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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Here is the last of my stories. At least, until I get some more. I am going to do the exercise again. Oh well, enjoy the reads.

Christopher

Chinese Valentine's Day:

On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the Chinese celebrate Valentines Day. Once Upon a Time, To the west of Nan Yang City lay a village named Niujiazhaung. (Niu is a family name). In the village, there was a boy called Ling Er, who was clever, honest, and industrious. Unfortunately, his parents passed away when he was a child. He had no choice but to live together with his eldest brother, who had got married. His Sister-in Law was very mean to him, and his life was full of abuse. It was a cold Autumn day that Ling Er was forced to leave his home forever as he was old enough to live on his own. Now, Ling Er had nothing but an old Ox. From then on, Ling Er worked in the field during the day time and slept
next to the Ox at night. The villagers gave him a nick name- "Niu Lang" (Ox Boy). One day, Niu Lang was hoeing the soil when a soft voile dress was blown in his face. He felt amazed. The Old Ox spoke to him. Niu Land, do you know that the King of God's has seven daughters? They are all fairies, and the youngest of them, called Zhi Nu (Weaving Lady) has the warmest heart and the most dexteriuos hands. A smile emerged on his face. Now she is swimming in the river nearby, and the voile dress is hers. Come on! Go to return her the dress and she'll marry to you," The Ox added. Formerly, the Ox was a God on the paradise. In order to make people on the Earth lead a better life, he dropped a lot of seeds on the Earth However, this was forbidden for Gods. He was punished by the King of the Gods on the Paradise and became an Ox on Earth. Just like what the O.X had said, Zhi Nu (Weaving Girl) and Niu Land saw each other and fell in love. They were married soon afterwards. With the news of their wedding, villagers came to send them their regards. Zhi Nu gave the villagers a lot of silkworms and taught them how to keep them., how to make silk, and how to make beautiful cloth. In two years, every woman had acquired the skills. The villagers life got better and better. After the wedding, Niu Lang cultivated plants on the farm and Zhi Nu wove happily on the loom. Zhi Nu gave birth to a son and a daughter. The family led a peaceful and happy life. Later, the King noticed that his daughter had been missing for several days. (In the paradise: one day is equal to one year on Earth everyone knew this except me). He asked around his
daughters and found out that she had stayed on Earth and married a young ugly Ox boy. The King sent the queen to capture his daughter and brake the couple apart. The queen swept down and took the daughter, and the children ran to the field and told their father. He knew what had happened. Being an average man, Niu Lang could not fly. In order to help his best friend, the Ox told the boy to kill him and take his hide as he could use it to fly with. The boy refused, but the Ox told him that it would be allright, and he could not see a better reason to die for. Niu Lang killed the ox then made a cape out of his hide then flew into the sky with the children. As the couple were about to touch each other, the queen picked out a hairpin from her hair and swayed it. Immediately, a wide river emerged between the couple. Now they could do nothing but look at each other across the river, with tears down their faces. Their faithful love moved the magpies, millions of which flew to the river and made a bridge with their beautiful feathers above the river so that Niu Lang and Zhi Nu could meet on it. At last, the queen was moved by this and she permitted them to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. It was said that from then on when it rained on that day that the rain was the couples tears. That is the origins of the Chinese New Year.

Liang Shan Bo and Zhu Ying Tai: Butterfly Lovers
(This is Apparently the Most Famous Legend in China)

In Ancient China, in a very rich family, the daugters of the families were all called Miss, and they frequently acted as the maids and servants of their families. Most never got a chance to go to school or receive any type of education. However, in one rich family, there was a young girl named Zhu Ying Tai. She was very adventurous and set her mind to the challenge of receiving an education. After great deliberation, Zhu Ying Tai decided that she would dress up as a man and go outside of her home to study in a school. While
studying, Zhu Ying Tai met Liang Shan Bo who was also from a poorer family then hers. They became very good friends, but Liang Shan Bo never knew that his young companion was a girl. As they neared the end of their education, the young girl confessed her secret, and they fell madly in love with each other. After their schooling Zhu Ying Tai went back home and discovered that her father had betrothed her to a man who was from a very rich family. However, she disliked this boy greatly. Liang Shan Bo learned of the news, and he became so depressed and overwhelmed that he died soon afterwards. On Zhu Ying Tai's wedding day, she insisted on wearing white clothes and going to Liang's graveyard. (Chinese People Wear White to Funerals). Near the tomb, Zhu was sorrowful. Suddenly, the sky became dark and violent storms appeared around the girl. Lightning and thunder thrashed in the sky, and a lightning bolt struck the tomb and broke it into pieces. From the gloom came brightness, and the two lovers were changed into two butterflies. They were as inseperable as body and shadow, dancing happily among the flowers. They lived the rest of their lives in happiness with each other.

The Old Man and the Magical Fish:

Long Long Ago in a small village lived an old man and his wife. They were both very poor, and the man supported them by fishing for their dinner. One day while fishing on the river bank, he caught a beautiful and large fish. He was excited as he thought that it would be a wonderful meal. Then with great surprise, the fish spoke to him. The fish asked him to please free him, and after hearing these words, the old man agreed. He spent the rest of the day fishing, but he caught nothing. He went home, and his wife saw him
without any fish, and she started yelling at him. "What have you been doing all day. How are we supposed
to eat." The man told his wife that he had caught a large fish, but he let it go as it spoke to him and asked him to do so. Hearing this, the wife told the old man to go ask the fish for something in return. The man refused, but his wife ranted and raved until he agreed to do so. The next day, the old man went back to the river, and as he approached the river bank, the fish jumped into his net and asked him if there was anything that he needed. The old man told him that he did not want anything, but his wife had sent him, and she thought that you should give us something since we did not have anything. The fish smiled and agreed. He told the man to go home and see his surprise. When he arrived home that evening, he saw his wife in a beautiful dress, and she looked young again. When he approached his wife, she was very happy, but she also acted very selfishly. She grabbed her husband, and she told him that he must go back to the fish. She told her husband that they needed food and servants to serve them food since they were barely living as it was. The old man refused, but once again, the old woman bullied him into it. The next morning, the old man returned to the river, and like the other times, the fish met him and asked him what he needed. The old man told him that he did not need anything, but his wife said that she needed food and servants to help them through the day. The fish agreed, and when he returned home, there was a
great amount of food, and they were being served by two maids. That evening, the woman approached the old man. She told him that he had to go to the fish again and ask for a nicer and larger house. The man refused. He said that he would not return. She became angry and started yelling and hitting her husband until he finally agreed to return. The next morning, he returned to the stream, and the fish greeted him once again. The fish asked if there was anything which he needed, and he said that his wife had sent him to ask for a larger house. The fish thought for a moment, and he said that he would grant him the house, but it would be the last present which he would give. The man returned home, and as the fish had said, his home was twice the size as it had been before. He was very happy, but his wife had wanted more. She told the old man that he had to go back to the fish. She wanted to be the emperor. The man told her that he could not. He was very unhappy as his wife was not happy with everything that he had gotten for her. After a great amount of arguing, the old man agreed to go to the fish. When he returned to the stream, the fish asked him what was wrong. The old man told the fish that his wife now wanted to be the emperor. The fish said that he had done all that he could. The fish thought for awhile then he smiled and said that he would help out the old man. He told the man to return home, and he
would think of something to do. The old man went home, and when he did, he found everything as it had been before. He went in and his wife had returned to her same appearance. He walked into the door, and smiled. He lived in his meager house with his wife for the rest of their lives. They were both happy and content.

A Legend About Chengde. (This is my favorite story as I have seen most of the places in the story.)

I can not ever remember when anyone has ever told me a legend about our city, but I did hear this legend on one occasion. It is said that Chengde was a small village many years ago. A couple who lived on the foot
of the mountain had no child, and they wanted one greatly and prayed everyday to God to have mercy on
them. At last, God was moved, and he accepted their request. He sent one of his followers who was being
punished to help the family. Several months later, a lovely boy was born to the couple. But not long after, an old monk came and told the family that God had sent instructions that the boy must come with him and become a monk or he would die. The parents could not resist this, and they let the monk take their baby. Fortunatly, the monk's temple was not far from their house, and they would go visit the boy everyday. Sixteen years passed very quickly, and the young boy grew into an adult. He was a very good monk. During this time, the old monk reveled that he was sent from heaven as punishment, and it was now time for him to return home. The boy thanked him, and they said goodbye. God sent two Angles to meet the monk. They would be there for three days, and he should meet them at the foot of a mountain.
At this time, life in the man's world had turned miserable. The land had dried and all of the plants had died because of the lack of water. The monk knew that this was because the water dragon had been defeated by the fire dragon. The fire dragon had trapped him in a very deep well. The fire dragon set fire everywhere and gave no water to the land. The old monk was very powerful now as he had been changed into a celestial being. He could not bear these atrocities any longer. He decided that he would fight with the
fire dragon before he left. The fight was very severe, but the monk could not and would not give up. He
wanted to help the people and relieve them of their pain. The fight lasted for three days. During the
struggle, the monk lost his hat, and it blew away with the wind and became to peak of a Mountain called monks hat peak. He then lost his wooden hammer. When it landed on the ground, it became mountain hammer peak. At last, the fire dragon was caught, and the monk tied him up and put him into the same well where the water dragon was and set the water dragon free. However, the water in the well became very hot, and this place became the hot river which is now in the mountain resort. Since the water dragon was free, it started raining again, and everything returned to normal. The monk had set off to look for the two angles, but the gate of heaven was closing when he arrived. The monk sat by the Wulie River as he was tired out. He decided to wait and see if the angles would meet him again. Many years passed, but they never returned. The old Monk then turned into a Mountain as well. It is called Peak of the sitting monk which is just beside the river. You can see all these places today and know of the great deeds of the Monk.

