Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Silk Road Trip

We thought you might enjoy seeing a few photos from last week's Silk Road trip during a national holiday here in China, therefore - NO CLASSES!! I'm finding the "professors" enjoy time off just as much or more than the students. The trip began at Urumqi in the north west cornor of China along the Silk Road route to Xi'an right in the middle of China. Transportation between the two cities was a mixture of airplane, train (sleeper car), motor bus, bicycle built for two, camel, and donkey cart with a taxi or two thrown in for good measure. We saw a lot - old and new, mostly old. We had a great time - with just few little stomach problems. Gratefully all is better now.

Enjoy the pictures. They are from both cameras so the order is random but hopefully the following captions will help.

We are both enjoying our teaching very much. The university students are wonderful, really a pleasure to be with. They are extremely bright, work very hard, and will do anything we ask of them. The classes are quite large upwards of 50 students per class. the only problem is the English level often varies a lot in any given class. Each class is two hours long. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough information but I'm finding that the class time is too short. Perhaps that is how life will look also as we look back on it.

I have a friend that I worked with who told me his greatest fear in life was being bored by getting into a job where he would have to begin doing the same thing over and over again. Well that is not our problem, we are very busy with many great challenges.

All is well with us, we are learning much more than we are teaching.

Joe and JoAnn

Hot!!! peppers drying in the sun. You don't want to eat the peppers, as in "quick give

me anything to drink or eat". But they do add spice to the other foods.

Flat bread cooking on the side a large metal pot with an open fire

in the bottom of the pot. This bread is really good.

Entrance to the main Buddha Cave at Mogao Grottos. The Buddha was as tall as the building from floor to ceiling of the cave. There were over an 100 such caves and each that we visited had very beautiful statues of Buddha along with many other statues of his followers.

Buddhist Monk chanting in front of the shrine at Mogao Grottos.

JoAnn the Terracotta Warrior.

Buddhist temple site – The Big Goose Pagoda completed in AD 652 was

built to house sacred Buddhist papers that a monk spent 17 years going to

India to get, then another 19 years translating into Chinese.

The pomegranates are in full season and are great – both the fruit and the juice.

This one is for Jody – a Traditional pharmacy – We saw many on the trip.

This caught our eye – Delicate Arch used as an advertising backdrop in the town square –

notice KFC behind the picture. Can't get away from them and yes they are bad.

Urumqi's night market with dinner ready to be cooked. The market is

put up and taken down every night in blocked off streets.

Children engrossed in toys for sale on the street.

No matter how far I go I can't seem to get away from power plants.

Heavenly Mountain near Urimqi – A very pretty summer

resort area in northwest China near Kazakhstan.

I have no idea what the red painted carved rock says behind us

You can see why this is named Heavenly Lake.

Notice the snow capped peaks in the background.

These are yerkes the local people live in during the summer months.

They get a lot of snow here in the winter but no skiing.

A pathway in a small Islamic village. We felt we were back in Egypt many

times on this trip with the desert, Arabic, and Islamic influences.

Mosque in Tuyugou Valley an oasis in the desert along the old Silk Road near Turpan.

A Pathway in Tuyugou Valley.

Children of Tuyugou Valley who were very interested throwing

"small" rocks at the American with the camera.

We are overlooking the Pachikli Grottos, an old city built on top of fifty foot high cliffs

on all sides for their protection. The cliffs held back marauders many times--just not every

time. It was an old Buddhist city with what must have been an elaborate temple at one point.

As is always the case the children were colorful.

Well that camel ride wasn't toooo bad.

Here we are on a bicycle built for two but only built for half way around

the 8.5 mile city wall. The back tire fell off exactly half way through

the ride four miles from where it had to be returned.

This is the man who in 1974 was digging a well in Xi'an and brought up a

terracotta head in a basket of dirt. The discover of the Terracotta Warriors

is said to be one of the most important finds of the 20th century.

JoAnn's new best friend even if only for 30 seconds but it was a long 30-second kiss.

The Army of Terracotta Warriors is over 8000 strong found in three pits. Each

kneeling archer, standing archer, cavalryman and horse, mid-ranking officer and general

all have very distinct facial and body differences and are thought to represent actual people/horses.

1 comment:

Connie and Gary said...

What a great journey. Glad to see you have a blog up and running. Looking forward to more stories and adventures from you two.

Stay happy and healthy

The Mayers