<u> Below the photos of the temple can be found an explanation of National Day and how it came to be.[/i] </u></b> Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, So National Week is here and almost over. (National Day was on 1st October) (This was written on 5th October) Where am I? Where have I been? Am I still there? Where is my pack? Did I go to Xi'an to see Luo Wei? Sadly for us both the answer is no. My pack is still packed away and I'm still in Shaowu. Why? Money, money, money along with flight schedules from Wuyi Shan to Xian. I couldn't leave until Tuesday evening and I had to return Saturday evening. Yes that is four days but the amount it was going to cost was mort than I can afford right now. If it was next month of course I could have but due to my computer and the summers 'Beers Noodles & Temples' adventure I'm still pretty much skimpt! Maybe skimpt but still happy! The weather has been absolutely perfect for bike riding! So, National Week so far, I really haven't been up to much. Ting Ting came for a visit on Monday and we headed across to her old bar to meet some friends and so she could chat to her old boss. He wants her to come back to work. I'm unsure of the outcome but time will tell. I hope she comes back. The place certainly hasn't been the same since she went away. Each time she returns the bar lights up and things just seem happier. The night ended up being a huge one as Tings friend will soon be moving to Singapore. He is the local Tattooist and he'll be joining his wife and son whom have already moved. The night turned into a Good Bye party and 4am found us still together at a sea food eatery munching on salty delights over cold beer. Wednesday the school put on an outing for us and a few other Chinese English Teachers from different schools in the area. It really did turn into a fantastic day. There were the Canadians (Jo & Rob) and of course myself. In the group photos below you may have a hard time figuring out who they are. Rob and Jo are the ones who don't look Chinese! Ha Ha Ha! Just playing! There was also my beautiful friend Grace who teachers at Robs school (in the white skirt). She is so much fun and has the energy of a teenager. Her love of and eagerness to learn more and more English is unrivalled by any one else I know. There was also Sally whom I hadn't met before that day. She teaches at the cities No: 1 Middle School. She was a heap of fun to be around and has the sexiest smile! She's dressed in the white pants. The younger girl is Jessie. Her father is very high up in the government and she's a very smart person! There were other teachers from my school but I can never remember their names as I only really see them at some of the dinners. The tall guy in the white shirt is the famous Mr Doo. This guy is very famous in Shaowu City. He's been around for along time and knows just about every one there is to know to make sure life is sweet for my school. Let's not even go into how much beer the man can consume at a huge dinner! He's a bloody champion! The temple was about an hour and a half away out in the mountains. Though it was small it is the largest working temple in the Shaowu area. There is a very VERY famous monk who lives there and people supposedly come from all over Asia to talk to him. At the cost of 100 Yuan just to sit and talk to him we decided to simply wave and smile. There is a track at the temples rear that takes you to several pagodas that have been donated by wealthy business men from different countries. They supposedly came into a lot of 'very good luck' after simply talking to the monk. At the end of the track there are several large trees that are over one thousand years old. Imagine the stories they could tell! On the way home we dropped into a very small town for a local feast. It was delicious and along with the many 'normal' dishes came mud eel which lives in the mud beneath the rice fields. Very tasty indeed but most wouldn't even touch it. Last night I introduced Rob and Jo to 'Soup on a stick' which is a roadside eatery where I eat several times a week. One of the cities main intersections turns into a bbq/soup area after dark and here can be found very delicious treats. My favourite is the 'Soup on a stick'. Sounds silly and your right, it is a silly name! ha ha! I think it was Alexa who named it so you can blame her! What it is is a place where you choose what you want in your soup. Everything comes on a stick, you choose what ever and how many sticks you want and then choose your noodles and wallah, and soon you have a tasty soup before you. What comes on the sticks? Things like four small eggs on one stick, different types of tofu, different meats, and different veggies along with assorted mushrooms, fungus and seaweeds. After dinner we then headed back to my place for a few beers so Jo could update their Travelpod on my computer. While she worked Rob and I drank beer and watched 'Biffs, Bumps & Brawlers' which is a double DVD of all the rough and tough stuff from the last few decades of Australian Football. I couldn't stop laughing when he told me how he would explain the game to friends: Hey, I just went to watch a huge brawl where they sometimes played some footy! Not 'always' that bad that but sometimes even worse!
This evening I went to meet a group of friends for what I thought was dinner and then a disco....BUT....it ended up being a disco and then dinner. So the disco was at 9pm and I was out the door by around 9:30pm. Most people really can't comprehend what it's like to live in a place like China and how people stare at you from the time you leave your front door to the time you return. Going to the supermarket is sometimes too much and on more than one occassion I've simple put my full basket down and gone home due to the amount of people staring and following me around the isles.
Many Foreign Teachers end up leaving China and going home because of this very thing.
I won't even try to explain what it's like. And some beautiful girls complain about the fact that a few guys stare at them. Seriously, they have no freakin idea about what it's like to be stared at. I have people running from the back of a store to the pavement just to stare.
So try going to a Chinese Disco at 9pm, completely sober with only about twenty people on the dance floor. Sadly, my friends cousins parents own the disco and the building it's in (that sounds like a line from Ferris Bullers Day Off). A huge table full of food and beer provided for free but dancing was the priority.
I was out the door in a flash mate! So that pretty much tells you what I have done for National Week this year. Millions and millions of people all travelling together on the same holiday all fighting for accommodation, bus and train tickets and space to walk in between. I chose the rice fields as it is autumn and autumn means only one thing; It's harvest time! I'll post a separate entry along with photos of the beautiful farmers and their fields next! <u> Below the photos of the temple can be found an explanation of National Day and how it came to be.[/i] </u></b> Beers N Noodles toya......shane ___________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was 'Café Del Mar' The album was 'Volumen Seis' Beautiful!
<u>Commemorates the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. </u></b> OK, let's go back before 1949, the Long March had finished, the Japanese had invaded and by this time Mao Zedong was established as the leader of the Chinese Communist movement. Yes people, the man who would become Chairman Mao one day said, 'HHHmmm, I wouldn't mind being Chairman for awhile!' So the big feller stood up on the 1st of October 1949 and said 'Hey Man, I've got an idea, let's become the People's Republic of China and I'll be Chairman!' So began the huge Communist Movement at the beginnings of the Peoples Republic of China. When the big change occurred all the other big guys fled the country with all its wealth leaving Mao Zedong to become Chairman Mao. A massive change soon swept the country. They began land reform by giving back the land to the peasants (how sweet), women were recognized, inflation was grabbed by the butt and the big 'Five Year Plan' was introduced. All seemed pretty good for most during those first five or so years. People were put into their Work Units, the country was divided into twenty one provinces, five Autonomous Regions and two municipalities being Beijing and Shanghai, there was food, everyone was in a big warm happy snuggle. Once the Great Leap Forward kicked in China was not heard of for a long time. Within its walls strange things were happening. Big people became little, famous people disappeared, special universities were opened, society was changed, people were sent to agricultural communes, blast furnaces were created, people were too busy melting spoons and woks and no one was tending to the crops, famine hit, many people died and Mao said good by to his job as the head of state. Of course he was still Chairman of the Communist Party though! Then came the writings of Chairman Mao, bounded together in the 'Little Red Book' in kicked The Cultural Revolution. Thoughts were thrown around and implemented, posters put up, families were split, romance really sucked, the Red Guards began their destruction, smart people disappeared, special things and places such as art and temples were torched and destroyed. Basically anything 'old' was not allowed eg: old customs, thinking and culture and due to clothing codes and in came the famous Chairman Mao suit! After the big guy died in 76 Deng Xiaoping returned and soon thoughts of modernisation were thrown around. They were tossed here and there and finally the 'Four Modernisations' program was released. The new big guy had thought of things like agriculture, industry, science and defence and said 'hey, we are nearing five thousand years old as a people but where are we globally? The one child policy was enforced to slow down the population growth, farmers were given permission to sell surpluses on the market, political reform grew, religions were tolerated and Hong Kong was given back to China. Soon Shane entered China, left China, went home for a spell and thought to himself, 'Hey Man, I think it's time to get me one of those Chairman Mao suites, I'm heading back to China for awhile. In his wake schools have flourished and new brewery's opened