Archive for Travel
What is Chinglish?
Since I have been in China for the past month traveling to exotic as well as modern port’s-O-Call, language has been in the forefront of my daily interactions. Mostly for us simpletons, it is never even considered difficult getting around or making simple transactions at home like getting directions or ordering dinner. But, travel to China, or to virtually any weird foreign place, and the world is another universe with different sensibilities and LANGUAGE. Its a real bitch not being able to ask where the bathroom is when you just sucked down a pitcher of beer “Gam Bei” style.
With these difficulties facing me on a daily basis I decided to do something about it. You have to realize that my wife is Chinese and getting around for me is a breeze so long as I am a prisoner. If I want any freedom at all, drastic action has to take place. My first step was to drop by the local book store at the swanky upscale market in down town Shanghai. This place has every thing from Mont Blanc Pens to asparagus. I found the Lonely Planet section and looked up the Mandarin Phrasebook and I was off – literally. The police were called and several hours later I was found safely enough wandering around the fruit isle. Well my adventure did not get very far so it was back to the drawing board.
My second thought was to do a search on the Internet for an easy way to communicate with the natives here in China. What I can up with was the term Chinglish. Really, what is Chinglish? Could this be the answer to all of my delemna? With great hope I did a few more looks and found that no Chinglish would not solve my problem but it was good for a laugh anyway. So have a look, do a couple of searches yourself with google for Chinglish and enjoy.
The web site of the day is a British one that posted an article that I wanted to share.. A wonderful rag full of signage that somehow missed the translation. I have my own version of a sign that missed it somehow – I picked up in our Yellow Mountain trek which I will share with you here. When I took the picture laughing out loud the rest of the company was taken back a bit but got over it. Enjoy!
Our trip to the Yellow Mountains which we just completed covered several days and thousands of feet of climbing.Â Well, not technical climbing anyway but walking up and down stone steps, quite steep at times, for a real workout.Â Like in many mountains, the mornings were clearer than the late mornings to afternoons when the cloud cover came in pretty thick.Â The best pictures with the clearest sky’s were in the early mornings.Â The second morning there we got up at 05:20 to hurry to see the sun rise over the Yellow Mountain peaks.Â By 9:30 the clouds had rolled in and the views of the valley below were all but obliterated.
Over the three days that we were in the Yellow Mountain district a total of 550 pictures were taken, a few of them really nice.Â All of them can be viewed at flickr but sift through quickly to find the good ones.
After all of the climbing my calves were feeling it while others in our party were really laid up lame for days afterward.Â Our little “Goat” was the realy climber of the group scampering up the climbs waiting for us at the top.
You can follow several pictures below Read More→
Today starts a journey.Â This is not an ordinary trip or one taken lightly. The trek to the Yellow Mountains (Huang Shan) has been reported to be both a spiritual and heroic climb of epic proportions.Â Fortunately the trip has been made easier in modern times with the addition of three gondolas that will take us up more than half way and eliminate much of the long climb to the base of the steepest climbs to the peaks. (Picture is from China Odyssey Tours with link)
The Yellow Mountain district was made famous during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) by a poet-traveler, Xu Xiake who once commented on Yellow Mountain in one of his poems:
“You will find viewing another mountain no longer worthy after you visit the Five Sacred Mountains. Nor will you find viewing the Five Sacred Mountains worthy after you visit Yellow Mountain.”
The Five Sacred Mountains include the Taishan Mountain, Hengshan Mountain in Henan Province, Huashan Mountain, Hengshan Mountain in Shanxi and Songshan Mountain.Â Non of these compare, according to the poem, with the Yellow Mountain.Â This mountain district of legend is located in the south of Anhui Province, covering an area of roughly 250 square kilometers.Â These mountains are a geological wonder of the earths crust movement thrusting upwards some 100 million years ago.Â The mountains are primarily granite which has gone through glacier erosion creating steep peaks and deep gorges of fantastical proportions.Â Much of the 72 or so peaks are reported to be above 1,800 meters or about something over 6,000 feet – not a terribly high elevation but the climb is very steep and from see level a bit strenuous.Â The highest peaks are above the cloud cover creating the Cloud of Seas.
The Yellow Mountain was first known as the Yi Shan Mountain in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and changed to its current name in the Tang Dynasty (608-917 AD).Â Ancient Chinese legend has said that the mythical Yellow Emperor who is regarded in legend as the foremost ancestor of the Chinese people, was a seeker of herbs on the Yi Shan Mountain and sought to make an immortality potion.Â The origin of the Mountain’s name comes from this illustrious mythical ancestor who succeeded in finding the immortality he was seeking and became a god ascending into heaven.Â Our trip has no such aspirations.
Searching through the web another report is given as to the origin of the name for the Yellow Mountains.Â According to the ChinaVista report the poet Li Bai (701-762), the great Tang poet, wrote these lines naming the district:
Thousands of feet high towers the Yellow Mountains
With its thirty-two magnificent peaks,
Blooming like golden lotus flowers,
Amidst red crags and rock columns.
