A Travellerspoint blog

June 2010

Last Class Good Bye Fun & Games

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City


Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

Last Class Fun & Games in Hanzhong City

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

Floods in Shaowu City, Fujian Province

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

For those that don’t know;

I have made a decision to move back to my beloved mountain city of Shaowu that sits fourteen hours deep into the north western hills of Fujian Province to live and teach next term beginning September. For those that don’t know, I spent a year and a half here from 2007 to mid 2008 prior to moving on to Shaanxi where I have spent the last two years.

As I finish teaching here in Hanzhong City (south-west Shaanxi Province) this coming Wednesday my plan was to head to Fujian Province at the end of the week to drop off my belongings, have a few catch up beers and then head south to Guangxi Province to Yangshuo to catch up with the Buckland’s Team for the first time in four years.

Plans somehow always have a way of being changed!

At the moment Shaowu city is completely flooded leaving the city without power for over a week, all schools have been closed and the students are left without a chance of sitting their end of year exams. This of course sounds like good time for the students to celebrate, but not here in China. It is still unsure if they will get a chance to sit the exams at the beginning of next term but even if they do the fate of the Grade 6 students futures remains unclear as their end of year exam results determine their ability to sit the Middle School Entrance Exam which combined determines what Middle School they will attend.

For those that don’t know, this is where it all begins for Chinese students. With such a huge population the positions available in the future will always be small.

To make it more clear, a student’s Middle School will then determine what High School they will attend which then determines what University they will be entitled to attend. The end result being, if it’s not a 'good one’ then even the smartest student will never be able to make their dreams their reality. After being here for five and a half years it still blows my mind that a person’s future can be determined from when they leave Primary School.

Such a huge burden to bear for those so young!

This beer and blog is for all of my beautiful friends in Shaowu and a huge thanks goes to several of my old Grade 4, 5 & 6 students who I have remained in contact with over the past two years via QQ who have been sending me messages and photos via their mobile phones and at this stage it is the future of my Fujian Grade 4 students that remains unclear.

<u>A News Clipping Taken From Today’s Online Paper </u>

The death toll from storms that have pounded southern China for more than a week has climbed to around four hundred, the government said Friday (today).

The toll is expected to rise as one hundred and forty two people are missing and more rain is expected, according to the China Meteorological Administration website. That threatens to hamper rescue efforts that have seen 4.4 million people (nearly twice that of Melbourne city) evacuated from their homes. The death toll climbed from two hundred and eleven in the past two days as heavy rains fell in the southern regions of Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website.

<u>As of five days ago in Fujian Province</u> (I have been unable to find more up to date information on Fujian)

The floods have triggered landslides and mud flows in east China's Fujian province, leaving seventy six dead and seventy nine missing as of 4 pm Monday, said local flood control officials on Tuesday. The floods, the worst in one hundred years in some regions of Fujian, have affected 2.65 million people (all of Melbourne city) and destroyed 44,200 houses. A total of 527,300 people have been evacuated in Fujian alone, said a spokesperson with the provincial Flood Control and Drought Relief Office.

The government says the flooding has caused about $11 billion in damages.

China sustains major flooding annually along the mighty Yangtze and other major rivers, but this year's floods have been especially heavy, spreading across ten provinces and regions in the south and along the eastern coast.

For those that don’t know: this is only the beginning of the deadly Monsoon Season!

Expect all totals to rise dramatically! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Elliot Smith. The album was his wonderful &#8216;Self Titled’ album. ____________________________________________________________

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province


Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

Shaowu Floods in Fujian Province

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

Hanzhongs Not So Exciting City Sites Adventure 2

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

For those who are planning on a Hanzhong Adventure I have created two pages full of things that aren’t so exciting to visit in and around the city. Though the city has a huge history (it is from this city that the Han Chinese get their name) there really is not a lot to do in the actual city itself but there are several rather dull sites to find if you grab your bike and spend a few hours searching.

Always remember, though the 'sites’ maybe dull it is what you find and experience between Point A and Point B that is of actual value.

If you are a bike rider like me (or love long walks) then Hanzhong is not a bad place live and teach as the city is surrounded by fields scattered with small villages where a few decent bike rides can be found. All you need is a set of peddles and adventurous spirit to make your time worthwhile. It is also impossible to get lost as the city sits in a huge basin and everything is flat so all you need to do is simply head back the way you came.

Here is my SECOND list of 'Not So Exciting Things to See & Do’ in and around Hanzhong city.

This though is my personal view and after spending five and a half years living and travelling north, south, east and west in China I think it is pointless telling you that what I see here in this city is going to be completely different to any visitor new or otherwise. This is my blog though and one day when I am old and more silly than now I want to even remember the parts of China that didn’t really appeal to me.