Monday, March 29, 2004

As Promised here are the rest of my stories. I will try to get more, but most of my students did not show
up for this day. They had a large test that they were studeying for.

Supernatural Writing Brush:

Long Long Ago, there was a smart boy named Ma Liang who lived in a tiny village. He liked drawing pictures
very much. But he was so poor that he had not enough money to be able to persure a painting career. In
spite of the fact that he had no teacher or writing brush, he kept drawing on the ground with sticks whenever he was free. Day after day, he never stopped and always practice with his stick. He developed a
wonderful talent for drawing, and he grew into a wonderful artist of sand painting. One day, and old man with a long white beard came up to Ma Liang. He said, Good Boy, I have seen your wonderful paintings, and because of your persistence and talent, I have decided to give you a Magical Paint Brush. Whatever you draw with it, will become real and be part of this world. The old man told him that he could draw anything which he liked, but his only stipulation was that he could not draw for the rich, and you are the only person who can draw with it. Ma Liand accepted the brush then wanted to thank the old man, but when he turned around the old man had disappeared. Ma Liang went to the field, and he saw that farmers
were working very hard. Felling sympathy for them, he drew a cattle to help the men. Just as the old man had said, the cattle became real, and the farmers rejoiced in astonishment. He then drew a pump to help the poor obtain good water. News quickly spread around town of Ma Liang's magical brush, and when the head official heard the news, he had Ma Liang arrested. He ordered the boy to draw him a golden hill, or he would kill him. The official was a very bad man and always oppressed the working people and the poor. After thinking for a very long time, Ma Liang agreed, and he painted the man a Mountain of gold. The first thing which Ma Liang painted was a vast sea around it. When the offical saw this, he shouted where is the golden hill. Ma Liang then painted the hill in the distance. The official got angry, and he ordered the boy to paint him some ships. The boy did as commanded, and immediately the official and his attendant rushed onto the ships and began sailing towards the hill. As they began sailing away, Ma Liang drew a strong wind to slow their progress. Later, he painted a storm. As the storm engulfed the ship, the boat capsized and all of the evil people on board drowned. Because of Ma Liang's wisdom, the poor people in the village lived comfortable lives from that day forward.

The Crow and The Fox:

Long Long Ago, there was a Big Tree. On the tree lived a crow, and under the tree was a cave where a fox
lived. The Fox was very lazy while the crow was industrious. Everyday the crow flew far to search for some food. One day the crow was sitting on a branch, with a pieace of meat in her mouth. Just at the same time, the fox came out of his cave, looked up and saw the crow, especially that piece of meat. He suddenly
felt that his stomach was making noises, for he had not eaten anything for several days. He was eager to
get the meat, but it was a pitty that he could not reach it. He pretended to be very friendly and said, "
Dear Mrs. Crow, How Beautiful You Are. Will You Please Give The Meat To Me? I'm Starving to Death. Show Your Mercy Please! On hearing these words, the crow replied with a negative answer. The crow was going to put the meat into her stomach when she heard: Everyone Says That You Have A Sweat Voice. Would You Like To Sing A Beautiful Song For Me? If Possible I'll Be The Luckiest In The World." As soon as she heard these words, the crow was very very happy. She was about to open her mouth to sing when the meat fell down to the mouth of the fox. The fox was glad and went back to the cave to enjoy the meat. The Crow was very very angry, but it was too late. So before her death, she told her unfortunate experience to her child. The little crow promised that he would never believe the crafty fox. Time flew by, and the little Crow had grown into a magnificent bird. He was now able to find food for himself just like his
mother. One day, he was sitting outside his nest, with a piece of meat in his mouth. Just at that time, the
old fox came out of the cave and looked up and caught sight of the yound crow. He saw the meat and said the same words to the crow, but it did not work. The fox did not loose heart. He thought and thought, then all of a sudden, a good idea occurred to him. He became very angry and shouted at the Crow. "You Bad Crow, You Are The Worst Bird Under The Sun. " "No What You Say Is Nonsense," the Crow interrupted the Fox. But Unfortunatly, the Meat fell down to the mouth of the old Fox again. The Crow had once again been duped by the crafty Fox.

The Old Man and The Monkey:

An old man had a monkey. He was very fond of the monkey. The monkey was very clever. When birds came to the garden, he chased them away. He also helped the old man in many other ways. One of the Monkeys primary responsibilities was to keep flies from his Master's face as the old man napped in his chair during the day. One hot afternoon in the summer, the old man was asleep in his chair. A fly came and sat on the end of the old man's nose. The monkey chased it away. Soon the fly came back and sat on the old man's nose again. The monkey chased it away. This continued for five or six times. The monkey at last became very angry. He jumped up, ran to the garden, and picked up a large stone. The next time that the fly sat on the old man's nose. The Monkey hit it hard with the stone. He killed the fly, but unfortunately, he also broke the old man's nose.

Meng Jiangnu and The Great Wall:

2,000 years ago when Qin Shihuang was building the Great Wall, he called upon a young man named Fan
Xiliang to work on the wall. Fan Xiliang refused, so the Emperor forced him to work on the construction of
the Great Wall even on his wedding day. Before Fan Xiliang went away, his bride, a girl named Meng Jiangnu, took her white jade hairpin and broke it into two halves and gave her husband one half as a token of love. Meng Jiangnu waited for her husband at home for five years but did not hear a word from him. One night, Meng Jiangnu had a bad dream. She dreamed that her husband was constantly yelling: " Cold, cold!" She recalled that her husband was wearing very thin clothes. Very soon, she made some padded clothes and set off alone to look for Xiliang. After walking all the way on foot, crossing mountains and rivers, Meng Jiangnu finally got to the construction site of the Great Wall where she was told that her husband had died and was buried under the Great Wall. Hearing this sad news of the death of her beloved, she sat down at the foot of the Great Wall and started crying. She cried day and night, and her wailing made the wall fall. She finally saw her husband's bones under the wall . This made Qin Shihuang very angry, and he ordered Meng Jiangnu to be punished. When he saw the young lady, however, he was immediately attracted by her beauty. He asked her to marry him. Meng Jiangnu had to agree but asked for a grand funeral for her husband. After the funeral, she and Qin Shihuang went for a trip on the Bohai Sea. How could she marry the tyrant who had killed her husband? She could not, so she jumped into the sea unseen by the guards. Now on the shore of the Bohai Sea, beyond Shanhaiguan Pass there are two black rocky reefs. According to legend, the round one is Meng Jiangnu's tomb and the square one is her tomb tablet. Not far from her tomb, a temple was built on a small hill to commemorate the lady of chastity.

How The Dragon Fly Came to Be:

Long Long Ago, in a small Chinese Village, there lived a young couple who were madly in love with each
other. They spent all of their free time together, and counted the days until they could marry. One afternoon while the yound boy worked in the field, his young bride to be was walking into the city along the
mountain trail when she slipped and fell to the bottom of a ravine. When the girl did not return home that
night, her family sent out a search party for her. After searching high and low, a young boy who was
walking along the same path finally sighted her body. The girl was immediatly brought home, but the local
healers told the family that there was nothing that they could do for her. Week after week, the young girl
remained in a Coma, and during this time, her betroved came to her house to visit her every weekend. Finally, after three months of continued grief, the boy pleaded to God to help the girl. Seeing the young man's devotion, God came down and said that he would revive his love, but in return, the boy would have to go away for three years and hide himself among the insects of the countryside until it was time to return. Wanting to protect the young man, God turned him into a new and mysterious type of insect. He gave him wings and a long tail like a Dragon and told him that he would be protected for as long as he stayed away from his beloved. He then instructed the young man to fly into the woods and not to return for three years. The boy did, and he never returned to the village during this time. When the young girl finally awoke, the villagers rejoiced at the miracle. After waiting for her lover for several days, she searched high and low. Unable to find him, she set out to hunt for him across the countryside. After searching for two years, she returned to her village sad and heart broken. After she returned to her village, another young man came calling for her, she politely turned him down several times in a row. Eventually though, the young man's persistence paid off, and loosing faith in her true love, she agreed to marry the man. They planned the wedding on the third anniversary of her recovery. The entire town showed up for the event, and it was to be a spectacular occasion. On this same day, the young dragonfly returned to his
village to be reunited with his beloved. But to his surprise, he saw her in a beautiful wedding dress, and
he became very frantic. He flew around his dearest love many times and startled the young girl as she had
never seen anything like him. Annoyed by the bug's unwanted attention, she caught him and threw him
outside of the room. She then prepared for her glorious wedding day. Frantic the dragon fly flew around the building over and over again trying to get in to see his beloved. But there was no hope. He peered through a tiny crack in the door and saw how happy she was. As the couple came outside, he saw how
excited that his young love was. Heart Broken, he left the village and went to a nearby branch and cried in
grief. At that moment, God came down to transform the young man back into a human. But after seeing how happy his love had been, the young man told God that he did not want to be changed back into a man. He thought that it would upset the girl, and she would be miserable for the rest of her life. He told God to allow him to maintain his present form and to protect him for the rest of his life. God agreed, and then he created several more insects for the man to live with. Giving them wings and a long tail like a Dragon, the insects flew off together into the forest. And that is how the Dragon Fly Came to Be.

A Slap in the Sand and a Stone In the Water.

