A Travellerspoint blog

April 2011

Zixi & DaJue Mountain Adventure with Ting Ting

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

What does one do when he deeply misses a beautiful friend? He jumps on a bus and heads across to Jiangxi Province to give her a big squeeze!

Over the past month Ting Ting and I have been trying so hard to get together and spend some time but due to weather and her work schedule it just hasn’t gone our way. That was until Thursday night when I received a call from her telling me that she had the weekend off. By Friday lunch time I was expecting a call informing me that her boss had thrown her back on the KTV work horse for the weekend.

Three in the afternoon found Shaowu city in my buses rear view mirror. Three hours later little Zixi city was filling my buses windscreen.

To the amusement of everyone at the bus station Ting Ting and I were soon jumping up and down with huge smiles on our faces and after checking into the hotel we spent the night catching up over street side beer and BBQ with several of her friends followed by a relaxing foot massage.

Zixi town has a population of twenty to twenty five thousand and its main attraction is Dajueshan or Big Feeling Mountain which, even though wasn’t anywhere near the top of my list of amazing mountains, I still had a wonderful time with Ting Ting. We rose around midday, grabbed a cab and ten minutes later we were being whizzed part way up the mountain in a 'stretch’ golf cart. As Ting Ting doesn’t own any form of comfortable walking shoes (unless you are a mountain goat and can climb and walk for hours in high heels) we ended up taking the chair lift to the top.

Thankfully Ting was in fear of her life as comforting her kept my vertigo beast at bay.

Once at the top we made our way around to the small temple and once through the front wooden façade I found the rest of the temple was housed in a very comfortable and cool cave. After ordering a simple lunch of assorted fresh vegetables we joined a small group of young local Chinese students who were out for the day enjoying each other’s company and warm sunshine. The temple has a history of over one thousand years and was sadly destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and rebuilt not long after sanity once again took hold of most Chinese.

One can’t help but wonder at what China could have offered the world if they didn’t freak out for a time, destroy everything around them and then call it the Cultural Revolution….I’m glad we had the 50’s & 60’s instead!

While eating we found out that it is actually possible to sleep at the temple as they have several rooms available for small price…maybe next time! We spent the next few hours slowly meandering around the mountain top and then sadly (due to Ting heels) caught the chair lift back down. When we reached the chairlift station we met two ladies who had been eating lunch beside us and found out that it only takes around an hour to walk down the mountain.

As one was very pregnant and wearing flip flops I also doubt that it is a difficult task.

I ended up walking from the ‘station’ down to the entrance which took around half an hour but during the summer months you can actually grab an extra ticket and make your way down in a rubber boat. I don’t think there would be any ‘white water’ but I’m definitely going to return and give it a go.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Motley Crue The album was ‘Shout at the Devil’ ____________________________________________________________

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

Why Not Go Home Day 3 - Days Filled With Smiles

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Warm Delights In China

Healing summer heat That comforts every bone; Juicy summer fruits, A frosty ice-cream cone.

Aroma of sizzling meat Grilling on the barbecue, Green lawns and summer flowers, A gazillion fun things to do.

Summer shorts and swimsuits, Arms and legs are bare; Summer’s sweet delights Are welcome everywhere!

I believe that every human has an innate desire for happiness and does not want to suffer. I also believe that the very purpose of life is to experience this happiness. The Dalai Lama

I was born with an enormous need for affection. I was also born with a terrible need to give it. Audrey Hepburn

Here in China, we’ll have no more of that freezing cold nonsense! Yes, Aussieroos in the Land Down Under, winter is on its way! Here we are now full of huge, warm and happy smiles! Chuckle Chuckle Snicker Snicker!

Each and every day my life is filled with hundreds of genuine smiles. This is exactly what I choose to be my 'real life and job’. For those who believe I need to go home for this; SSShhh, your boss is coming!

<u>Chinese myths for the creation of the seasons?</u>

<u>For My Friends & Family (hahaha)</u>

The sky is still dark when your alarm clock starts its infernal beeping. Surely it can’t be morning already? You pry yourself out of a nest of beautifully heavy sheets, though the bed has never been so alluringly warm. It’s so cold that it’s almost impossible to scurry down the driveway to pick up the newspaper without first getting fully dressed.

Nu Kwa, a mythical empress of China, was reputed to have become a goddess after she had passed to the celestial regions. When the demons of water and fire, aided by rebel generals of her empire, set out to destroy the world, Nu Kwa waged war against them. Her campaign was successful, but not until a gigantic warrior had partly destroyed the heavens by upsetting one of its pillars and the flood had covered a great portion of the earth. The empress stemmed the rising waters by means of charred reeds and afterwards rebuilt the broken pillar.

Thereafter she created the guardians of the four quarters; The Black Tortoise in the north giving it control over winter; The Blue Dragon in the east who was given control over spring; The White Tiger in the west who was given control over autumn; and The Red Bird in the south, who was given control over summer.

The moon being protected by the White Deity of the west; While the Gold Dragons special duty was to guard the sun.

Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 1 (Saturday, 16th April) Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 2 (Sunday, 17th April) Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 3 (Monday, 18th April)

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Lush The album was &#8216;Spooky’ ____________________________________________________________

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

Why Not Go Home Day 2 - The Feng Shui Dream

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

<u>Living a Feng-Shui Masters Dream</u>

You spend too much time with her! Sometimes I think you love her more than me! If you take her out and don’t come shopping, boy, there ain’t any for you tonight! It’s bound to happen, one day I’ll meet a girl who will come between my peddles and I.

Until then…As summer approaches the fields begin their constant change.

After returning from Wuyishan in the early afternoon my plan was to kick back with a couple of DVD’s and take a rest but after saying goodbye to Lisa and placing foot upon the first flight of stairs I couldn’t help but take a quick peek beneath them to make sure she was alright.

There she was…my wanton gleaming black beauty. I raced upstairs, threw my pack on the floor and was soon racing out of the school gate.

Now that the warmer weather has engulfed us and shared its deliciously warm bosoms, each day as I ride, around me farmers are ploughing fields either by hand or beast. Today as I rode I felt a surge of excitement at how lucky I was to really be here in China living my dream. I remember growing up (yeah right!) watching documentaries and reading as many books as possible that had photos of Asia. Around me today and this evening there was so much going on and in every direction I turned my head was a real life version of a picture or documentary from my past.

There was so much life and colour, so many picturesque moments! So many moments for me to capture…a frozen moment in time!

The farmers/villagers banding together to work the fields but unlike in most workplaces here there are no phones or computers, nor is there a boss to dictate your working day. Here everyone has the task of entertaining themselves. Whilst riding the only thing that breaks the silence between villages is that of the villagers themselves laughing and chirping happily away as they live a life that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.

The fields themselves are once again coming back to life and will soon be pregnant ready to give birth to a new harvest that will help feed over one billion people. Though I am already in the mountains, in the distance there are always larger and more mysterious mountains setting a scene like that of an old Chinese scroll or painting.

They send their silent calls along the gentle breeze that caresses my skin. Yet sadly remain too far away for me to reach. Some things are better left mysterious.

Thoughtfully placed at the foot of many of these mountains are the villages that link all of my rides together and welcoming my arrival at most is a small gathering of puppies who joyfully race around yapping and nipping at my peddles until I stop to play with them. We and chase each other around the small setting they call home, all of us like mad children in a country play ground.

Out here it really is like living in a Feng-Shui Masters dream.

Feng-Shui - Relations to the surrounding nature, the influence of the landscape on the beauty of the buildings and the happiness of the inhabitants. The art of living in harmony with the land, and deriving the greatest benefit, peace and prosperity from being in the right place at the right time, which of course is the great beauty and setting of so many farms, houses and villages throughout China.

China has eight hundred thousand villages and one person out of seven on the globe is living in a Chinese rural settlement and many of them have offered me a 'Helllooow’.

Over the past six and a half years all of the above has become my &#8216;normal life’ but today, like on many occasions, life was jumping at me telling me NOT to take it all for granted and maybe never to allow it to become 'too normal'. Believe me, I still find it hard to comprehend how such a vision and life could become so normal and nor do I want it to.

Picture an elderly woman carrying two buckets of water set upon a bamboo shoulder stick. She is walking through a small village or along a dirt track, surrounding her are fields and in these fields are villagers with traditional cone shaped bamboo hats on either picking or planting. In the fields you can't see most of the farmers but you can see their hats poking above the green blanket of life. The rice fields are like muddy ponds, some of them have the male farmer walking behind his beast or some other crazy machine from yesteryear readying it for its next crop and other fields have the women walking barefoot through mud that is nearing their knees.

In their hands are rice plants or shoots (I have no idea of the correct term).

As they walk they throw the shoots into the mud like a dart and where it lands it stays sticking half in and half out. As they walk along they leave trails of rice plants that end in a perfect line. This then creates the beautiful pictures you can see in my travelblog each summer along with those we see in our travel brochures back home.

I was captivated by these same pictures throughout my childhood.

It was these moments captured and frozen in time that opened my hearts yearning to travel these lands. I was again awed eleven years ago when I first placed foot upon the huge Asian continent and made my way through its lush fields and for most these pictures are how we view Asia.

For me six and a half years ago I chose to change my life completely to make it my home.

I now eat at many of the same market places with the farmers and also teach their children. I share a beer with them as they relax after a hard day’s work. I have been invited to countless of their family homes to share the food they raise and grow in the fields outside their warm doorstep.

Some choose the hustle and bustle of a city to live, work or teach in but I always choose a small dusty, yet warm township that is surrounded by the 'real' moments in time that I was captivated by as a child.

This has become my life and a normal day. This is exactly what I choose to be my &#8216;real life and job’. For those who believe I need to go home for this…enjoy your day.

