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Hijacked! - (jk)

At continental breakfast (in China that means a hot buffet, not muffins and cereal) Master Yang explained that he wasn't sure what we were doing today because in Qingdao, Master Zhang is the man, and Master Yang goes where he says he is going to go, and sometimes he doesn't even tell him where that is. So the events of today are up in the air I suppose. Master Yang is just as in the dark as we were (which was actually a little comforting to have some company in the WTF is going on club).

Hike up the Laoshan Mountains to see where Mantis Style Kung Fu and Taoism religion were invented
Visit several different temples around the city
Go to the Qingdao beer factory
See the Qingdao museum


After Breakfast we had free-time!!! Our teacher said that Master Zhang won't pick us up for over an hour. I walked through the employee only doors in the lobby like I couldn't read English and found my way to the rear courtyard of the C shaped Hotel. It had a Beautiful little pond with little trees, bushes and Benches scattered thickly around the grassy area. I'm sure it was especially nice a little later in spring when some flowers and more leaves would be out.

I practiced some forms and was practicing improv. Kung Fu, which is inevitably my style and changes all the time depending on many influences. An older middle-aged balding Chinese man walked up to me. He had walked past a few minutes earlier quite intrigued. He started asking me questions and it took me several tries to understand each question.

Chinese people don't use any of the proper standard sentences that I learned in university. They certainly don't use English sentence structure or our choice of words. An intelligent person with absolutely no Chinese would probably figure it out about as quick. I would listen really hard. . . after two tries It would still be Chinese to me, or maybe Greek. Then I would would start spouting random answers to expected questions. If that didn't work I would sometimes recognize one word and figure it out, or I'd give up and ask him a question. This is about how every conversation went in China and Taiwan, even after 4 months; except when the person was a young college student with no interest in learning English.

This chinese man was so happy to speak to me. He really appreciated my interest in Chinese culture and he said my Gung Fu was very good. He proceeded to imitate some movements. I saw this a lot.


So, not sure of where we were going to, we packed into Master Zhang's car, and we headed out into the unknown.

Stop #1:
Zhanshan Buddhist Temple


The first temple we enter is the Hall of Sakyamuni (大雄宝殿). The epithet “Sakyamuni” means “sage of the Sakyas," and that hall honors the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama. But, in the more important temples they watch to make sure you don't take photographs so we don't have any pictures of that one. Joe and Master Zhang kneeled down and bowed on the provided pillows, while Master Yang and I walked around the temple and took in all of its details. Exiting the temple Master Yang explained to us (in English, so Master Zhang couldn't have been offended) that he never bows down and prays to Buddha statues. "Why all these Chinese people bow down to Buddha I dunno." He was right when he said that Buddhism is an Indian religion, and that the only true Chinese religion was Taoism, but it still seemed strange to me because he was the first, and the last I believe, Chinese person to denounce Buddhism to us.


Those pictures are of the Hall of Three Saints (三圣殿). Outside this temple Master Zhang bought Joe and I 2 laminated drawings at a kiosk stand. One was smaller with the 3 golden saints on it, and the other was a large one of a Buddha statue that had a poem written on the back in Chinese.

Next is the Hall of the Recumbent Buddha (卧佛殿), where, behind a long altar lies a bejeweled statue of Buddha that is almost twenty feet long.


Then we climbed up to the Bell Tower, and inside Master Zhang paid a monk for 3 bell rings. So Master Yang, Joe and I each got to think to ourselves what we would like to ask Buddha for, and then we rung the bell.


Master Yang, Joe and I each got to think to ourselves what we would like to ask Buddha for, and then we rung the bell.

Master Yang: "I don't need anything else, so I just think of nothing."

Joe: I want to strike the bell softly, but with power and an open strong beautiful sound. Wait I need to think of what Buddha will bring me. Hmm. . . I need nothing so I'll think of n-- No, that's no good. Buddha please heal my spine—or how about bring me a great Kung Fu Master who fits me perfectly, two-person sparring games, drills, and basics! Please just let me not fall in line, buckling under the pressure of two strong Masters expecting a hugely powerful strike of the bell! AAAAAAAHH! Buddha just free me from this crazy high speed mind of mine! *silence[i/]
Bell: “CRASHOOOONNNNnngggggg”

Joe: [i]Epic fail. That was not serenely powerful.[i/]

Nisha: "Please don't let me hit the bell like a girl."