I was told this story on my hike across the ridge top as the scenery was very desert like. Long Long Ago,
Two very good friends became lost I the desert together. As they wondered through thesand, they thought that they would surely die. After days of walking, one of the friends became frustrated with the
other man as he thought that he was leading him in the wrong direction. They got into a fierce argument, and the man slapped his companion. Shocked, the man remained silent and did not speak to his friend for
the rest of the day. That afternoon, when they were both resting, the man took out a stick and wrote I the sand. On this day, my best friend slapped me in the face. Embarased, the man apologized, and his friend forgave him. The next day, the two companions began their journey again. After walking for half a day, they came upon an Oasis. Delighted, they ran towards the water. Wanting to make up for his mistake, the man whom had slapped his companion, let his friend go into the water first. Unbenonced to him. The water was very deep, and the man fell in and began to drown. Seeing this, the man jumped into the water and saved his friend. That night as they sat around the fire, the man took out a piece of stone and carved in it that today my best friend saved my life. When his friend saw this, he asked his companion why he did not write it into the sand like last time. The man looked at him and said that when a Friend mistreats you, you make your feeling know by writing in the sand. However, your state of anger is not permanent for just as sand, the bad deed will blow away from your memory. However, when a friend does something good for you, it is something that should be written down permanently for everyone to see as it will always stay with you in your mind. With these words, the friends smiled at each other and went to sleep.

The Fat and the Skinny Brother:

Long Long Ago, In a small village, there lived an old man who had two sons whom he worked on his farm with. One of the sons was very industrious and skinny, while the other son was lazy and fat. The old man enjoyed living with his two sons, but he had grown very old and weary. The man eventually passed away, and he left his estate to his two sons. To, the skinny son he left a small plot of land plus his got, chicken, and cow. To his fat son, he left another plot of land plus his oxen. Both of the men were happy, but the lazy brother did not like to work in the field. He sold his oxen and used the money to live off of. The skinny brother used his three animals wisely and had eeked out a meager but rewarding existence for himself. A year or so passed, and the two brothers had not talked with each other. However, on a very warm day, the skinny brother noticed a man walking towards his house. With closer view, he saw that it was his brother. He welcomed his relative with great joy. After the man arrived, they talked and the lazy brother had a curious look on his face. When the skinny brother asked him if there was anything the matter. The fat man opened his mouth and said, I have a plan that will make us both rich. The skinny brothers eyes perked up, and he listened. I think that with both my land and your land, we can grow more crops and produce more food than what we can do on our own. The skinny brother agreed. The fat brother told him that he was not interested in working the land, but he would give him his to use if he got
forty percent of the crop. The other brother thought about it and agree. He then asked the man if he could use his oxen. The fat brother then responded that they had run away. His brother was shocked and asked how he was supposed to manage a farm so large. The man simply told him to use his own animals and strength. The skinny brother said that his animals were not built for such arduous work. The fat brother frowned, and seeing his sadness, the skinny brother said the he would find a way to make due. The fat brother then left and headed out the driveway, and the skinny brother set out to plough his new fields. While his brother slaved away all day, the lazy brother tried to figure out a way in which to increase his fortunes. One afternoon, he came upon one of the old villagers and struck a very good deal with. The fat man promised to sell the old villager his crop for a significant profit. The old man smiled and paid him. He then asked the fat brother whether he thought his sibling could handle such a large farm. The brother said of course. He is a hard worker. With that, the old man went on his way, and the brother went to spend his small fortune. Many weeks had passed, and the skinny brother had worked very hard in his fields along with his animals. He had used his milk cow to plow the field. Unfortunately, she would no long produce mild, so he now got it from the goat. All the animals worked very hard, but the skinny man worked his beloved cow too hard, and on a hot summer afternoon the poor animal feel down and died. In great guilt, he asked god for forgiveness as it was such a horrible plan. He notified his brother of the loss, but the brother was less sympathetic. He told his brother to use the goat. The skinny brother did not want to use the goat as it was his only source of milk, but as he found the work too burdensome. He used the got to help him water the plants. Once again, this was too much for the animal, and he died. In great guilt, he once again asked god for forgiveness. The skinny brother then sent word to his brother that it would be impossible to bring in the crop this year. When the fat brother heard the news, he told his brother that if he died while doing it, it was his responsibility to keep his part of the bargain. With those words, the skinny brother worked day after day in the field doing the painful work. Unfortunately, a great drought hit the area, and all of the water dried up. The fields went dry, and the entire crop was lost. When the fat brother heard the news, he was frightened, He had spent all the money from the old man what would he do. The old man came back to demand his money, but he did not have it to give. The old man then told him that he would have to forfeit the entire farm. He had no choice but to comply. He then went to meet with his brother. His brother was devastated by the loss of the crop, but he said that they could try to do more next year. Until that time, they could live off of the eggs of the chicken. At that moment, the fat brother told him of his deceitful plan and how he had lost the farm. The skinny brother was very saddened, but he forgave his brother. He told his brother that they could live together outside of town with their chicken. The brother having nowhere else to go agreed. Time went by and one evening, the fat brother got very hungry. Seeing the chicken, he could no longer resist the bird. He grabbed a knife and slit the bird's throat then cooked its meat. When the brother awoke to find the chicken missing, he searched high and low to find him. There was no luck. The fat brother spoke not a word. The next morning, the skinny man went out under a tree to pray to go and ask for help. His brother mocked him saying that God would not help him. At that moment, the man stood up, and he head hit a branch.
When it did, some gold fell from the tree. He then shook the tree and much gold fell from its branches.
He gathered it and went to share with his brother. However, when the greedy man saw this, he ran to the
tree and started shaking it. At that moment, rocks fell from its branches and crushed the greedy man. The
skinny brother then took his money and bought back his fathers farm and used the extra money to buy animals. He lived out the rest of his life in happiness working on the farm.

A Friend in Need Is a Friend In Deed:

Long Long Ago, there were two very close friends who swore that they would risk their lives for each other. One day they walked to town together. When they were walking, a big strong bear appeared before the both of them. Seeing the bear's size, one of the men knocked his companion down and climbed the nearest tree. The other friend had no choice but to lie down and pretend to be dead. The bear walked to him and lowered its head to the man's ear for a few minutes then left. The man in the tree climbed down and asked his friend, "What did the Bear say to you?" The other man looked at his companion and said, "the bear simply told me that a friend in need is a friend indeed."

Loyal and Lost Brother:

Long Long Ago, there lived a man and his two sons in a small village. The old man worked the farm with his
two sons. One of the son's was very loyal, but the other was very adventurous. By the time that the men
had grown up, the adventurous son had left home. He went out and traveled the world and worked in various jobs that he could find. The loyal brother stayed home and helped his father on the farm. He lived a simple life, and he eventually married, but his father moved in with him on the farm. One day, after many many years, the adventurous son felt that it was time to return home and see his family. He walked many miles through numerous forests and villages. When, he returned home, the father saw him and rushed to greet his long lost son. He was greatly joyed and wept with happiness. He sent news around the village that they were going to have a large feat to celebrate his sons return. News quickly spread, and it reached the ears of the brother whom had remained loyal all of these years. When he heard this, he refused to go to the celebration for he could not believe that they would have such a large feast for someone that had abandoned him. Everyone in the village went to the feast. When the father did not see his other son there, he walked to the house and asked why he did not go to the celebration. His son looked at him and said how can you have a celebration for him. I have lived here all of my life and worked for you. You never had a celebration for me. The father look at his child and said "all that I own is yours. I love you greatly, but our dear boy had returned to us from what we thought was death. Surely, this is something to celebrate. Hearing these words, the son sobbed then he joined his father and brother at the celebration. It was one of the greatest feats of their lives.

Mulan or Li Ping:

During the reign of Emperor .., A decree was issued for every family to send their sons into the army to help protect the country. In the Li family, they had no son's, so the father was expected to join the army. The only problem is that the father was very old and could not fight. With the threat of being thrown in prision, the man's daughter took his place and dress as a male soldier. The young woman became one of the great soldiers of the King's army. Because of his bravery and skill, the King wanted Li Ping to marry his daughter. Li Ping was introduced to the girl but did not know what to do as they could never be marries. After meeting the Princess, Li Ping eventually told her the truth that he was actually a girl, and they could not worry. Honored by Li Ping's bravery, the princess did not want her new friend to die, so she told the Empress of the younf girl's plight. Hearing the story, the Empress thought that it was very courageous and honerables. She told the King, and the young girl was honored then allowed to return to her family.

How the Peacock got its feathers,

One day God decided that he would allow all the animals to change their appearance if they wanted to. He first went to the dog and asked him if their was anything that he wanted to change about himself. The
dog smiled and said no. I like my appearance, and I am very happy with myself. Maybe, you should ask the
Monkey. He has that tiny head and ugle long tail. God then went to the Monkey and asked him the same
question. The Monkey smiled and replied. No, there is nothing that I would change about myself. I am very
happy, maybe you should go ask the horse. He had such a long snout and the ugly haity tail. God went to the horse and asked him the same question. The horse replied no as he thought that he was a very handsome animal, he told god to go see the elephant, The elephant is very ugly and had that long nose , big body, and tiney tail. He went and saw the elephant and asked him the same questio, but once again he got a negative answer. God asked all of the animals in the land if they would want to change anything about themselves, and they all replied no then sent him to someone else. Now it came to happen that the last animal which he came up was the peacock. During this time, the peacock was a very ugly bird that had no feathers and could not fly. When God reached the Peacock and asked him the same question, the peacock looked down at the ground and replied yes that he would love for god to change his appearance. He said that all of the other animals are so much more beautiful that he was, and he wanted to be proud of
himself. Hearing these words, God asked him what he would like. The peacock simply looked at God and said whatever you think is best. God smiles then created the most beautiful arrey of feathers of every
imaginable color. He then places them upon the peacock and asked him if he liked them. The peacock smiled and said yes. When all of the other animals saw him, he was the envy of every single one. I was then told that it pays to be modest.