Along with those that blew my mind.

<u>Folk Village & The Peony & Rare Stone Gardens</u>

All sites can be found on the eighteen kilometre ride to the Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road I personally think that none of them are worth visiting nor even their small entry fee so if you are short on time here in Hanzhong city then simply continue your ride north to the Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road. But if you have the time to spare then why not spend a day visiting the Folk Village, The Peony Gardens and the Rare Stone Gardens and make up your own mind. They are all very well signed and are easily located and you will actually have a great day with your pedals and friends and you can easily visit the Plank Road the next day or following weekend.

To find them continue riding north past KFC after twenty or thirty minutes you will come to a huge round about. Here continue north toward the distant mountains, the right turn will take you to Chenggu town and the left turn takes you to Mingxian Town. Below are several links to my visits to Mingxian town, Chenggu town and the Ancient Plank Road.

<u>Walking The Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road</u> <u>The Rural Ride to the Ancient Plank Road</u> <u>Collective Gatherings at Wu Hou Tomb</u> <u>Zhang Qian & Local Temple Festival</u>

<u>The Sujiun Tea House Ride</u>

The Sujiun Tea House (or I think that’s what it is called/spelt) can be found to the north west of Hanzhong city and to be honest it is probably the most beautiful site that I visited in this city. It’s not a large site but it does offer peace and quiet and is filled with trees, flowers and several pagodas. I can’t actually tell you how to get there so you will have to find it by mistake just as Sarah and I did on the return journey from one of our western village rides. We found it several months ago and I only found it again last week so from that I can gather that it is not located in a popular location in the very North West of town as Brad and I have ridden this area on many occasions and have never stumbled upon it.

From what I can gather there is only one tourist sign to be found that mentions it and that is located in a dusty unvisited north western corner of the city just around the corner from the actual tea house. The same sign also mentions the name of the temple that Brad and I found many months ago yet at the actual temple there is no sign or English name to be found anywhere.

BUT as I said above, it’s the actual trying to locate the sites that is the beauty of the ride!

<u>The Han River Ride 2 & South Western Temples</u>

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: If you find that the photos actually make the destination appealing, that’s because of my promise that I made to Brad that I could actually make anything look worthy of a visit. This promise can be found in myfirst list of &#8216;Not So Exciting Things to See & Do’ in and around Hanzhong city. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Mr Bungle The album was &#8216;California’ ____________________________________________________________

Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Folk Village &#38;amp; The   Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens

Folk Village &#38;amp; The Peony &#38;amp; Rare Stone Gardens


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride


Western Tea House Ride

Western Tea House Ride

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

The Rural Ancient Plank Road Ride & Happy Birthday

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Though I’ve found several 'cool’ bike rides in and around Hanzhong in the five months I’ve been here I have never actually found or had one of those rides that at the end of the day makes me kick back with a few coldies and say &#8216;that was a freakin awesome ride mate’.

Yesterday and today it finally happened! Oh, and why did it happen on a Monday and Tuesday?

Here in China we are celebrating the Dragon Boat Festival and after teaching Monday and Tuesday’s classes on Saturday and Sunday we now have three days off to eat, drink, ride and be merry. For those who are interested in the history of the Dragon Boat Festival I have added some information at the end of the blog. Celebrations began Sunday afternoon with all one hundred and twenty teachers attending a huge hot pot dinner at one of the city’s most popular hot pot restaurants.

Crusty Simon….be jealous my friend!

Strangely though it was an individual hot pot and not the common communal hot pot that I am used to and personally prefer. The end result is of course the same but I like the shared hot pot as it always seems to bring a table full of &#8216;new friends’ together more so than the individual hot pot. The communal hot pot allows the group to add the food together and it then allows my favourite part to occur;

It then allows the &#8216;chopstick dumbasses’ to show themselves.

The group then helps each other retrieve the slippery food such as the thick and slippery rice noodles to the plate of the hungry individual who can’t seem to get a hold of it and this is always done with huge bursts of laughter and cheery beer toasts to all those sharing the messy table. Brad and I shared a table with several men we didn’t know and who couldn’t speak any English but thankfully one unlucky Chinese English Teacher was placed with us.

Sadly though it was easy to see that she wasn’t that happy about her placement.

Unlike any other school I have taught in my current schools Chinese English Teachers seem to have no interest in their foreign teachers, their lives and the country they come from. We arrive at the English Office each morning and we then say Hello and Good Morning and to date none have ever bothered asking us about our lives, our mother country nor any of our travels.