I felt mine was very sincere because I had forgotten I was supposed to wish for something, and I was just naturally already praying to the Buddha not to embarrass myself.

This statue I think was Joe and my favorite. We agreed it held a lot of philosophy and Feng Shui to it.


The inanimate Buddha waters the animate plant not with real water, that has to be done by the monks, but with holy spirit water given to the statue by all who recognize it as their connection to the higher realms, thereby causing the monks to never forget to diligently feed the thriving plants below. (Either that or they were fake plants and the whole philosophy we came up with is a sham!)


This temple houses the ashes of many important people, and people who felt that their loved one was important enough to pay for their bureau there. This temple actually has the ashes of Master Leu, Master Yang's Kung Fu master! However we just looked at the temple, took some pictures, and then headed out! Maybe it was because Master Yang doesn't believe in bowing and praying in front of a temple regardless if it is Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, or a grave site of his beloved master. I never asked, I'm sure you can understand that.

Then it was back into the van and we headed across town to... well, we don't know.


We park the car on the yellow painted zebra triangular section of the road that in America would indicate "this is not to be driven on, stay on the road" but in China meant "parking lot." We get out of the car. "Whats that?" I pointed up a hill to 2 towers with large red balls on top. "That is where we are going." Master Yang explains. Master Zhang refuses to let us pay for the tickets, and then Master Yang explains that either the Germans built the towers as radio and such towers for the war effort in WWII, or the Chinese built them for the same purpose and the German's took them over. I dunno. It was a neat place to walk though.


As we got higher and higher we could see more of the city.


Then we came to the Locks of Love bridge (its just what I call it). People buy these heart shaped locks and link them onto the chains when they get married, and some of them even get married at the church at the top of the hill (one of the res spheres was turned in to a church after the towers were put out of use... yeah, I thought it was strange too. They should have at least repainted the thing, well, you'll see what I mean).


Then we came to an awesome pool with dragon statues that looked out onto the city:


And finally we made it to the top:


That last one is of the church... at least they gave it new, more appropriate doors.

Rushing now, Master Zhang ran down the staircase on the other side of the hill, and Master Yang, Joe and myself trailed at our own pace behind him. Both Joe and Master Yang were having knee trouble, so it wasn't good for them to jog down the stairs. Master Yang slipped on some ice walking his dog and hurt his knee, and Joe hasn't liked how his knees feel ever since I've known him. I'd describe it to you, but Joe always says I get it wrong, so I won't.

Back at the van some guy came up to Master Zhang and asked for money. Master Zhang blew him off, but they guy pointed out that he wasn't begging, and that Master Zhang needed to pay for parking. He pointed at his stand on the side of the road with a woman sitting at it. Master Zhang hopped out of the car and started giving both of them a piece of his mind. You see, most Chinese tourists wouldn't have a Qingdao native with them, so they would just pay the man and be on their way. To top off the pay off, there were Americans with the Chinese tourist! So they could rip us off, and get extra money for it. But Master Zhang wasn't a tourist, and he wasn't American, and they people just started walking away from their stand when they realized that Master Zhang may report them. They folded up their one foot high squatting chairs, and just headed down the road.

Now it was time for lunch, and Master Zhang took us to a small joutsu place (stuffed dumplings kinda like ravioli). He only ordered meat joutsu, so I picked at my shrimp joutsu until the beef ones came and I could camouflage my small dipping plate with all sorts of dumpling stuffings.

Next... I still don't know. "Aren't we going to the Mt. Master Yang." "No, I don't think we have time anymore." That sucked b/c I really wanted to see the Mt. and get out of the city again, but I couldn't complain b/c everywhere we went we didn't pay for a damn thing.