The King's Liason:

One time long long ago in the kings court, there lived a beautiful young lady whom was the envy of all the
other girls. She was very beautiful and had the most lovely face that the King had ever seen. The King had
planned on asking the girl to marrying him. Hearing of this, all of the other girls became very jellous, but
their was nothing that could be done. The young girl's best friend made an arrangement for she and the king to meet. The met and had a wonderful time. The next morning. The best friend told the young girl that the king thought that she had a very ugly nose, and she should try to cover it the next time that they were together. She agreed, and the girl planned another meeting for the two. The met and had a wonderful time. The next morning the King called the best friend to his throne and told her that he really liked the young girl but did not understand why she kept covering her nose. The young woman looked at the king and said " it is because she thinks that you stink." Hearing this, the King proclaimed "that audacious slut." I will fix her. The king ordered the girls nose chopped off. The best friend married the king and became the queen. She kept the girl on as her servant, and the young lady was never any the wiser. She always believed that the king had disliked her nose.

Once upon a time, there lived a pig, a hen ,and a bird living in a small home on the side of the mountain. A
fox had came to know of the three animals, and he frequently thought of devouring them for his dinner.
One day, the fox encountered a large wolf who was very very hungry. The wolf intended to eat the fix, but the sly fox told the wolf that he had not enough meat on his bones, but if he could hold out for a little
while, he would take them to a place where the wolf could enjoy a very large meal. After awhile the wolf
agreed, and the started on their way. Before they arrived to the house, the bird spotted the pair and
flew home and informed the others. The locked the door and prepared well to fight their attackers. At first, the fox knocked heavily at the door but there was no reaction. Then, the wolf discovered a narrow passage with access to the house. He put his paw through the crack and intended to open the door. The hen seeing this, bit the wolfs hand until it bled. The wolf screamed loudly, but the fox didn't frighten. He tried it again, this time, the pig saw the fox, and he lit a fire and put it on the foxed paw. The fox felt the
fire burn his hand, and he screamed in agony. The fox ran off, but the wolf was still hungry. He chased
after the fox, and the animals never seen the pair again. The lived happily ever after.

I must say that it is truly nice to take your clothes to the dry cleaners and have them done for you. I went
to the dry cleaners this morning and dropped off twelve shirts and pants and had them done for seven
dollars. I am sure that this is a little steep, but I did not care as I have no Iron in which to iron them
with. I then went to the grocery store and bought some food supplies. The people there think that I am crazy as I buy fifteen bottles of water every time that I go. I go about every two to three days. They really
just stare when I walk up to the cash register. I bought one of my favorite foods for breakfeast while I
was there. There are these wonderful breaded breads that they bake, and they are lightly sweet when they
are warm, and they are simply fantastic. Everyone bakes them. You can get them everywhere, and I love
them. They are very long like a French braided hair. They are a wonderful flavor. I then came home and put
everything away. At that time, I have Laura my itinerary. She looked a little amazed, but she liked it. I asked her if I could get refunded for my ticket next month for travel money, and she said that she would try. I think that she is going to. I am not going to bail out on her, and I think that she knows that. However, I am not sure if I am going to stay for another semester. I have a lot of thinking to do. The
situation all depends on whether I get into graduate school or not, and I hope that I get in. We talked
then I came home. Now, I did not buy my cakes at the little store for my breakfeat as I wanted to diversify
and try others. I walked all the way across town about an hour walk and went to the large supermarket and picked up five new types. Hopefully, they will be good. I also picked up some cookies that were made out of Pinapple. I really thought that they would be fantastic, but they were just soso. I did pick up some
chocolate marshmallow cookies that are simply to die for. After picking up my food, I then walked by this
ceramic market that was setting up. I figured that it must be a festival. I walked by and looked. They were
taking all of these huge vases out of these layers of hay in which they were stored. There were all shapes
and sizes of vases, plates, and figurines. They were simply stunning. If I could transport them, I would
bring some home with me, but as some of the vases were taller than me, I did not think that this was
feesable. Many of them were delicate and stunning. I left there then caught the bus home as my blister that busted was hurting. I got here and unloaded my loot then headed next door to get some lunch. I decided on the mushrooms and vegetables. It was O.K., but I would have rather had the aubergine. It was mushrooms with spinach, celery, and onions. It did not taste bad, it just was not what I was xpecting. I liked it though. I then came home and prepared my travel plan to XiAn this weekend to go see the Tarracotta warriors. I then went and taught my two classes. It had turned so damn cold outside. I ran back in and go my Parka. I then went and had my class. There is nothing like hearing a bunch of Asian girls singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or London Bridge is Falling Down. We had a lot of fun though. They liked learning all of our Nursery Rhymes. I typed up about sixty and gave them to the class to learn how to say in an effort to work on their pronunciation. It went farley smooth. I am now home and preparing myself for bed. It was an intresting day.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Hello,

I hope that your day went well. Mine was less exciting than yesterday, but it was still good. I woke up and
read the news as is normal with my morning ritual. I have grown very tired of the dreariness of the press.
It is just a little overwhelming to read every morning. I then decided to go out and explore the city. I went to the market and looked around. I love to see all the different fruits and vegetables and all the fast foods and fish and other meats and nuts hanging everywhere. I think that it is very beautiful for some reason. I then came back and decided to eat some lunch as I was very hungry. I splurged and had beef in Oyster sauce. It was 18 Yuan which is a little steep. $2.50, but I was craving some beef at the moment. It was really delicious. It had onions and bell peppers in it, and it was like eating beef tips with rice. Oh how wonderful. I am also at the point now where I simply crave plain rice all the time. I can not eat without it. Most Chinese do not care for it when they go to restaurants as they eat it everyday, but I crave it. I then set out to go Mountain climbing. Now I simply have to state that I know that all countries have a problem with litter, but China has a litter epidemic. The shit is everywhere, and I really want to say. Pick up the fucking garbage because it is polluting everything and it is ugly. Trash is simply everywhere when you leave the main street. It fills up the rivers, canals, ditches, its under people's houses, and blows in the field. I really just want to scream when I see it everywhere. I finally got to the spot where I wanted to go, but I noticed that there had been several landslides recently, and I was not looking to be buried under rock. I went to another trail and hiked up, but then I could not find anymore trails. I eventually found one, but my stomach then started cramping, so I decided to forgo the experience. I went exploring some side streets and picked up several note books in order to get my students to write down as many of their traditional tales as they could think of. Several men stopped me while I was walking. I did not have a jacket on, and I was in short sleeves. This seemed to shock them, but it was rather warm outside. They all rubbed my arms. They then started picking at my hair and laughing. He showed me his arm. It had little hair. I suppose to him I looked like a Grizzly Bear. However, I have very little hair on my arms and what I do have is blond. They joked with me then I went on my way. I returned home and took a nap as I did not feel well then woke up and went out again. My feet were in terrible pain as a blister formed then popped. It was in terrible pain. I walked for about a mile and looked at shops. I went into a music store and became terribly excited when I saw a Chieftans C.D. I looked around then saw two more. I could have jumped for joy. I have been wanting two of them for a long time, but as all of you who are Chieftan Fans know that their C.D.'S are quite expensive. They tend to be between fourteen and eighteen dollars. I was so excited. I bought all three for sixty yuan. This was once again steep, but it was only a little over seven dollars. The music on them is great. I walked some more then decide to catch the bus home as my foot was hurting and my legs have been weak today for some reason. There is really no reason which worries me a little. My feet always hurt, but my legs are extremely strong and can withstand anything. Today, they have just felt like jello.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Today was a lot of fun,

I went with two of my students to the two stone Monoliths on the other side of the Mountains. It is still considered Chengde City, but I went a very long ways to get there, Thirty minutes by bus. It was a little steep to get in. Thirty-Five Yuan. Four Dollars, but it was well worth it. The two natural stone towers are huge. The stand side by side to each other. I am not sure how well my pictures are going to turn out as it was very hazy, but they were amazing. On the tops of the two stone towers were beautiful temples with Buddhas enshrined in them. You used to be able to go to the top, but they tore down the stairs last year when someone stole one of the Buddhas. The police managed to get it back, but they will not let anyone go to the top. I would actually be a little frightened to go to the top. We then walked on a wonderful trail that went around the side of the mountain. They have some temples carved into the side of the Mountain, plus there is a very large Sleeping Buddha on the side of the Mountain in a little niche that they had carved for it. A lot of people put sticks that they found between the cracks around the Buddha for good luck for their families. The higher and the closer that you can get them to the Buddha the better. I put many of the sticks between the cracks. Crack is not the right word. Between two rocks where there was a lip between the two rocks is probably better. We then went around the Mountain, and on the sides of some of the Huge stone formations are huge Chinese characters carved into the faces of the objects. It is something to behold. The mountains reminded me a lot of the mountains out west in Texas and Arizona. The Path was like the one in the Grand Canyon where when you look over the side all that you see is a long drop staring back at you. We saw all sorts of Amazing stone formations and many of them has stories. There was one of two lovers, a turtle, and a frog. We got back to the Pagoda then decided to go around one more time. This time, we saw another trail, but it required us to climb a steep Mountain wall. We could not do it with our packs, so one of the girls stayed with the bags, and the other girl and I climbed up the side and onto the trail. It was awesome. We walked along the ridge of the Mountain, and it was just like it Lord of the Rings where they show you the ridge tops except more desert looking. We walked for a very long time until we reached the highest peak. It was stunning. We could see many stone formations in all direction. We then went down another path. When we did, we saw an amazing monastery carved into the side of the Mountain. It was next to a single stone monolith, and it was incredible. I took several pictures, and we continued along the trail. We then got tired and turned back around. I loved walking along the ridge top of the Mountain. It was just stunning. We went back down and met my other student then went back to the twin Pagoda. I took a few more picture then we went to the Museum. The Museum was quite nice. They had two amazingly preserved Mummies of a prince and princess. They were in glass boxes. The
Mummies were amazingly well preserved. They were not wrapped like Egyptian mummies, but they had a netting around their bodies which worked very effectively. They both wore simple Gold Masks. It was very unique. They also had amazing recreations of the Emperors parade from Beijing to Chengde, and what his palace rooms looked like. I enjoyed the Museum a lot. We then came back to Beijing, and I treated my students to dinner. They took me to a really cool restaurant. It was inside, but they had these huge plastic trees everywhere that were covered in leaves and branches. They looked real and were very life size. Our booths were under the trees, but they were separated by a bamboo trellis. The lights were like stars in the trees. Then at the booth, the benches were huge swings which hung from the tree limbs. There for two people could fit on them, and you could swing while you eat. It was so cool. It would be an interesting idea for an American Restaurant, but I also imagine the insurance being very high for it as Americans are a lot larger than Chinese People, and I am not sure how much weight those swings could hold. It would hold me and an Asian just fine, but I am not sure how to big farm boys would do on it. The food was good, although they ordered another type of nasty jello dish which I simply did not eat. I took a bite and that was enough for me. I did enjoy the Chicken and Potato dishes though. We then went and priced fabric and finally came back and looked at some of my photos. They left, and I am a little tired.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Chinese Folk/Fairy Tales