Personally this make me feel very uncomfortable as no matter where I have been in the world and in China, be it a hostel or a school we all want to know about each other’s realities.

Happily soon though it will be my past and soon I will once again be treading a new future pathway in life and one that will hopefully take me back to my beloved Fujian Province. Each night over the past week has found me sorting through the little that I call my life’s worth and once again halving it to then continue sorting and trying to rid even more.

Before I leave I will leave it on the side of the road for someone who needs and will benefit from it much more than I do.

<u>Now to My Awesome &#8216;Rural Ancient Plank Road’ Ride.</u>

Several weeks ago on our way home from&#8216;The Wrong Rive Ride’ Brad and I were separated due to yet another wrong turn and I missed the large Ding that sits somewhere on the road to between Hanzhong and Mingxian town. So yesterday I decided to head North West and see it for myself but what I found was a smallish Ding that sat upon a large stage. I was hoping more for an actual large Ding that sat upon a small stage like the one I visited on Dinghua Shan (the worlds biggest Ding) near Zhaoqing city in Guangdong Province that I visited during my &#8216;2010 Beers N Noodles Winter Adventure’.

A &#8216;Ding’ is a ceremonial Chinese Pot with two handles and three or four legs. The Nine Dragon Vessel on Dinghua Shan is around two stories high!

The Hanzhong Ding is surprisingly located in the middle of &#8216;no freaking where’ and for the life of me I can’t understand why it had been placed where it was. Normally such a thing would be placed in a popular park or on a mountain near a popular temple but here its simply in a tiny square located on the side of a busy road not only far from anywhere special but simply far from anyone and anything.

After visiting the smallish yet high Ding I decided to venture further north and visit some of the nearby villages.

With the northern hills in the distance one thing led to another and I soon found myself leaving one village to then visit another while moving further north, all the while the northern mountains were becoming more of a larger reality than something looming in the distance. I then thought of the Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road that I had visited with English Sarah several months prior and decided to spend the afternoon village hopping it towards the town of Baoxie/Shimen that sits at the foot of the northern hills.

For some reason all afternoon I had the bridge that you cross to the entrance to the Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road Park in mind but I never once thought that that is where I would end up. This is not the first time I have had that feeling AND found that exact spot!

I spent several hours riding north from village to village and riding through fields being tendered by farmers and on more than several occasions having to retrace my pedals due to dead end tracks. I knew that I would soon come to Baoxie/Shimen town and when I arrived I thought I would then have to decide whether I would even bother trying to locate the &#8216;Ancient Plank Road Park’.

Which could have been anywhere to the left or right of my arrival.

I rode through rice fields, along bumpy dirt tracks, on small rural concrete roads which then turned into more bumpy dirt tracks to then venture further onto tiny creek side tracks all of which then led me to the actual bridge that takes you across the Bao River to the ticket office to the actual Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road Park. Of all the places I could have ended up riding through such rural areas, how in the world did I end up in the exact spot that I imagined that I would? It took me back to last year’s Dragon Boat Festival ride whereI finally connected several of my rides and once again ended up in the exact spot I thought I would.

How does such a thing actually happen? Anyhow, none of that really matters!

What matters to me is the fact that I actually found and rode &#8216;that ride’ and that I can now leave here with a feeling of completeness when it comes to my riding. As for teaching, I will sadly have to leave simply knowing that I did turn up to all classes trying to make a difference to those who were unwilling to listen.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane PS: For all photos please scroll down beneath all text. ______________________________________________________________

Today is the 16th June which marks a very important and special double birthday for two of the most important people in my life so there has been a very strange random play going on whilst I have been typing this entry and I’m sure that any Chinese person who has been listening would have been confused as to whether they should have been partying, drinking, packing a cone or two or slamming their head against the nearest wall!

For my Big Brother it has been Inxs and The Dandy Warholes. For my good buddy Glenn it has been Bolt Thrower and KISS. All of which have taken me back to some awesome times! You have no idea how much I miss the both of you! ______________________________________________________________

<u>Dragon Boat Festival / Double Fifth Day</u>

The Dragon Boat Festival which is also known as Double Fifth Day falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. From what I can gather there are many different stories as to where and how this festival came to light. But the most popular version and the one officially accepted is about Qu Yuan, a minister during the Warring States Period.

(475 - 221 BC).

<u>Legend of the Dragon Boat Festival's Origin</u>

At the end of the Zhou Dynasty (1100 &#8211; 221 BC), the country known presently as China had fallen into a state of conflict and despair. The Zhou Dynasty had now ruled for several centuries but many other states were trying their best to rise above being a feudal domain and become their own kingdoms. One of these states known as Qin finally rose above them all and once it became victorious it unified all of China under one rule for the first time in history.