We came to the ocean and Master Zhang dropped the 3 of us off at the side of the road. Master Yang said that Joe and I were to walk along the boardwalk to the end where the Qingdao beer museum is where they show you how they make the beer and then let you sample some, and then we were to meet him back at the sea side bazar of street venders.


Those spikes on the boardwalk are people.


Walking along the board walk there were all sorts of cloths laid out with souvenirs you could buy and we actually found those necklaces they were selling at the International Marketplace in Hawaii! (The ones that had the large sharp tooth made out of bone with some sort of animal carved into the root that connected to the chain.) After being in China for a week or so and never seeing anything even remotely unique looking for sale I thought that the International Marketplace was a sham! But here they were, in China, selling the same trinkets they told us were from China.

Then we made it to the end, and didn't cough up the 12 yuen it cost to get in.


We met Master Yang, and got picked up my Master Zhang, and what happens next, nobody know(s)!


We drove to the Qingdao museum!


That rock formation was the only photo we could get off b/c every room had an officer standing in it to make sure nobody took any pictures. They had 3 stories of things, in one wing we got to see some paintings and calligraphy, another they recreated a scene like you were walking through an old Chinese village, and another was for kids to learn how to make their won stamp art, then another had pottery, and the most interesting one I thought had you walk through war time occupied Qingdao and we got to learn about its modern history that sets it apart from Chinese ancient history that tends to blend together for me:

[i]When China was defeated by British forces during the Opium War of 1840-1842, much of the nation’s coast was opened to colonization by Europe. In 1897, German soldiers took over Qingdao and created the now-famous German ‘concession area’ akin to Hong Kong. This event shaped the modern face of the city, turning Qingdao into a Bavarian-looking village through its architecture and cultural details. The Germans were also responsible for introducing the famous Qingdao Beer Brewery which still produces China’s most popular beer Tsingtao.

During the distractions of WWI, Japan invaded the city in 1914, sparking a 30-year struggle for control of Qingdao between Japan, Germany and China. After its defeat in WWII, Japan surrendered the city back to the Chinese. But it wasn’t until 1984, when the government declared it one of the 14 coastal cities which would be opened to foreign investment, that Qingdao began its current rise to prominence. Along with industry, tourism also began to receive attention, as the historical Laoshan Mountains returned to the limelight.

It was obviously much more interesting than that little explanation I found on the internet, and it was very insightful to hear how a native Taiwanese (Master Yang) person discussed feelings about Japan (damn warmongers really, and I had to agree) and the Europeans (not so much into war as long as they can have your land and resources).

After the museum we ate dinner, and then we walked around the night market for a bit, then went back to our hotel and packed b/c in the morning we had a train back to Jinan.


(Master Yang and Mark)

And for our Chinglish of the day, I leave you with this description we took a picture of in the museum after the guard stepped out (not the greatest, but more so for its use of hyphens, and the fact that its in a museum):


mo-untains, disco-vered, bro-nze

We figured that someone who was most likely British (they said valleys and dales), wrote the thing but had a different sized box maybe?
So, when they would do that thing thats really annoying where you split a wo-
rd to make the font more "justified" without changing the spacing, and a Chin-
ese person copied it, they simply copied their hyphens in even though they no-
longer worked in the English sense b/c they weren't at the end of the lines an-

Posted by - Rain 04:38

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thanks for the (jk) in the subject line, otherwise i would have had a heart attack when that subject line came up in my email, after your "adventures" thus far! (jk) (lol)

by georgi r

i love your explanation of the hyphens, i think it sounds totally plausible, i never would have thought of it, kewl, u r smart!

by georgi r

I love Master Yang, "I don't need anything else, so I just think of nothing." Geez. I want to be Master Yang when I grow up! It's like the mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, the Happiest man in the world will just see himself as he is. That's Master Yang. I cried when I told Jessica about Joe's wish, and she said he needs to skype with her and she can help his spine, not heal it, but help it. I also loved Vanessa's "please don't let me hit like a girl." that has been her since she was born. And I love that she's probably right and was just naturally praying, and I think Budda appreciated her pureness of thought and will grant Vanessa her innermost wishes. :)

by georgi r

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