The Swan Fairies

Long Long Ago, There was a very beautiful lake and a small village was near to it. Many swans lived on and near the lake. Every January 15th, some fairies came to the lake and changed into swans to play in the lake. They sand, danced, and laughed, and their voices were very nice and beautiful. In the Village, there was a man named ArNiu. As he was very, very ugly, no man liked him and no girls loved him. Once ArNiu came to the border of the lake to look for his lost cow. On the say that he went searching for the cow, it just happened to be January 15th. Suddenly, he heard a nice voice. He began to look around but found no man. There were only some swans swimming in the lake. He felt much surprised and trying to get a closer look, he slipped and fell into the lake. ArNiu cried for help as he could not swim, but no one was near to hear him. He became very frightened and thought that he would die. But then, out of no where, he heard the very nice voice again. Not seeing anyone, he struggled to swim and as he grew tired he slipped into the water and became unconscious. Hours later, he came to and found himself lying on the
sandy shore of the lake. Looking around, ArNiu saw no one, and he was confused as to who had rescued him. Seeing only the swans, he thought that they might have been his saviors, but as soon as he went to look for them, they had disappeared. He had heard that some fairies come to Earth and swim as Swans, and he thought that he must have been saved by the Swan Fairies. Excited by the thought, ArNiu rushed back to the village to tell the others. However, when he told the people his story, none of them believed him. They thought that he was crazy and laughed at him. ArNiu insisted that the swam fairies had saved his life, but it was no use. There was no proof to make them believe. Everyday, ArNiu went to the lake searching for the fairies. He shouted at Swans everytime he saw some swimming in the lake. Unfortunately, none of these Swans were fairies. A year passed, and before he knew it, it was once again January 15th. ArNiu went to the border of the lake like he had always done. This time, as he approaches, he hears the nice voice again, and he sees the beautiful swan swimming in the lake. He was so excited that he ran towards the lake crying Swan Fairies, Swan Fairies. Startled by his actions, the fairies refused to move and stood as still as possible. Another towns person who had been near the lake saw ArNiu running and shouting and thought that he had truly gone mad, so he rushed to town. ArNiu stayed at the lake and watched the swans play. At sundown, the swans changed back into fairies. One of them being so moved by ArNiu's persistence and dedication came to him and smiled. She told ArNiu not to be frightened. She said that she was one of the maids of the king of the Fairies, and they came every January 15th to take in the waters of the lake for rejuivination and relaxation. After she told him these words, she flew away and joined her sisters in flight. Excited by the news, ArNiu went back to his villages and told three of the leading male villagers of his discovery. Once again, they all thought that he was mad and insane. ArNiu told them that if they did not believe him then they could join him the next time that they came. A year came and passed, and ArNiu went to the lake like he had done many times before. Only this time, he was being followed by the three men whom he had told to join him. The men followed behind in secret as they planned to end ArNiu's foolishness. Carrying with them their bow and arrows, the men had planned to kill all the swans in order to stop his Madness. The fairies had arrived earlier in the morning, and when ArNiu got there, they were already swimming on the lake. As he began to speak, he noticed that the three men had decided to join him. As he called to the fairies, the men pulled out their bows, and shot all of the swans in the lake killing them instantly. ArNiu was horrified by what the men had done, and he jumped into the lake to help the fairies, but they had already died. Seeing this sight, the men began to make fun of ArNiu and laughed look at the mad man. He thinks he's a toad. He thinks that he can swim. Not being able to swim and in shock by the atrocity, ArNiu screamed into the air then slowly slipped into the water. As his life passed, the water in the lake disappeared and from the center of the lake bed, a huge rock in the shape of a toad appeared. And from that day forth, the lake has been dry, and the stone toad has marked the spot of the great tragedy.

The Rabbit and the Snowman

There was once a young rabbit and her mother who lived happily in the forest. One day, when the young
rabbit opened the door, she grew excited as the earth wore new clothes made of snow. The rabbit enjoyed the beautiful view and enjoyed the fresh air. That day, the mother would go out, but she did not want her daughter to be left home and alone. At that moment, a good idea flashed over her mother's mind. She would make a snowman to be her daughters companion.With this thought, she rushed outside and began to build a snowman. They used two buttons as its eyes, and a carrot as its nose. At last the young rabbit gave the snowman a soft scarf which the rabbit liked best. After finished the snowman, the mother went on her journey setting her mind at ease. To the young girls surprise, the snowman came alive. She could not speak, but she was very friendly.The two girls became very good friends, and they went skating together and played together often. Both were very happy and loved one another. One day after a hard days worth of playing the rabbit decided to take a nap. While sleeping, firewood rolled out of the stove and caught the house on fire. Unfortunately, the rabbit was sleeping deeply and did not know this. When the snowman saw smoke rising from the house, she became terribly frightened. She knew that the rabbit was in danger and worried about her greatly. However, she also knew that if she got close to the fire that she would melt. As the smoke thickened, the snowman decided to save her good friend. She ran into the house taking the rabbit into her arms then ran outside very difficultly. She put the rabbit aside, and she began to melt away. After the rabbit woke up, she saw the house on fire and the puddle of water beside her. She knew that the snowman had rescued her and had died in the process. The mother returned home soon that day and discovered the mess. She was very sad but was thankful that her daughter was alive. They evetually found another place to live, but the young rabbit was very sad about the loss of her friend. Seeing her daughter in so much pain, the mother told her that it would be alright. She told her that the snowman was magically and came alive every winter. And, if she could wait until next years snow, the friend would return, and they could play once again.

Why We Live Eighty Years

This is a joke but somehow it all seems to make sense.
On the first day, God created the cow. God said, you must go to the field with the farmer all day long and
suffer under the sun, have calves, and give milk to support the farm. Therefore, I will give you a life span of sixty years. The cow told god that that was kid of a tuff life. You want me to live for sixty years? Cleverly, the cow said, let me do it for twenty years, and I will give you back forty. Hearing this God agreed. On the second day, God created the dog. God told him, that he would sit all day long by the door of his house and bark at anyone who comes in his path. God told him that he would give him a lifespan of twenty years. Hearing this, the dog said that's a long time to be barking. Give me ten years, and I will give you back the other ten. God Agreed. On the third day, God created the Monkey. God told him to entertain people. Do monkey tricks and make them laugh. I'll give you a twenty year life span as well. The monkey said, how boring, Monkey tricks for twenty years! I don't think so. Since the dog gave you back ten, that is what I will give you back too. Once again, God Agreed. On the fourth day, God created man. God said. Eat, Sleep, Play, Have Sex, and Enjoy. Do nothing, just enjoy life, and I will give you twenty years. Man said what. Only Twenty years. No way, I'll tell you what. I'll take my twenty, plus the forty that the cow gave you, the ten of the dog, and the other ten of the monkey. That makes eighty O.K. Upset over man's
greed, God reluctantly agreed. Being very clever, God gave man his eight years. He told man that he would
spend the first twenty years of his life eating, sleeping, playing, having sex, and doing nothing. For the next forty years, man would slave in the sun and support his family. For the next ten years, man would do monkey tricks to help entertain his grandchildren. Finally, he would spend the final ten years of his
life, sitting on the front of his house and barking at everyone that came by.

Why the Bat Sleeps in the Day and Flies in the Night

One day God called upon the bat to help him. He gave him a basket to carry to the moon. The basket was
filled with darkness, but God did not tell him what it was. Instead, he said, take this to the moon. I'll
explain everything when you return. So the bat set off for the moon with the basket on his back. He flew
towards the sky, but the moon saw him and hid behind the clouds. The bat grew tired and stopped for a rest. He sat aside the basket and went to look for something to eat. While he was gone, other animals came along. Dogs and wolves mostly. These animals thought that there might be food in the basket and pried the cover open. But inside there was only darkness which they had never seen before. The dogs and wolves tried to pull it out and play with it, but it slipped between their teeth and slithered off. Just then, the bat returned. He opened the basket and found it empty. The other animals disappeared into the night. The bat flew off to try and recapture the darkness. He could see it everywhere, but he could not fit it into his basket no matter how he tried. Eventually the sun came up, and the darkness disappeared, but it came back every evening when the sun went away. The bat would continuously try to capture the darkness. For this reason, the bat sleeps all day and flies all night. He is trying to put the night back into his basket.

