In the morning we drove to Xi’an and during the afternoon we walked on the city wall. This inner wall was built to separate the different classes that lived in the area. It was also used as a defense toward invaders. There used to be or still are, I’m not too sure, multiple walls that separates the different classes. We just walked on the main wall. It’s a great piece of history that Xi’an isn’t necessarily known for.
Today we went up Wudang mountain. We got to look at a couple of Tai chi temples, such as the purple cloud palace. It was really fascinating to see the beautiful temple and walk through the different areas. They still have monks living here so you could wander into their living quarters which is really awesome. We got to watch a really amazing tai chi performance. What’s really cool is that all of these different monks came to live on this one mountain because of its beauty. I’m not sure if there was a spiritual reason or not.
We traveled to Wudang, but I did learn something. Don’t ever get sick enough in China to have to go to the hospital. There was no toilet paper, none. No where in the hospital did they have toilet paper for patients. The doctors and nurses did not wear gloves, they smoked. They inserted IVs without gloves. Blood was dripping on the floor and no one cleaned it. I can’t even imagine, I am so glad I didn’t go in. This is so different from American hospitals, it’s like the sad state of old 1700 army hospitals. Although I don’t really have photos of that.. So heres a calligraphy photo.
Today was another traveling day. We were supposed to go to Wudang but some of the people got sick on the train. They were so sick they were put into the hospital and we ended up staying in a town that I’m not sure what the name is. So no real lesson today other than try not to eat bad food again. It’s no fun.
We saw the caves today. Although they were very similar to many caves we have back home. The actual size though was by far much larger than any I had seen back home. Some of the stalactites were so massive and others were skinny and really tall. It was really cool to hear about how the natural river was made inside and that the water was some of the cleanest in the area, I’m sure. I think that the process of forming those towers is quite interesting. Water dripping on the same point for centuries to form this one rock.
We went up Tiananmen mountain by taking a 30 minute cable car ride up up and up. Although the morning started off cloudy and you couldn’t see much, the day cleared up to give some amazing shots. We took escalators through the mountain to see the gate of heaven. It was quite breathtaking. The size of this mountain blew my mind. It makes a lot of sense that they thought they were going to enter heaven here. When the light hit it, it just glowed. The history is that this mountain was discovered with the hole and the xplorers believed this point to be where heaven met earth, which is understandable.
We went up the same mountain again but to a different side. We did take a cable car this day but that wasn’t what blew my mind. It was partly the monkeys and how everyone interacted with them. They would get really close to these wild monkeys to feed them or take photos. Almost like they didn’t know that they are dangerous animals. These aren’t pets they are wild and will attack if need be. But other that that it was the sewage in creeks on top of the mountain. Instead of disposing of sewage in a facility they dump it into creeks on top of the mountain. Which is disgusting. You would be walking along this path and the air would reek and you would cross over a creek that stopped flowing. It wouldn’t flow because of the sewage that was stopping the water and making it a stagnant pool of feces. It was one of the most maddening and sad moments in my life. I just didn’t understand why they would ruin the beautiful nature around them like this.
Today we went up Tianzi mountain. We rode up an elevator to the top of some mountain. The mountain had some amazing views that I was really happy to see. It was awesome to look out and see the background of Avatar and think I am literally here. I don’t know, I think that was one of the “you had to be there” moments. We were supposed to take a cable car down the mountain but it ended up being closed. So we took a taxi back which turned into a awesome adventure around the mountain side. It was really cool to see this rural side of China. What was really interesting about this day was the stores and things that were up on the mountain. You would be hiking for like an hour and run into a couple people with a really nice computer and camera that would take your photo on this backdrop for a price. It’s like a photo studio out in the wild.
We didn’t really have a lesson today because the day was mostly traveling to Zhangjiajie. We took some photos of the bus ride, but we didn’t learn about that many new things. Other than, be prepared for gross bathrooms on the stops.
There was a really big celebration in the park today. It was some anniversary to celebrate tai chi. At least one hundred people were out, all dressed up in tai chi clothes, practicing together and showing off their personal performances. It was a great day to just watch tai chi and meet a lot of people who believe in what this exercise can do. It was really cool to be a part of something so monumental. I believe the Chinese are trying to increase the ages that practice tai chi. Most younger kids who we talked to assumed tai chi was for older people, as many Americans do, which is so narrow minded. This exercise can help anyone of any age. I was very glad to be a part of it.