Chinglish Bonus 2

Posted by Albert on August 23, 2010 under Chinglish | Be the First to Comment

A few more funny signs we’ve encountered on our trip.

(Click on them to see the full image. Click a second time to zoom in.)

Challenge 12: ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by Adrian on under Challenges | 4 Comments to Read

Map updated!

Challenge 12: Learn about Chinese calligraphy and write your Chinese names.

Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is not only one of China’s most beautiful spots, it has also had a strong influenced on Chinese art. The breathtaking scenery of rugged stone peaks dotted with pine trees is re-created in many years of traditional paintings. Even today, artists come from all over the world to immerse themselves in the scenery and find inspiration, so where better for us to study one of China’s most famous art forms – calligraphy.

We woke up at 5am to beat both the tour groups and the sun up the mountain. Our hope was to find artists working near the summit. Instead we only found dozens of incredible men whose job it is to carry supplies up to the hotels on the peak. They walk up the steep path – 4 miles of steps – once a day, carrying loads of around 165 pounds  (12 stones). It takes them around 5 hours and their strength is simply amazing.

We had to wait until the evening when we were back in the town to find our artist. Mr. Xie, a nationally renowned calligrapher, took great pride in unrolling his work and spreading it out on the floor as he explained his various techniques. We learnt such interesting facts as the thinner brushes are made from goat hair and the thicker ones are made from wolf fur.

Under Mr. Xie’s guidance we enjoyed having a go ourselves and he politely said he was impressed with our efforts. More than anything, it was a relaxing experience; one which Mr. Xie says he does for up to 2 hours every evening before bed in order to sleep well. After our tiring day on the mountain, we did too.

Challenge Progress

Photos (click on them to see the full image)

(To see captions for each picture, please visit the website)

Videos

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Challenge 11: ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by Albert on August 21, 2010 under Challenges | 5 Comments to Read

Map updated!

Challenge 11: Visit a nursing home.

“Where to?” the taxi driver asked us.

“Are there any nursing homes in Yíchāng?” we asked him.

“Lots.”

“Great. Take us to any one of them.”

We were turned away from two government-operated nursing homes with our gift box of fruit still in hand before the taxi driver found us a small, private “tuō lǎo yuàn” (support old center) that welcomed us with big smiles.

We were moved when we heard the story of how Mr. Liú and his wife opened “Long Life” nursing home ten years ago and have selflessly taken care of the elderly residents who have come to stay with them ever since. When we asked if they ever have time off, they said, “How could we take time off? Who would take care of our residents?” Just to clarify that they hadn’t had a single day off in the past ten years, we asked when their last vacation was. They looked at each other for a few moments and replied, “Well, we used to have two days off on weekends at our previous job.”

The owners and residents couldn’t have been more welcoming. We chatted with a 40-year-old woman visiting her 53-year-old brother and heard the story of how he came to stay at “Long Life.” We also chatted with a 91-year-old woman, who insisted we just call her “Grandmother,” about some of the changes she’s seen in China since her birth in 1919.

This is yet another chapter of the book we can’t wait to write and another experience we’ve filed in the already teeming folder labeled: “Challenges that far exceeded our expectations.”

Photos (click on them to see the full image)

(To see captions for each picture, please visit the website)

Video

(To see video, please visit the website)