The Chest of Broken Glass

An old man had lived alone ever since his wife died. He had worked hard as a tailor all of his life. But
unfortunately, misfortune had left him penniless. Now, he was so old, he could no longer work for himself.
His hands trembled to much to thread the needle and his vision had blurred too much for him to make a
strait stitch. He had three sons, but they were all grown up and married now. They were so busy with their
own lives, they had not the time for their father. They only had enough time to stop buy and eat dinner
with their father once a week. Gradually, the old man grew more and more feeble, and his sons came to see him less and less. He told himself, "they don't want to be around me now because they are afraid that I will become a burden. The old man stayed up all evening worried what would become of him. Until at last, he thought of a plan. The next morning, the man went to see his friend the carpenter. He asked the man to make a large chest for him. Then, he went to see his friend the locksmith, and asked him to give him an old lock. Finally, he went to see his friend, the glass maker and asked him for all the broken pieces of glass that he had. The old man took the chest home, and filled it to the top with broken glass. He then locked it up tight and put it beneath his kitchen table. The next time that his son's came for dinner. They bumped their feet against the chest. "What is this they asked, and the father replied, Oh Nothing. The son's nudged it and were surprised at how heavy it was. They kicked it and heard a rattling inside. The brothers talked in secret, and they thought that it must be full of gold which the old man had saved over the years. They talked amongst themselves and decided that they needed to guard their fathers treasure. They decided to take turns living with the old man. That way they could look after the gold and help their father too. The first week, the youngest soon moved in with his father and took care of him and cooked for him. The second week, the middle son took his place, and the week afterwards the eldest soon took his turn. This went on for some time. At last the father grew sick and died. The sons gave him a very nice funeral then went back to the house to look for the fortune beneath the table. The three brothers pried open the chest and found only a box full of glass. They looked at each other and understood how foolish they had been to the old man. They closed the box and returned to their own families.

The Casket and the Pearl

A man of the state of Chu went to the state of Zheng to sell his pearls. He had a casket made of wood from the Magnolia tree. He had it scented with cinnamon and pepper, set with jewels, carved in a rose pattern, and in-laid with jade. A man from the state of Zheng bought the casket, but gave back the pearls inside. Thus, we can say that the man from Chu knew how to sell his casket but not how to sell his pearls.

The Wooden Bowl

An old man moved in with his son and daughter-in-law after his wife had died. The couple had a young child the age of four, and they all lived in the house together. In his old age, the old man had developed a
terrible shake. When he ate, he would spill his milk and food on the table cloth, and he would always drop
a dish and break it. After living with his children for over a year, his on lost his temper one night as his farther soiled the table cloth and broke his glass. He screamed and yelled at his father. He told the man that if he could not eat like an adult then he would have to sit in the corner and eat out of a wooden bowl and spoon. From then on, when the family ate, the parents and the baby ate at the table, and the grandfather ate in the corner by himself out of his wooden bowl. This was very humiliating for the grandfather, and he would shed a tear every night while he ate. One afternoon the father came home early from the field. When he came in the door, he saw his young boy playing with some wood in the floor. He looked at his son and asked what are you doing. The little boy smiled and said, I am making something. By this time, the mother had come into the kitchen. When the father asked his son what he was making, the son smiled and said, I am making yours and mom's bowls for when you get older. When the parents heard these words, they looked at each other and began to cry. They knew how horribly they had
treated their father. From then on, the grandfather rejoined them at the dinner table. No matter whether
he spilled or broke any dished, he was always treated kindly and lovingly.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Today my weekly assignment in my classes went from the Brother's Grimm to simply grim in their themes. Most were actually fine and interesting. There were some that were great as my other classes had been. I
especially liked the one about why bats sleep in the day and work at night. It was a creation myth about
the origins of the Night Time. There was also some others that I liked that involved Buddhism. Then there
were the ones that were simply off the wall. The most intriguing was written by one of my students, and it
was about a young girl who fell in love with a boy then one day she saw him kissing another boy. At this
time, I corrected her and said you mean another girl, and she said no he is a homosexual and giggled along with the rest of the class. Noticing the boys homosexuality, she wants to kill herself, so she
catches a ride with a man on a motorcycle to go drown herself in the sea. During this time, they fall in
love, but the girl realized that her family would not accept this rebel boy, so they drive their motorcycle
over the bridge and kill themselves together. This was fine, I thought that it was a little peculiar, but it
was her unique folktale which she made up. I gave my students a break after this one, and the next question out of someone's mouth was can you tell me what 69 means. I simply did not know how to even respond. I asked her what she meant. She said that she had heard it in a movie, and they kept saying it over and over, and she wanted to know what it meant. A little anxious about talking about sex, so I just said that it means something bad and not very good. She smiled and was satisfied with the answer. Most of the other stories were cute, and I have copied them down, but I was happy to finish with my morning class. Coming home, I managed to watch a very bad English movie called Soul Mate. It was about soul music and people falling in love and finding their dreams. It was all a little strangle, and I could not figure out why it was on Chinese T.V. as I had never even heard of it before. I found it strange but enjoyed it as the last movie I watched was the Passions of Christ which my roommate in Beijing bought off the street for a dollar. We watched it on his computer. It was a good Pirated movie except in two parts, you see the shadows of people getting up from their seats to get popcorn. I spent the rest of the day planning my future trips to other areas. My last two classes of the evening were also filled with gloom and doom. Lots of suicidal girls being rescued by friends. Some stories with Communist themes on why work is so joyous, and then their was the all to interesting pro-choice poem which the girl had gotten from her friend and liked a lot. It was being spoken by a fetus to his mother about why she should choose to have him. I thought it was strange but interesting. In addition to this, I have to add that the students have a speaking contest next week for the school. The thing which they have to read is President Bush's inauguration Speech. I thought that it was a little strange. Add to this the creation Myth of Adam and Eve to tonight's stories, and it was like having an Asian Christian Coalition. Actually, it was not bad, it was just interesting. I also learned tonight that apparently, I am a campus sex symbol. Many of the girls told me so. I found this very interesting as I have never been considered a sex symbol before in my life. They think that I am handsome and very cute. Many girls that were not in my class came just to see and hear me. It was a little strange. Several asked me to join them in their apartments. I was not sure how to take that, but I will be avoiding the dorms and apartments of students as I do not want to be put in any misconstrued situation. I think that I am also getting ready to tackle another form of Chinese Media as I was asked by a Reporter today if she could write a story on me. I guess that I can add newspaper to my list of T.V. News and T.V. Advertisement of my celebrity appearances. It is a little strange. I am supposed to go to Twin Pagoda Hill on Saturday with my students. These are actually two stone Monoliths that stick up out of the ground next to one another. We are supposed to pack picnic lunches and hike there. It should be an interesting experience to say the least. Life here can be very strange.

Christopher

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Hello!

Finally got my e-mail fixed yesterday. It sure did take a long time. Laura and I worked on it all day. She finally told the computer technicians to come and fix it, and they did. I had an amazing lunch of chicken with cooked cucumber, heart of palms, and a strange but delicious mushroom. It was absolutely fantastic. My class was very small last night. Most of them were out taking a computer test, but I heard some very
interesting stories. The best was the story of the Chinese Valentines day. It is held on the Seventh Day of the Seventh Lunar Month. It involves a you boy named OX boy and the weaving fairy who was the youngest of God's seven daughters. She was the best weaver in the world. My student is supposed to write and e-mail me the story. It was really amazing. She was very good, she spoke for about twenty minutes. There was another story about the origin of the dragon fly which I like. A young couple was in love then the girl got sick and was in a coma. The boy being in great despair asked God to help the girl. God came down and said that he would revive her, but the boy would have to go away for three years and live as an insect. The boy agreed and God turned him into a dragonfly. The girl was revived, and she waited looked for her lover for several years. During this time, a young boy came calling, and she eventually gave into him figuring out that her love would not return. The dragon fly came back the day that they were to be married, but he could not be human for another year. He flew around the couple very franticly to stop them, but it was no use. They caught him, and not wanting to hurt him since he was so beautiful, the threw him out the door. He flew around the church then found that it was futile. He landed on a tree limb and cried in despair. The next day God arrived and asked him if he wanted to be turned back into a man. Knowing how happy his love was, he thought that it would only hurt her, so he asked God to allow him to remain a Dragonfly. God agreed, and he created several more dragonflies and allowed them to remain on the earth. There was another one about a rock formation in a city with a young girl whose husband died on the great wall. She waited but never heard the news. After waiting for so long, she
turned to stop in despair. There was one more good one about how the peacock got its beautiful feathers.
I will try to write them all down and send them to you.

Christopher

Monday, March 22, 2004

I have been working all morning on trying to get onto the internet. Apparently, they have changed everyone's IP Addresses for some reason, so I got a new one. The only problem is that they gave me someone's old one, and I can not get onto the internet until they change their address. Calling up Laura to get her to help me, she got a little frustrated and said screw it. She gave me her I.P. address, and I can now access the internet. I just have to sign on which does not bother me. The connection seems to be a little faster as well. Yesterday was very tiring. I caught my train home which I had to wake up at 5:00 A.M. to do. Got here and showered then ate my wonderful lunch of Mutton. I almost had cold beef, but the waitress pointed to the top which said cold, so I luckily got a hot place of warm spicy mutton. It was absolutely delicious. If I would have gotten some nasty cold beef at my favorite restaurant, I am not sure what I would have done. Three strikes in a row, and I might have just been out of luck. I was already starving as it was. Luckily, I got this very delicious plate of peppered mutton which was fabulous. I ate it all up along with my bowl of rice. Laura then called, and I had to go to the Police Station withy her. My resident Permit had arrived, and I had to go with her to pick it up. The police office is interesting. There are lots of Hawaii Five O looking detectives working on their computers and talking on the phone. I was a little intimidated though as it was taking so long, but they finished, and I now have two Chinese looking Passport documents. One red the other green. I have to carry both with me at all times just in case I am stopped for inspection. I of course have to have my passport with me at all times which makes for a large cargo of documents which I must carry with me. Leaving her, I went and bought groceries. Came home and ate a pastry as I was still a little hungry. I then went and taught my class. They had to tell me their favorite folktale or childhood stories. It made for an interesting class. One girl told me her version of Mulan which is called Li Ping. Similar to the Disney version except the ending. She takes her fathers place, so he does not have to go to prison. She pretends to be a guardsman, and the King respects her greatly. He thinks so highly of her that he wants her to Marry his daughter. After meeting the daughter, Li Ping tells the girl the truth. Respecting her honesty, the daughter tells the story to the empress, and the empress helps her find amnesty with the king. She can then go home and be with her family. There were some really great stories that I made them give to me, so I could have for my own family one day. There was one about the fairy swans, and a young boy. They only appeared on the fifth of January. Everyone in town thinks that the boy is crazy until he tells them to go look. They follow, and some other men have bows and arrows and kill all the fairies. Horrified by this, the boy jumps into the lake and drowns himself. As a punishment, the lake went dry, and in the spot where they died, a rock in the formation of a toad now stands. There was another story about a king who liked a young princess, and the person who is the go between is jealous, so she makes it where the pretty girl gets her nose chopped off. My favorite was about a little rabbit and a snow man. The little rabbit gets caught in a house which is on fire, so the snowman rescues him but dies in the process. The rabbit cries, but the mom said not too worry for every year the snowman came to visit them at winter time. There were two others about a bear and about the reason why men live to be eighty that I borrowed. I really enjoyed them. I will type them up and send them to you. I have several more classes, so between now and then I may have many more. Oh well, I must go. Your Friend,
Christopher