Qu Yuan served as minister to the Zhou Emperor. As he spent his life fighting against the corruption within the courts he was both loved and feared by the other court officials. Upon Qu Yuan’s advice to avoid conflict with the Qin Kingdom along with his repeated advice aimed at how to deal with political corruption, these same officials pressured the Zhou Emperor whom soon removed him from the courts service and sent him into exile.

During his time in exile, which lasted for many years he traveled far and wide. He taught and wrote poetry and here is how he became Qu Yuan the legend! In 278 BC the capital of Chu was lost to the state of Qin. Upon hearing this Qu Yuan wrote the following poem and in a state of despair he threw himself into the Milou River.

<u>His last poem reads: </u>

Many a heavy sigh I have in my despair, Grieving that I was born in such an unlucky time. I yoked a team of jade dragons to a phoenix chariot, And waited for the wind to come, to sour up on my journey

Qu Yuan was adored by the common peoples whom then rushed to the river and on long boats they beat drums to scare the fish away. They then began throwing Zong Zi into the river to feed both Qu Yuan and the fish to stop them eating his body.

For many years after this, local peoples would row their boats down their local river and throw sections of bamboo filled with rice into the water as an offering to Qu Yuan. Now the traditional food known as Zing Zi is thrown into the water as an offering to him.

<u>The Modern Dragon Boat Festival</u>

From that time until the present, people have continued to celebrate Qu Yuan’s death by way of the Dragon Boat Festival where they have Dragon Boat Races, eat Zong Zi and do many other fun filled activities.

The Dragon Boats bring huge crowds to the river sides where they sit to watch brightly coloured boats race each other down the river. The boats themselves can be anywhere from forty to one hundred feet in length. Their front is shaped like a dragons open mouth and the rear is shaped as a dragon’s tail. An unbelievable eighty rowers can power them as they race other Dragon Boats to grab the flag at the end of a water course. Along with the rowers there is also the flag catcher and a drummer. Prior to entering the race the Dragon Boats must be brought to life by way of a sacred ceremony when the Dragon Boat receives its eyes

<u>Zong Zi (pyramid-shaped dumplings)</u>

Some say that there is another part to the legend. Some say that someone met Qu Yuan’s spirit on the same river bank. Qu Yuan supposedly told this person that all the food offered to him had been eaten by a dragon. Qu Yuan then told him that dragons fear bamboo leaves and &#8216;five-coloured’ thread. Therefore people began making the traditional food known as Zong Zi.

Zong Zi is glutinous/sticky rice with a small filling of pork, beef or something sweet. It is shaped into a pyramid and wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. It was traditionally held together with &#8216;five-coloured’ thread but now many people use normal thread of strips of dried bamboo leaves.

<u>Talisman and Charms</u>

As the Dragon Boat Festival is held at the beginning of summer, people also wear talismans to fend of evil spirits whom supposedly bring diseases. People also place a picture of Zhong Kui at the door of their home as he is the guardian against evil spirits.

Adults can drink Xiong Huang Wine and children can carry silk pouches filled with fragrance to ward off evil spirits. Some also believe that if you can balance a raw egg on its end at exactly mid day, the rest of the year you will be very lucky!

Unlike Moon Cakes I actually love Zong Zi. Some foreigners say they are too bland but many like me really like their taste. How sticky are they? If a plane wing falls off in mid flight and if someone had Zong Zi onboard you could pretty much stick the wing back on and it would stay until something more appropriate could be used.

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A


Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

Dragon Boat Festival &#38;amp; Village Ding &#38;amp; Plank Road A

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

Hanzhongs Not So Exciting City Sites Adventure 1

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

For those who are planning on a Hanzhong Adventure I have created two pages full of things that aren’t so exciting to visit in and around the city. Though the city has a huge history (it is from this city that the Han Chinese gets their name) there really is not a lot to do in the actual city itself but there are several rather dull sites to find if you grab your bike and spend a few hours searching.

Always remember, though the 'sites’ maybe dull it is what you find and experience between Point A and Point B that is of actual value.

If you are a bike rider like me (or love long walks) then Hanzhong is not a bad place live and teach as the city is surrounded by fields scattered with small villages where a few decent bike rides can be found. All you need is a set of peddles and adventurous spirit to make your time worthwhile. It is also impossible to get lost as the city sits in a huge basin and everything is flat so all you need to do is simply head back the way you came.

