China 1983 – World Wonders

The Great Wall May 8, 1983

One of the seven wonders of the world visible from satellites. One of man’s greatest accomplishments 403 – 221 BC. First Chinese Emperor 211 – 206 BC. 300,000 man political prisoners connecting segments many buried in the wall. It is 6,000 km long today. 75 km northwest of Beijing. 6.6 m was the original height. During the war persons used bricks to build housing in 1979 to preserve the wall. Same army unit that destroyed it now rebuilds it.

Jiankou mountain, while the most dangerous portion of the wall, it is where we were taken via bus to visit the Great Wall. Only a small section has been rebuilt; about 2 miles total. Some parts we were able to walk on were very very steep. There are Square stations at intervals presumably for fighting. All rebuilds as well as all houses built are built by hand with stones. We could observe the workers building and maintaining the roadbed; currently two very steep lanes. If they continue to construct the road by hand, I estimate it will take years to finish by hand.

Road building is not the only ancient craft employed in China. Farmers hand stamp the earth to flatten area to be suitable to stack wood. We watched with horror as a man was shoeing his horse. The horse was somehow tied between two poles that suddenly flip up; we all though the horse was being killed. All drivers wear white gloves which somehow translates to a clean mode of transportation. It is a method of appeasing the people who are forced to use public transportation. A bicycle ownership is desirable; buses are for those who can’t afford one yet.

Feeling part of the group, sort of. There is  a lot of complaining mostly from the vegetarians. Some are very cantankerous. A few are picky about time. Some object to staying at a place long enough to learn the history and the people. Many want more gift shops.  (Which I think is hysterical).  But, considering we are 18 ladies of varying ages, varying experience and various beliefs and customers, the atmosphere is  most friendly. My values do not line up with the majority, so I often feel a little odd. We have one lawyer riding with us; she seems alone too. I am trying to get to know her.

May 12, 1983 we’ve ridden 69 miles. lunch at and I and J ING at noon at 3:30 PM we were in exile a and HEM by 5:30 PM we were in an a and CONJ 36 miles.

The men in front moved the people out of our way they holler at them and nearly run them down with the motorcycle.

One man wanted to ride with us for a while and they shewed him off. Always introducing us to officials they are so proud to have us with them they truly want us here they clap when we clap for them.

The Village people usually never go beyond 10 miles of their village only three ways to get a passport official job assignment and then a business trip or they have relatives in a foreign country. Grace our interpreter could remember the third (news one) was Mary had a daughter but wouldn’t tell what her husband does.

We keep wanting more vegetables and less meat. However, Chinese custom is to feed guest chicken – the most expensive beef and pork (not much – least expensive).

To get vegetables to guests is rude. Every meal is about 20 dishes first ones are sweet then sour then the main course then soup. Once in a while what they called dessert. They use a lot of bread at least for us. Most is they don’t like bread I don’t like some Joe Ike we are filled with bean paste. Some more 11 have an egg cooked inside. Some hard donuts – very popular in the market for breakfast tea donuts. Not cut but rolled and twisted together some sweet light bonds with cinnamon on top.

Always soda pop and beer for us for each meal. Hard to get Leon Chi’s way (boiled water cooled). They use a lot of peanuts. They steam them in saltwater. Others are raw and some are roasted they use a lot of salts but it’s okay as we sweat and work hard.

Chinese Temples

Chinese temples are often comprised of many buildings, halls and shrines. They tend to be situated in the middle of towns and have north-south axises. Large halls, shrines and important temple buildings have traditionally been dominated by tiled roofs, which are usually green or yellow and sit atop eaves decorated with religious figures and good luck symbols. The roofs are often supported on magnificently carved and decorated beams, which in turn are supported by intricately carved stone dragon pillars. Many temples are entered through the left door and exited through the right.

Chengdu is the capital of “Heavenly State” (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), habitat of giant pandas and city of cotton-rose hibiscus. Located in the west of Sichuan Basin and in the center of Chengdu Plain, Chengdu covers a total area of 4,749 square miles with a population of over 11 million as of 2009. Chengdu remains famous for its embroideries with bright colors and delicate designs. The Southern Silk Road started in Chengdu.

Shanghai is the largest city in the World – population exceeding 20 million in the metropolitan area. It also holds the title of the largest city in China.

Originally a supporting primarily fishing and textiles Shanghai grew to importance due to its port location in the 19th century. They were early in the opening to foreign trade -1842. The city flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s. After 1990, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in intense re-development and financing in Shanghai, and in 2005 Shanghai became the world’s largest cargo port.

Private car ownership has increased as disposable income increases, The government attempts to control the number of cars with limiting the number of available legal license plates. These are issued via public auction. In 1998 the government placed the limit of new car registrations at 50,000 vehicles per year.

A junk is a Chinese sailboat design dating from ancient times and still in use today. Junks were developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and were used as ocean-going vessels as early as the junks-in-china2nd century AD. They evolved in the later dynasties, and were built and used throughout Asia for extensive ocean voyages. They were found, and in lesser numbers are still found, throughout South-East Asia and India, but primarily in China, perhaps today most famously in Hong Kong. Also, found more broadly, is a growing number of modern recreational junk-rigged sailboats.

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