Sunday, March 21, 2004

i got behind in posting chris's stuff again... sorry - enjoy! ~jane

Hello,

I am a little sore at the Moment. My students complained that I have wore them out this week, but it is they who have made my muscles ache. I guess that I have been playing to hard. I learned a really neat
version of Duck Suck Goose Today. I am not sure that I can explain it in words. Other than people stand in
Pairs around a circle. A person is it then tags one of them. At this point, there is no safe spot for that
person. He simply has to run from the catcher until he tags someone else then they can start running. If the catcher tags someone then they are it. Everyone gets involved and it is very active. They made me sing
today, but I sounded like a Frog since I burnt my throat. I had some amazing aubergine that had a fish
flavor. The only problem is that it burnt the back of my throat. When I ate one that was scorching. It got
caught in the back of my throat and burnt the heck out of me. It was really sore for awhile, but it feels
better now. It has been a beautiful day, but I am getting ready to go to Beijing. I am going to leave
around 6:30 in the morning. Got Paid, so I am off to the Big City to enjoy myself. I am going to try and
develop some of my film. I am very excited about that. I have a living room table covered in souvenirs plus
others stored everywhere else. It is a little crazy. I just keep seeing cheap little souvenirs and pick
something up. It also does not hurt that I am buying for thirty-five people. I am going to have to have a
whole other suitcase to come home with. Or one Big Carry on bag. This and I have not even been to the
majority of my destination yet. I have took the train of thought that I should buy before the Tourist Season Gets here or otherwise I will not be able to Negotiate. I am trying to keep from using my credit
card though, so I have to watch my Money which is not too easy when you travel. I have a lot of money
coming back towards the end of my time here as they refund my ticket, but I do not get it until I
complete my contract. It would be more useful to have now though as I could travel comfortably. Oh well, I
need to get to sleep. The morning comes early.
Christopher

Today has been so freaken crazy. I feel as if I am whipped. I woke up at 5:00 to catch a train which I
missed somehow, so I caught the bus which was hot and crowded. The woman next to me was sick and vomiting, and it was starting to make me nauseous, but luckily she got off early. I end up in Beijing way the hell away from my hotel and have to get a taxi which was very expensive. Only four American dollars, but that is a lot in China. I get here, and they try to overcharge me on the room, but I fixed that problem. I then got to start my day of adventures. I went and had lunch. Egg Plant with potatoes, and a huge egg roll that resembles a borrito. It was delicious but greasy. I then went and dropped off film to be developed. Not sure how much it will cost, but I guess that I will see. Hopefully, not too much. I am trying not to use
my Credit card, so I will see how that works. I then went to one temple. It was alright. I also went to
the Confucius. It had not been restored from the Revolution. It was somber and quiet, but I liked it as
an escape from the loudness of the city. I then caught the subway to the next stop. It was to two temples. The were both very beautiful. I then walked for several hours and found two wonderful parks. The first was an Island in the middle of a lake with a huge and stunning temple complex on it. The other was behind the Forbidden City. It was dusk and all the buildings were colorfully light. I relaxed then caught a Tricycle Ride to the fast food market. There was anything and everything you could imagine. I thought
that the Squid on a stick in Chengde was exotic, but they had starfish, seahorse, scorpion, and silkworms
on a stick, and they were ready to cook them for you. I did taste some starfish. Did not care for it. My
noodles were fantastic as was my banana fried in dough. I ate them up. I then went to a Cathedral and
looked around at stores. I was tired, so I started home. I passed by lots of dancers and Tai Chi people
on the way here. I got here and unloaded. I am now getting ready for bed. Hope all is going well. Talk to
you later,
Christopher

I have walked so much today I feel as if my feet are about to break off. I woke up this morning and washed
up. I then went and picked up my film. It looks pretty good, but it was a little expensive as well. It cost
me sixty dollars for eight rolls which is about normal. I love advantix, but it is expensive. I am glad that I brought a lot of film as they want six dollars a role here. I simply can not pay that. It is the only expensive thing which I have seen here. I went to three temples and a Mosque today. They were all spread out, and I walked to each one. The first had a beautiful Pagoda, but I could not get inside as it was close, so I went through the Market next door. I then went to the Mosque. It was a converted temple. It was alright, but I much preferred the double lime green Mosque down the street. It was simply something to behold. I must say. I went to another Buddhist temple then rested in a couple of parks. I did not eat all day as I had a huge breakfast burrito/eggroll. It was filled with Mutton, and it was absolutely delicious. I gobbled it down. I had peach juice with it. That stuff is like Ambrosia. It is soo good. After resting, I tried to walk, but I could not. I took a Taxi to the next temple which I am glad as I would have never found it. It was the heavenly temple, and it was truly stunning. I loved the two round sanctuaries. My favorite part was all the singing and bands. They were playing on their traditional instruments. It is the first traditional Chinese music that I have heard since I have been here. The rest has been pop or techno infused. My favorite were the crowds of Chinese tourists who were gathered together singing traditional ballads. They were very heanting but stunning. I sat for a long time listening. I eventually left and tried to find my way back to main
street. After walking twenty clocks and getting lost, I caught a cab who dropped me off at the wrong place.
I was a little pissed. I met a Newzelander who showed me the subway near by and caught it to my home. I took a nap for several hours then went and had pork for supper. I am extremely tired and ready for bed. Talk with you tomorrow.
Christopher

Today has been really good, but I am glad that I will be going home tomorrow as I do not think that my feet can take too much more sightseeing, They are very sore, and they have some incredible blisters on the bottoms of my feet. Woke up this morning and went and picked up two more rolls of film. They turned out alright. My night pictures did not really turn out, but I am ok with that. I then picked up an egg
"croissant" for lack of a better word. It was an egg pastry, and it was absolutely delicious. Especially
with my peach juice. I love that stuff. I then headed out to the Drum and Bell Tower to see some of the
sights. The Drum tower was really neat. I arrived just after the hour and got to watch them beating the drums to mark the time. It was really awesome as the rooms are simply filled with these huge bongo looking drums. I then went to the bell tower. It was alright. The steps to bother were extremely steep, and it was a tough climb for my weary legs. I then walked back to the metro and caught it to another temple. This temple was a Taoist Temple, and it was truly one of my most favorite temples that I have been in thus far. It was really neat. In the mail square, there were fifty rooms that surrounded them temple and each room was filled with the main God, and his court. The Gods were all sorts of people and Ghouls. The rooms were dedicated to everything imaginable. They had Mountain, Environmental, Rain, Wind Gods as well as wealth, Plague, Fortune, Pills, Abortion, and really just anything that you could imagine. All of the statues were oversized and very colorful. Then, in the back square they had the folk arts museum, and they had some of the most beautiful pieces of stuff that I have seen in a very long time. I really liked may of the pieces. It made me so happy. I then walked around the temple some more and decided to go to the ancient Observatory. It was a fairly neat Museum of Antique Astronomy Equipment. That was in the shapes of dragons and other things. I liked the exhibits, but it could use a little money for improvement. Leaving there, I decided to go to the silk market. This was a clothing persons paradise. They had jackets, coats, pants, silk scares, shoes, and every kind of clothing related item that you could imagine. I liked it but it was a little crowded. I did not like having to push my way through the crowds. They had a few nice things. I almost considered buying a Chinese Silk Robe for a future solstice, but I decided against it. Maybe when I come back next time. There were some other beautiful silk pieces of Chinese clothing, but I decided that no one would really appreciate them. Maybe, I might pick up something I am not sure. I left there and decided to go get some food. I came back to my street and went to the restaurant with the English Menu. I ordered the Pork and Noodles and was all ready to eat. Then she brings me out this plate of cut up Pork jello. The jello that I have been seeing on the street is actually a noodle. I took one bite and was disgusted. This was not what I expected. I paid the bill grabbed my bag and left. They all looked shocked. I went to the market and got a mutton sandwich and a pastry. The mutton sandwich was just awful, so I ate my pastry. It was very good. I then came back to the hotel and looked at my loot from the weekend. It was a lot of fun, but I am very tired and ready to go to Chengde to recuperate. Until Next time, Christopher

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Wooh Hoo!

