Excerpt from Chapter 11: Traveling in China
While I have enjoyed 'package' tours to places like the Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, The Ming Tombs and Mt Emei, I actually prefer the everyday 'ordinary' sights and life of China. Wandering in an 'out of the way', tiny, shabby, but regularly patronized Buddhist temple on the banks of the Yangtze, is far more interesting to me, that the beautifully decorated, neon lit, 'gilt leaf' temples found at so many 'tourist sites'. And wandering down back streets and seeing life as it is; and more than that, meeting and talking with the people who live in such places, is much more memorable than sanitized tours. While some things in China really are 'exotic' and some like Mt Emei in Sichuan are just plain breathtaking, for the most part, expats living in China are just experiencing normal life - whatever that may mean in their particular location and circumstance.
My students always laugh when I mention anything in connection with the city of Hong Hu. I have a special place in my heart for that town. Across the Yangtze River (Changjiang) and about 20 kilometers away is the village of Chibi. Some distance from that is the 'City of Chibi' which was known locally by its former name of 'Puqi'. Puqi/Chibi City is an ordinary Chinese city about 2 hours drive from Xindi (Hong Hu), provided you don't get held up too long at the Ferry Crossing to Chibi town/village. My trip to the City of Chibi with Tobias and Chen Yang ranks among the most memorable trips I have undertaken, precisely because it was such an ordinary one, and because the sights we saw walking over the river bridge (just like the ones I saw from the bridge in Yichang) were so 'stereotypically and exotically' Chinese. The photographs I took of the boys climbing the pylons underneath the bridge in Chibi, and those of the Catholic Priests with whom I spent time, speak to me of 'old China'. They are the images which for me are 'exotic'.
My trip to Chibi was for a specific purpose; to talk with the local Catholic Priests about children in the orphanage. Those priests, the nuns and the congregation were really wonderful people and I really appreciated the genuineness and helpfulness of the priests. The things they conveyed about their lives and ministry really impacted me. I was similarly moved by Zhan Yan's Grandmother's story about her life and also my Mingxing's Grandmother's story about her life. It is the many conversations that I have had with ordinary Chinese, under ordinary circumstances, that provide me with the fondest memories of China, not to mention remind me of how grateful I should be to have grown up where I did.
It is always great to be able to talk about and describe 'places you've been and things you've done', but quite a different feeling to be able to look back and remember 'people' and the meaningful relationships and conversations that you have had with them. It is also one thing to 'go see' a tourist site and another to spend quality time with friends. After Tobias, Chen Yang and I made the trip to Chibi, Chen Yang and I did the 'Chinese Tour' of the Three Gorges Dam up to San Xia. Not much luxury there but it was a great trip.
While photographs I have of Mt Emei and the Three Gorges Dam remind me of what spectacular sights have seen 'on tour', some of my fondest memories are captured in photographs taken in ordinary places with ordinary people.
Foreigners living in China don't live 'exotic' lives although there is no doubt that sometimes they might live quite colorful lives, and nowhere in china is there more potential to experience the 'colorful', than in a classroom of Chinese students making mistakes as they strive and struggle to speak correct English. (If you are easily offended by bad language, you might want to skip the next two Chapters).
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
2013 Social Commentary Articles
Giving the Finger to Comrade GOOGLE's brand of Communism
By Comrade R.P. BenDedek
August 26, 2013
I have come to the decision that the only thing I can do is take a page out of Comrade Google's 'Little Red Book' and say: 'Screw You!' Comrade Google didn't like the way the Communist Government of China kept changing the rules. Comrade Google would not submit to a 'totalitarian authority'. Comrade Google decided to pull up stakes and leave. Is there a lesson to be learned in that?
Political Islam is full of hypocrisy and lies
by R.P. BenDedek
August 11, 2013
Politicians care only for themselves and nothing for the truth unless it suits their purposes. What they do call truth is usually nothing but lies! The general population - never seem to notice when radicals of all nationalities, religions and persuasions turn to 'ad hominems' rather than to logical debate when someone disagrees with them. The honest man will argue his point honestly. The perverted man ignores the argument and attacks the man (ad hominem) as though truth is not found in discovering and weighing the evidence and facts but in the character and 'Politically Correct Nature' of the person speaking them.
R.P.BenDedek (pseudonym) is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com ), and is a guest columnist and stand-in Editor at Magic City Morning Star News. He is also the Editor of the 'Writers Journal' at Kingscalendar.com. An Australian, he has been teaching Conversational English in China since 2003.
Writers Journal Kingscalendar
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls