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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Today had been absolutely incredible. I am actually
farley exhausted as I have been going all day, and I
have not went all day in a very long time. I woke up
really early this morning as I have for the last week,
and I do not know why. I went back to bed and did not
rise until 7:30. At that time, I read the news then
took a kick as hot shower which made me feel ready to
face the world. I then went out and bought six Asian
biscuits from a street vendor for myself and my
students. I walked down to the gates of the campus and
met them then we hopped on the number 10 bus which
drove us to the Pule Temple. We could not find the
trail to take us to the huge rock monolith, so we had
to ask around. They pointed us in the direction. We
found the entrance and paid 20 Yuan to get in. We
talked and walked the trails. They were very steep and
tireing, but the view was amazing. You could see the
mountains for a long distance. The pear trees were in
bloom as well, and their blooms were the most
beautiful colors of pink and white that I have seen.
We walked for about an hour when we reached the top of
one of the Mountain peaks. On the top of this peak is
a huge rock which looks like a huge toad from a
distance. We went up to examine it, and there were
caves in it that led to the other side of the rock. We
put some sticks in the holes for luck then climbed
through the very tight caves. We had to scoot along
out backs while we dragged out packs behind us. When
we got to the other side the cave opened up to another
entrance which led to a huge drop of several hundred
feet down the side of the mountain. We sat there and
admired the view for a very long time. There were lady
bugs everywhere in the cave. It was so amazing and
very cool. We then slid through a few more tight
natural tunnels and got to the other side and
continued along our journey. It was so cool. As we
were leaving, many people climbed to the top of the
toad. All I have to say is that they were crazy as
hell. There was no trail, and you literally have to
scale a steep cliff to get to the top. I really
thought that some of the kids were going to fall to
their deaths, but they did not. We then walked to the
huge stone Monolith. The trip down the stares was not
bad, but the trip up the side of the monolith was
exhausting. So many stares. By the time that we
reached the top, all of my students were exhausted. We
rested in the shade of the stone. Now, I can not
describe the size of this single standing stone. It is
at least as tall as the Eiffel Tower, maybe even
higher. It was soo nice up there, but the chains which
were supposed to protect you went to my knee caps if
that. It is more like to trip you than hold you back.
We rested and ate some breads, chocolates, and fruits.
They were delicious. We then decided to start back. I
bought a lot of traditional folk crafts from vendors
along the way. My girls helped me get some great
prices. I have so many traditional ornaments made out
of straw right now. My students bought me some
necklaces, cut Chinese paper, and a medal. I bought
them straw ornaments which they liked. We then headed
back which was beautiful. However, at some point in
time, we ended up making a wrong turn and ended up on
the wrong trail. I did not mind. They kept telling me
that it was the right one, but I have hiked enough to
know that it was not the same trail which I had come
in on. We kept hiking then we reached a cliff. I was
ready to turn back, but one of my students found a
narrow trail along the ridge. I did not want to see
them kill themselves, so I followed them. We got on a
larger trail again and walked though the beautiful
mountains. We then reached another cliff. At this
point, I was ready to turn back. The trails were very
narrow, and you could not get sure footing because
there were so many pebbles, so all of us kept sliding,
but we pressed forward. They found another trail along
a ride which was actually scary as hell. We followed
the trail to the bottom of the valley, and finally
reached a flat plateau at the bottom. It was so
strange looking and mysterious. It had one of those
errie and mysterious feelings to it. It looked as if
no one had been there for years. It was so beautiful.
We walked along a small stream where water was seeping
out of the rock from a finger springs. The grass was
very high and yellow. It looked like straw. It looked
like a narrow prarie between two towering mountains.
There were also huge stone fences further up the
trail. I was really wondering if we were going to make
it out of there alive. We then passed two graves, so I
was not too worried, except I was a little nervous
because I knew that there is a restricted area nearby
that belongs to the army, and I did not want to get
arrested. We walked until finally we reached this huge
dam, and I thought well that was unexpected. We
climbed up the top, and what do you know. There was a
village on the other side of it. It just popped up out
of no where. All of the people kept staring at me, and
I thought I am probably the first white man to visit
this village. Out of our luck, there was a 119 bus
sitting down the street, so we ran and caught it back
to the city. It was the craziest damn thing that I
have ever seen in my life. We came to my apartment and
unloaded our loot then I treated them to lunch. I had
my two favorite dished plus a traditional American
favorite. I choose a beef dish. Another student chose
eggplant, one chose a carrot, cucumber, and some form
of seed dish which was great, and the final girl chose
sweet and sour pork. It was so good. I have not had it
since I have been here, and it was the best that I
have had. We came back to my apartment and talked,
then I had to go judge an English competition. I got
lost since they moved the venue, but they found me,
and I listed to twenty three people give their
speeches. It was intresting. My students are all very
Eager and intelligent. I was then invited to a dance
this evening. I left there and went to the grocery
store and stocked up on some groceries. I also bought
some Cadbery Chocolate for Easter. Came home and
unloaded it then went for a walk and enjoyed the
weather. God it felt so good, and the city was alive
with people. They were out everywhere. It was so
vibrant. I ate my favorite French braid bread and
walked all over. I then decided to go meet my students
at the Canteen in order to do some dancing. My
students found me, and all that I can say is that
Asian girls can dance. They worked my ass off. They
had me doing to the Chacha cha, the meringue, and all
kinds of dances that I do not even know what to call.
They were great. We had a blast. Unfortunately, since
I can not dance, I ended up drop kicking one of my
students in the head on accident. It was really
horrible, but she was all right. We dance some more,
but she kept her distance. I had so much fun, and we
had a blast. I have not dance in so long. They have
taken traditional dances and put them all to modern
Chinese and English Music. It was great. My students
are really good to. I was so impressed. I then came
home, and got a call from one of my students who is
going to teach my how to make Chinese Dumplings
tomorrow morning. I am so excited. It should be an
intresting day. Until next time, I hope that all is
going well with you.
Christopher

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