I just found out today that we get a seven day vacation the first week of May. I am very excited about this and plan on traveling somewhere, I am just not sure to where I will be going. I must say that I am very excited about it though. They asked if I would teach another two hour class for the teachers. The
will pay me sixty yuan for each hour which I am fine with. They actually wanted it to be on the weekend,
and I simply said no way in hell. I did not use those exact words, but I was very adamant about it. I gave
them two times that they could use for a night class. One of the classes I will read from a textbook and for
the other, I will give them a chance to talk. I am not sure how many people will show up, but as long as I
get paid, I guess that I do not care. I am really happy about my week in May. I am not sure where I am
going to go. I was thinking about the South of China to the Yunnan or Sechwuan Province. They are both
supposed to be very beautiful, and I want to go to these areas greatly. I am getting paid on Thursday, so
I think that I will be going to Beijing again for the weekend to do a little more sightseeing. It rained
this afternoon, and the rain smells so fresh. It is absolutely amazing. God, it felt so good outside. Very
freeing. At the news of getting paid, I went and bought three new C.D.'s. The Cranberries, The Best of
Paul Simon, and Michele Branch. Paid a total of five dollars for all three. I am loving this cheap C.D.
thing. I could really get used to this. My choices were the only interesting English ones that I could find that I would like. This is out of a choice of Celine Dion, Mariah Carry, The Back Street Boys, Will Smith, and J.Lo. I could not go there, so I took the lesser of several evils. Strangely enough, the Michelle Branch C.D. does not sound too bad. If I need another fix, I will try to find some other good titles that simply are not Pop. I am really glad that the Chinese do not like Rock. Rock Albums at least that is what they call them are the cheapest while the pop is ridiculously expensive. Oh well, I need to get ready to go to class. Talk with you later.

Christopher

Monday, March 15, 2004

(sorry, i didn't get a chance to post yesterday's email from Chris.... so today I'm posting yesterday's email, followed by today's. ~jane)

Since I did not get a chance to write last night as I was in extreme pain and exhausted, I will do so this
morning. I woke up this morning and decided to go explore the city. I waited around the hostel to see if
anyone wanted to go, but the girls had already left for Xian. The Japanese girl was all that remained, and
she had a tour guide. Not wanting to interfere with her tour, I decided to go at it on my own. I grabbed
my backpack and started walking toward the metro. Now, I really like Lonely Planet. It is a very good travel
guide, but I must say that the maps in this book are the most deceptive thing that I have ever seen. What
looks to be a short five minute walk is actually a ten city block jaunt across five major intersections.
This did not bother me as I found a supermarket and bought some snacks. I ate along the way. It was a good walk as well. I got into the subway and bought my ticket. Only thirty cents. I then went to Tienamen
Square. I got off and looked around the square and took some pictures. It is very crowded and pretty in
that Communist Cement architecture sort of way. I was then approached by two girls who wanted to show me their art exhibit at the national gallery, so I followed, and they showed me all of their paintings. They were very beautiful. They were inks done on rice paper or silk. They asked me if I wanted to buy and I said no, but I did get them to do a beautiful calligraphy painting for me. It was a little expensive, but it is truly stunning. It is going to be a gift, so I will not say what it is. I left there and walked around Tienamen some more. The square is alright, but I was happy to leave as I kept getting approached by people who wanted to practice their Chinese with me. The first two people were alright. The next ten were just burdensome, but I practice. I then made it to the Forbidden City. Did a quick jaunt as not to be caught by an would be English students. I walked through the first two gates which are spectacular. Between them is a very large bizarre. Quite unique. I then paid to get into the city then the walking began. I can only describe the forbidden city as the louve of the east. Not because, it is loaded full of paintings and stuff, but because it is simply humongous and it is like a maze. You can get lost around every corner. Some of the gardens and architecture are very neat though. I was in there for most of the day then got out and went to a garden next door and relaxed. It was very peaceful and beautiful. I enjoyed it greatly for the serenity. Unlike the city which was packed to the rim with people. I can not imagine what it is like during the summer when the tourists are there. When I got up, I decided that it was time to go home. My legs simply ached at this point. This is saying a lot as well since my legs are very strong. I wal;ked outside, and
it was quite erry. The army had cleared all of the people out of Tiennamen and everything was roped off.
I really felt a little scared although apparently this is how they clear the crowds. All to happy to leave, I
found my way to the subway and rode to my stop. At which point, I had to walk back the ten city blocks. I
got back to the hotel and rested on the sofa. Talk with an Irish theatre guy. He was on a six week tour
across Asia. He was very excited. After recovering, I then went and got dinner. I ate cheap this night. No
duck for me. The worst part about the duck is when they bring you the whole head to eat. The rest is
carved, but they do the duck. The worst thing on the menu that they has was steamed baby sea turtle. I was horrified. Oh well, I went and ate a shredded Asian like barbecue with rice. I was delicious, and I
could not eat all of it. I then went back and packed then simply crashed on my bed. It was a good but
exhausting day. I was in severe pain when I went to sleep, but I am better now. Christopher

Riding back from Beijing yesterday, I was truly extremely exhausted. I have discovered that it is not too easy waking up at 5:00 A.M. I am not sure how my mother does it almost everyday of the week. Except
hers is 2:00 in the morning. She is the hardest working woman that I know, and she constantly amazes me. I do not know where she gets her drive or ambition from. She is a strong will person that is for sure. Unlike her, I am not sure strong willed. As soon as I got in my Taxi, I was ready to go back to bed, but
unfortunately, driving in china tends to scare the hell of of me. Arriving at the train station, I waited in
the corridor where the trains arrive. Avoiding the melted popsicles and spit, I found me a clean seat.
Eventually, the train arrived, and we departed. I was getting ready to lay down and go to sleep then I was
suddenly approached by a man wanting to speak English with me. Wanting to say no, I agreed anyways as I just do not know how to say no to people. Sitting on the railroad car, we talked and got to know each other. He lives right down the street from me. He had recognized me. Apparently, it a town of five hundred thousand, you tend to stand out when you are the only white guy who lives there. We talked and enjoyed ourselves. He is married and has a wife and child. His wife lives in another city though while she is working on her Masters Degree. His mother and father are raising the child until they are both finished with their studies. He only gets to see them about three or four times a year. I am not sure if I could do that. It sounds so heartbreaking. The mother only gets to see her child on the weekends. What must the child think of the situation. It must be extremely hard on him. The man and I talked, and he kept asking me how to say thins and that, and I told him how to say everything. Then before I knew it, our train had arrived, and I was home. We shared a taxi, and the first thing that I did when I got back was take a very long shower. It felt wonderful. I then went and ate lunch then read the news. I then went and taught my two classes. This weeks assignment was two talk about their favorite games and describe to me how to play them. The first class did not go so well. Many of the students forgot to do the assignment, so I went outside and taught them how to play Red Rover, Duck Duck Goose, and Red Light Green Light Yellow Light Go. The did teach me an interesting string game which little girls play which they jump in and out of and do tricks very interesting looking. I tried but could not do all of them. The second class was simply amazing. They really got into the discussion. The showed me many games the best of which was this awesome dance which they do while they sing their childhood kiddy rhymes. There is about six girls, and they put their left leg behind them and hook it up to someone's else's left leg until all of the legs are hooked together where it looks like a circle. They look a lot like a captains wheel. They then jump on one foot around the circle and sing a song. The song gets faster, and they also go faster. It was simply amazing. I was floored. All of the students had a blast, and I enjoyed myself greatly. It made me reflect on my childhood a lot and many of the games that we used to play. Coming home in a good mood, I tried to access yahoo. An hour later, I said screw it and went to bed. Hope that you are doing alright,

Love,
Christopher

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Wow!

Today was absolutely my best day in China. It was truly fabulous. I woke up this morning to do the Great Wall of China tour. The Mexican was supposed to come with me, but I guess he was too tires as we
stayed out until around midnight last night. It was O.K. as I joined the tour and met four of the most
amazing young ladies that I have ever met in my life. The first two were Ecuadorian Americans. There names were Celia and Lorrie. They were raised in New York, Turkey, and of course Ecuador. Both are somewhat like gypsies as they have lived and worked all over the world. I really like Lorrie aka Lolo. She is a very hippy esque girl. She is a snow board instructor who came here with her sister, but is going to Chile, Peru, and Ecuador for several months with their brother. The girl has been and done everything. She is really beautiful. I have a small crush. The other two girls were Asian. Their names were Norio and Can. The first was from Japan and the later from China. They were both great as well. I think that Can had a small crush on me. She was a wonderful person. We talked and got to know each other. She is a news reporter from Shanghai. She has been all over China and done a great number of things. I enjoyed her company. The ride to the great wall was beautiful but similar to where I live. The drive took two hours and once again I felt as if I might die in the horrendous traffic, it was more than worth it. We got there, and I was blown away. It was all the original structure, and the views were expansive. We walled up one level at a
time. The stares were incredibly steep. 70 degrees at some points. Oh man, I got my work out. There were
resting points in between all the guard towers, and we all made sure to rest. We walked forever on the wall
until we got to the point that was impassable as it went over very dramatic cliffs. We then stopped and ate
our picnic lunch. Oh my god it was so incredible. The wall seemed to go on forever. We eventually started
back down. Lorrie and I got separated from the others, and we did a lot of talked. We then got lost and ended up at a place where you could glide down the mountain and across the river similar to the rainforest glides, but from the top of a Mountain that was as high as the rockies. You glide over the mountain then over a very large rive. She got harnessed up and went first. I then said what the hell as it was only four dollars and harnessed up my self. They hooked me up the glide wire and down I went. It was so much fun. The best part was gliding over that crystal blue water. It was just an amazing view. We got to the bottom then had to hike through the muck of the river. It was a little disgusting. We got to the bottom, and I bought a few souvenirs. We talked until the others arrived then our driver picked us up. We all passed out on the way back as we were simply exhausted from the climb. We then came back and went and ate at the Beijing Duck restaurant. The two Asians and I had duck, but the two sisters were vegetarian. We enjoyed ourselves, and it was a lot of fun. A little expensive though. Seven dollars is a little step. Very fancy though. We then all got back and got ourselves tickets to the Opera. It was more like a Kung Fu/ Acrobatics/ Singing Show. It was very unique to say the least. It ended then we came back. I am not getting ready for bed. I am extremely tired. It was been an amazing day though. One for which I shall never forget. Talk to you later,
Christopher


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