Beers N Noodles toya....shane

Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 1 (Saturday, 16th April) Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 2 (Sunday, 17th April) Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 3 (Monday, 18th April)

PS: Yo Stephen Tonkin, all of these frozen moments were captured on the good old Nokia phone camera. It always amazes me at what it can do, yet it still remains the same phone camera that has taken around 40,000 photos and for those that are wondering, every photo on my blog from the beginning of 2007 until my Winter Break in 2011. Oh Nokia, just give me a zoom lens and I'll be the happiest man alive! For those with a big screen, shurdup! Hahahaha! Yesterdays Wuyishan moments were captured on the new Fujifilm camera and yes I finally got to take it for a long walk...yeah yeah yeah! This beers for you mate! ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Lita Ford The album was &#8216;Lita’ ____________________________________________________________

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

Why Not Go Home Day 1 - Wuyishan

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

When are you coming home? Why do you like living in China so much? Isn’t it about time you came home and got a real life and job?

Over the years I have noticed a trend when it comes to the 'coming home’ questions and they seem to pop up every two or so years which seems to be right about now. Sometimes it feels like friends who have no way of knowing each other have banded together and organised a few weeks of interrogation into my life in China and the one I’m not living back home in Australia. Most of the time it is from friends that are honestly worried about my long term future and who miss me and genuinely want to see me. But there is always one that comes from a friend/person who is simply jealous of the life I have created when they compare it to the one they are unhappily living.

The same person who sits home and complains about everything around them. The same one who remains stagnant and won’t go about making change. It’s ok, at least you’re still alive enough to think and ask questions. Maybe though, it would be best if you direct it towards yourself

<u>Three Simple Days in the Life of Me &#8211; Day 1 (Saturday, 16th April)</u> <u>Three Simple Days In The Life of Me &#8211; Day 2 (Sunday, 17th April)</u> <u>Three Simple Days In The Life of Me &#8211; Day 3 (Monday, 18th April)</u>

So as to why I choose to stay living in China and not go home to get a so called &#8216;real job and life’, I decided to answer the above questions by randomly choosing three consecutive days on the calendar that weren’t part of any travelling term break, blog them and see if they are enough of an answer.

I also offer the following (lose sight of the shore) that a friend found on the net and emailed to me some time ago and as to my interpretation of what a real life and job is…..

To me a real life and job is one that makes you fulfilled, whole and happy without question. That which has you bounding out of bed without thoughts of dread and boredom about the working day ahead and one that had you up late the previous evening happily creating a working day filled with as much fun filled learning as possible. Many people I know are actually happy with their life and have found a pathway that fulfils them. On the other hand I also know many who had/have dreams yet remain too frightened, chained and enclosed to simply let go to find a way to make their dreams reality.

So for the friend who questioned my life and job… Yesterday is now a memory and tomorrow is still a dream. Today is an amazing gift and that's why they call it the present.

<u>Do You Have The Courage To Lose Sight Of The Shore?</u>

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Look at your life. Today I want to ask you a question. Do you have the courage to lose sight of the shore? Maybe you have lived your life in certainty, in predictability, in routine and/or in safety.

Maybe you have traded the adventure of your life for the four walls of your own knowledge. Why have you done this? Why do you have a predictable job that you mainly dislike and complain about? Why do you avoid speaking up when you know you can thoughtfully disagree? Why do you lose yourself vicariously through romance novels, travel magazines and Hollywood movies?

Why have you settled for this when you were created for TRANSCENDENCE? Do You Want to Know the Real Reason Why?

You are constantly looking back toward the shore, and when the shore gets a little too far away for comfort, you turn back. You like giving yourself the semblance of adventure. After all, you put on a bathing suit. You got in the boat. You put on the life preserver.

But the reality is that you must have courage to turn AWAY from the familiar and TOWARDS the unfamiliar to go on an adventure. So why not have the courage to turn away from the shore and towards the wide open sea. You are not guaranteed another year of your life nor are you guaranteed another day.

Later never comes nor does Someday, all you have is right now. So if you have a dream, live it as this is your time!

<u>THE FIRST SIMPLE DAY IN THE LIFE OF ME THAT KEEPS ME AWAY:</u> <u>WAS SPENT AT WUYI MOUNTAIN….Yes….Again!</u>

A few weeks ago the weather changed from cold and rainy to warm and sunny pretty much overnight so after each fun filled week with my students and peddles, Friday afternoon has found my pack and I on a bus bound for the far northwest corner of Fujian Province to Wuyishan (one of my favourite mountains in China) for the weekend.

Last weekend I introduced Wuyi’s charms to English Lisa. After a five hour walk and beer & BBQ, she was charmed!

Wuyishan offers some of the most spectacular unspoilt scenery in the province and is filled with rivers, small waterfalls and freaky tea tree lined mountains. As I’ve been there so many times I’ve put together several of the &#8216;offered’ and &#8216;not so offered’ walks that when combined offer a wonderfully silent day that includes happy &#8216;Hellows’ from the tea pickers, several tranquil tea stops one of which is in an ancient temple with a silent Monk and to end the day, amazing views from above.

After a few hours rest ones soul is then drawn towards Beer & BBQ Street! Here one raises ones cold bottle and thanks Lord Noodle for such a wonderful life! ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the Happy Mondays The album was &#8216;The Best of Everything’. ____________________________________________________________

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

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WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa


WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

WuyiShan Adventure with Lisa

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