For pictures and more information about the Yellow Mountain you can check ChinaVist.com and do a search for Yellow Mountain in Google.Â Its an interesting voyage.Â Be sure to check out the images of the Yellow Mountain district.Â Mine will be coming soon.
Hangzhou at Holiday or National Day here in China (see News story in the China View) is an experience in crowd control.Â If you have every been in South Beach Florida during Spring break you will know what I am talking about.Â Disneyland could not be busier on the 4th of July than the West Lake district of Hangzhou during National Day festivities that are just beginning here in China.
“October 1st in the year 1949 Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China and waved the first five-star PRC flag. The PRC’s National Day was declared at three o’clock on October 1, 1949, in front of 300,000 people during a ceremony in Tian’anmen Square” according to an About.com news story.
Traveling to Hangzhou from shanghai a day before the National Day was pleasant with relatively light traffic and overcast sky’s.Â Arriving in Hangzhou the weather in the West Lake district was decidedly cooler than Shanghai which was a treat.Â The following day, Monday, was the beginning of the National Day week holiday season and travel within the city slowed appreciably.Â The grid lock in the intersections between the buses and cabs with the pedestrians that are constantly criss-crossing the streets was chaos for drivers.Â Fortunately, traveling up Longjing Road to the hillside above Hangzhou was less of a mess than the traffic jams down by the lake proper.Â We were able to visit a local tea farm for lunch and enjoy a lazy cup of Longjing tea at 50 RMB a cup!Â The exchange rate is for the yen is 6.75 RMB to a U.S. dollar currently so figure that at about 7 bucks a cup twice the expense of a Starbucks coffee.
As I mentioned in a previous post, West Lake Dragon Well tea, grown on the hills surrounding the city, is Hangzhouâ€™s specialty. From growing it to writing poetry about it, Hangzhou green tea is consumed almost everywhere throughout China and abroad being highly prized where ever tea effectionados gather. Longjing can be ordered on-line from a very good tea shop in Arizona called Seven Cups.
High grade Dragon Well is expensive often displayed in luxury shops like jewelry. Yet many of the poorest local people consider drinking green tea a necessity.Â Hangzhou’s Longjing display’s its brilliant emerald green spears like leaves, especially in the Spring, boasting about three quarter inch long spikes.Â These treasured leaves are renowned throughout China for their beauty.Â Just recently I discovered that Longjing tea has 7 grades, really!Â So even the poorest can afford a lower grade of green tea.Â Tea made into tea bags is the leavings and sweeping of the sticks off of the floor, junk really for the uninitiated.Â There is a very good description of Longjing Dragon Well tea found at TeaGenius.com
Some of the data I gathered about the very long history of tea culture in Hangzhou was highlighted when Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty 1127 – 1279. The Teahouses of Hangzhou are reported to have been decorated with fresh flowers and famous paintings to create a place of relaxation and pleasure for the guests at the tea house. Besides rare varieties of green teas, plum wine was served in the winter.Â What raised the Longjing Dragon Well green tea to be the most famous of Chinese green teas was the esteem of an eighteenth century emperor who visited Hangzhou and appointed a small patch of 18 tea trees to be his special tea garden.Â See the Teagenous for more infomation on Hangzhou green tea.
This morning we are traveling to Hangzhou by car.Â The couple hour drive to the East and a little South will take us to the lovely valley and the West Lake of Hangzhou.Â According to the Lonely Planet, Hangzhou is one of the most traveled to spots in China:
HÃ¡ngzhÅu, capital of ZhÃ¨jiÄng, is one of Chinaâ€™s most famous tourist sites. Located at the southern end of the Grand Canal and surrounded by fertile farmlands, the city has been a significant cultural centre for hundreds of years. Modern-day HÃ¡ngzhÅu, with its characterless architecture, has little to differentiate it from other Chinese cities. The main reason for coming here is to visit the legendary West Lake (XÄ« HÃº), a true beauty in the midst of a concrete jungle.
For Me the main reason to visit Hangzhou is for the tea.Â The Dragon Well or Longjing tea which is grown and roasted in Hangzhou is popular everywhere in China where tea is treasured.Â There are few places in the world that enjoy Hangzhouâ€™s reputation for tea.Â Think Napa Valley for wine and Hangzhou for tea.
Tea is used for daily drinking and for special occasions here in China.Â As an example, on the first day of the Chinese lunar new year a cup of spring tea is offered to the Goddess of Mercy in wish of yearlong well-being; another old custom is the gift of tea to the parents of a bride to confirm marital relations.
The tea houses that line West Lake and huddle in the valleys of surrounding hills of Hangzhou offer tea that has to be experienced. Every trip we make to China always includes a trip to the Hangzhou valley and a visit to the tea houses that are up country in the hills surrounding the valley.Â Brews of tea are not cheap, but the price of a pot buys hours of lazing around, a favorite activity of locals and visitors as well.Â We will be having lunch up-country and I will post some pictures.Â We are late in the tea season but its still worth the trip to Hangzhou.