<u>Here is my first list of &#8216;Not So Exciting Things to See & Do’ in and around Hanzhong city.</u>

This though is my personal view and after spending five and a half years living and travelling north, south, east and west in China I think it is pointless telling you that what I see here in this city is going to be completely different to any visitor new or otherwise. This is my blog though and one day when I am old and more silly than now I want to even remember the parts of China that didn’t really appeal to me.

Along with those that blew my mind.

<u>Xingyuan Lake Park</u>

Found around three kilometers north of the city along busy Tianhan Avenue is this not so nice puddle. Brad and I had noticed it on several of the city’s &#8216;Brown Tourist Signs’ so we were actually pretty excited as we made our way north towards what was to be our first city site (beginning of March 2010).

After we entered our excitement was more than squashed!

I think the entry fee was three Yuan and I can tell you that three Yuan is three Yuan too much to visit this lake park. Instead the government should be paying anyone who enters the park three Yuan. Besides Mahjong Tables and a very unsafe looking Ride Park there really isn’t anything to see or do there. The grounds are full of weeds, the lake itself had several &#8216;dead’ things floating in it and I am more than sure that a maintenance man hasn’t stepped foot within the grounds for the past several decades.

Sadly there is also a small zoo located within the park which from memory costs a further five Yuan to enter but we couldn’t bring ourselves to actually walk through the gate to view animals trapped in their tiny concrete cages where they will stay for the rest of their uncomfortable lives.

Why do the photo’s look like it is a nice place to visit? Because I bet Brad that I could actually make it look worthy of its three Yuan entry fee.

<u>The Horse Drinking Pool/Pond</u>

The walk/ride to and from this site is worth more of your time than the actual pool/pond itself. I’m sure it has some historical significance (none of which I could find on the internet) but once you do actually find it you will give it a salute more in thanks for the walk/ride around the small and busy backstreets in which it is situated and to be serious Brad and I actually rode past it several times in our search for it. It wasn’t until we stopped to ask where the Horse Drinking Pool/Pond was that we actually realised that we had shrugged it off hoping to find something a little &#8216;more’.

It is located somewhere near the intersection of Big Dongda Street (East Street) and Beituanjie and Nantuaanjie Streets.

<u>Lotus Park/ Pond (Lianhuachi Park) & The Muslim Quarter</u>

Even though it really isn’t that beautiful this is a little gem to visit when you want to get away from the city noise which is mostly made up of car horns and clothes stores blaring music hoping that it somehow attracts the attention of your wallet. Well my wallet is actually not Chinese so it kind of has the opposite effect on it. Lotus Park is found amongst the tiny back streets just off the small yet vibrant shopping street (Small Dongba Street) that runs parallel east of Tainhan Avenue and is surrounded by Laodong East Road, Beituanjie Street and Big Dongba Street.

If you venture a little further east from the Lotus Park/Pond and cross Beituanjie Street then you will enter the Muslim Quarter of the city where several mosques can be found along with an ancient pagoda in a small Primary School. The tiny lanes in both areas are usually full of locals going about their day and small food eateries can be found hidden and tucked away in any space available so it really isn’t a bad a place to spend some time if you are in the area.

<u>The Ancient City Wall & Tiger Bridge Remains</u>

Believe it or not Hanzhong City was once surrounded by city walls and right next door to the KFC located near the local bus station and opposite Tainhan Square, can be found the Tiger Bridge Remains. This, from what I can gather is where one of the city gates was located and the Tiger Bridge once allowed passage way across the city moat to and from the city.

When I first saw the remains I actually thought it was the entrance to a small temple.

Remains of the &#8216;actual’ city wall can be found south west of the city on the corner of Minzhu and Xihuan Roads. There really isn’t that much to see as what you see in the photos is actually all there is and I doubt that they are actual real remains and that not so long ago they were re-constructed as a historical monument and a hopeful city attraction

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: When I use the current KFC as my city pinpoint I always mention that is across from the Tianhan Square this is because they are now busy building a new KFC in the Ding Ding Shopping Complex a little south of the current KFC. Brad and I have debated whether they will keep the current KFC allowing Hanzhong city to have two KFC’s or simply move it to the new location at Ding Ding. My guess is that they will close the current one so I guess I really should be using Tainhan Square as the main pinpoint but as I’ve already written the blog I think I’ll just leave it as is. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Great White. The album was &#8216;Twice Shy. Fireworks anyone? ____________________________________________________________

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond


City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond


City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond


City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond


City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond

City Lotus Park &#38;amp; Pond


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains

The Ancient City Wall &#38;amp; Tiger Bridge Remains


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


The Horse Drinking Pool

The Horse Drinking Pool


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park


Xingyuan Lake Park

Xingyuan Lake Park

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