivals it has recently made a public holiday to help keep it alive and celebrated by generations to come.

As you sit at home celebrating Easter with chocolates and beer the Chinese have been busy travelling to their home village, gathering as a family and at dawn heading out into the fields and hills to spend time with their dead ancestors. Later in the afternoon swarms of people can then be found gathered at local village temples eating, doing the worship thing and generally having a great time being together.

Some are dressed in vibrant coloured silk minority costumes and others clad from head to foot with face paint and traditional clothing to play their part onstage during the weekend’s performances to help the past continue into the future. This, along with life at present has been set upon a stunning stage provided by nature as the world around us has become more like living in a colourful painting rather than a reality.

Most of the fields have been transformed a brilliant golden colour and filled with the sweet smells of rape seed and the sound busy buzzing of bees. Amongst the golden fields can be found several lush green rice fields and other fields of assorted colours. Most of all though are the blossom trees that have recently woken after their long sleep bringing forth huge multi-coloured spring smiles.

I was supposed to go to Xian for the weekend but Friday found me unable to secure a ticket there both that afternoon and most of Saturday so I decided to put on my Tomb Boots, become all Lara Croft and spend the weekend visiting several famous tombs located in the Hanzhong area. The weekend began with the arrival of Mickey (Brad’s Squeeze) and when they were in KFC they found her friend Gao Ming (a very vibrant lass) about to set up house for the weekend at her KFC table as she was unable to get a ticket back to Xian or find a hotel room.

We decided the best thing to do was to all head out for a delicious Hotpot Dinner.

As for the rest of the weekend, I’ve had to break the Qingming Festival weekend into three blogs and for those not interested in Chinese history simply scroll to the bottom of each page to check out the photos as there are some nice shots in there. Both tombs I visited were those of very Historically Famous Dudes, one being the first Chinese guy to cross the western deserts making it to the east therefore bringing the Silk Road into being thus allowing communication and trade between the east and west to flourish and the other a Military Dude who was so dedicated to his work that he died of exhaustion on the battle field which seems rather selfish as if you are battle isn’t it fairer to allow one of your opponents take your life.

<u>The Qingming &#8216;Tomb Sweeping’ Festival</u>

The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the twenty four seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature rises and rainfall increases making it the high time for spring plowing and sowing.

The festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work. It is more a festival of commemoration.

The concept of filial piety or obedience to one's elderly or ancestors is a very important concept in the Chinese culture. Traditionally, the Chinese believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family even when they are gone. Hence the offering of food and spirit money could keep them happy in the spiritual world and in turn, the living family will continue to prosper through good harvests and more children from the ancestor's blessing. This has always been and still is a very important cultural concept for the Chinese and in most homes can be found an ancestor's altar or photo to which offerings and incense given.

Once a year during Qingming, the Chinese visit their family graves to tend to any underbrush and weeds that has grown out of hand around the grave. Weeds are pulled, dirt swept away and joss sticks, food and paper money is offered to the departed. This year's Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping day falls on April 6. Generally, a week before and two weeks after Qing Ming is acceptable to honor the ancestors at temples, grave sites or crematoriums.

This is also practical as they all become packed during Qing Ming. Qingming itself was created by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732.

It is said that because the wealthy held too many expensive, elaborate ancestor-worshipping ceremonies, in a needed effort to lower this expense, Emperor Xuanzong declared that respects could be formally paid at ancestor's graves only on Qingming.

<u>Burial Traditions</u>

In the early days, before the concept of cremation, dead Chinese were always buried as they believe that to be buried at one's hometown will mean that the spirit will rest well and in turn bless their surviving children and their families.

Today, due to globalization and the trend of cremation, being buried especially in one's hometown, is no longer practical. Hence, in place, on the burial tablet or the ash holder, the hometown and birthplace is always inscribed in addition to the deceased name and date of birth and death, so that the spirit can find their way home.

<u>Honoring Ancestors</u>

Honoring ancestors begins with proper positioning of a gravesite and coffin. Most families believe in the concept of "feng shui", or geomancy and as far as possible, will choose an area that faces south, with groves of pine trees to create the best flow of cosmic energy required to keep ancestors happy.

A "happy ancestor" will in turn, bless the living family!

Family members will visit the gravesite of their ancestors at least once a year to tend to the tombs, especially on Qing Ming. The Chinese will cook food for their ancestors which usually consists of chicken, eggs, or other dishes a deceased ancestor was fond of. Accompanied by rice, the dishes and eating utensils are carefully arranged according to a certain position so as to bring good luck. Also incense or paper offerings are burnt and offered to the ancestors as well. These are known as "hell money" or "paper money" in the belief that the dead needs to spend money in their afterlife as well.

<u>Family Traditions</u>

Because many graves or crematoriums are located in remote locations, and sometimes a family has more than one grave to visit, a trip to clean and pray at ancestral graves during Qing Ming can be a trip at the crack of dawn and to end only late at last light and on most occasions this is a entire family trip, whereby parents will share the value of Qing Ming with their young children and impressing onto them the Chinese tradition of honoring their ancestors.

The Qingming Festival is also a time to plant trees, for the survival rate of saplings is high and trees grow fast later. In the past, the Qingming Festival was called "Arbor Day". But since 1979, "Arbor Day" was settled as March 12 according to the Gregorian calendar. It is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 on the Gregorian calendar. Every leap year, Qing Ming is on April 4. Astronomically, it is also a solar term. In solar terms, the Qingming festival is on the 1st day of the 5th solar term, which is also named Qingming.

…and a little extra for you…oh la la!

Overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore and Malaysia also practice this custom. However the practice is in decline in these regions. To mark the day, Chinese traditionally tend the graves of their departed loved ones and often burn paper money, model houses, cars, mobile phones and other goods as offerings to honor them and keep them comfortable in the afterlife. Sexy lingerie sets have reportedly become a hit among Malaysia's ethnic Chinese, who buy them to offer to their dead relatives on the Qingming Festival.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was World Hemispheres. The album was &#8216;Fresh Global Sounds’ ____________________________________________________________

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qingming Tomb Sweeping Festival

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)