Green Tea is harvested in two main seasons according to my father-in-law a tea connoisseur.Â The first and best tea is harvested “before the rains” in Spring time up until April the second week of May (referenced by The Leaf article Mary Lou Heiss) which starts the Monsoon Season.Â The second tier harvest is “after the rain” from June till about now in late September.Â So the tea that is available now is of lesser quality than the fresh Spring “before the rain” tea but its what we got so it will be enjoyed very much.Â Over the past seven years drinking real tea and listening to the experts like my “Baba” Jennifer’s dad, I have developed a real discrimination for good tea.Â There is nothing worse than a wine snob unless its a tea boor.Â I try to stay away from snobbery but definitely stay away from ignorance first.
So its off to the car and a 2 1/2 hour drive to Tea Heaven.
Our trip to Hangzhou will include a visit to the hospital for Jennifer’s Uncle who has been ill for the past two years with prostate cancer.Â Jo is now every bit of 90 years old and doesn’t get around much.Â After we pay our respects and spend some time catching up with the family in Hangzhou we will hit the road for the hills.
Qingdao China is a wonderfully modern city on the Eastern coast an hours flight north of Shanghai.Â The city is super clean with new roads and fantastic architecture.Â It is really amazing how modern this city is.Â From our travels throughout the greater Qingdao district it is evident to see that the rush for modernization here is China is in full tilt forward.Â This probably stems from years of push by the Qingdao government stressing the overall development of the city and urban planning, ecological construction and residential buildings construction. All of the old shanty buildings have been removed in the downtown district and in the outlying areas this work is continuing.Â I have a couple of pictures demonstrating this well.Â As a result of this effort over the past 20 years, the city was awarded the honorary title of â€œNational Model City for Environmental Protectionâ€ in 2000 by the National Chinese Government. The city gained first prize for the â€œChina Living Environment Awardâ€ in 2002, becoming one of the cities with the best environmental conditions in China.
Looking around to find the history of this district has revealed several interesting tidbits.Â Qingdao is the birthplace of Taoism.Â I will have to look this up to sharpen my memory of this religion but if I recall correctly Taoism is founded on the idea of non aggression.Â That is what I remember anyway from my reading during the seeking years of the 60′s.Â The philosophy of the Dao or Taoist is more of a way of life than a religion and has long roots in the local traditions here in Qingdao.Â Its a way of getting along in the world without putting yourself forward.Â Shrinking to make yourself strong or something like that.
Second historical occurrence has to do with the German invasion and occupation of the City during the early 1900′s.Â The Japanese have invaded and occupied Qingdao in both World Wars I and II finally being removed after 1945. Â There is a hugely famous May 4th Celebration of the cities liberation. The German influence has remained however.Â There is a German community that has remained founding a beer factory no less.Â The Tsindtao brand has world wide distribution and locally honored.Â Its pretty good especially the Gold label stuff.Â Tsingtao is produced with spring water from Laoshan, a mountain area to the North of Qingdao and famous throughout China for it purity.Â Every year there is an International Beer Festival here in Qingdao lasting two weeks at the end of September.Â We were lucky enough to get to visit the Beer Festival with Jennifer’s cousin Miao Miao (pronounced Meeooow Meeeooow like a cat crying for milk.Â Serious!) along with her husband. She holds a very high position in the National Government in the Tax division.Â The local IRS?Â Her driver drove us all over the Qingdao district for two days.Â Thank you Miao Miao, you are the “Bomb”.Â That means you are great!Â Wonderful meeting her and her family.Â I will always remember her “Gan bei” which translated means “dry the cup”.
While we were visiting the city of Qingdao we were fortunate enough to take a trip up the coast to the Laoshan mountain via Miao Miao’s driver.Â We drove up the spectacular coast and ended up taking a gondola ride up to about mid way to the top of the Laoshan mountain.Â From there we hiked up another couple of hundred feet to a very old Taoist temple remembering that this is the birthplace of this religion/philosophy.Â The grounds of the temple were simply amazing.Â Several of the trees growing there have been alive for thousands of years.Â There was one Camilia Japonica that towered above us with an inscription dating to a planting 414 years ago.Â The days sunlight finally broke through allowing me to take some really nice pictures of the temple grounds and woods which can be viewed at flickr.
Qingdao was home to the 2008 Olympics hosted by the Chinese featuring their wonderful harbor for the sailing competitions.Â Qingdao is a very sports involved city having a very active soccer program.Â Everyday from out hotel balcony we could witness the runners and joggers up and down the sandy beaches.Â Swimming in the netted off area in from of our hotel was a very large swimming area measuring about a half mile of open water by one mile along the beach.Â Qingdao is a wonderful place to visit.Â So far of all of the cities in China where I would want to live Qingdao ranks at the top of every list.
Interesting Links to Qingdao information
Its almost the Fall season late in September here in Shanghai but by the weather you would never know it.Â This past week temperatures have been over 30 degrees Centigrade something near the hundred mark on the Fahrenheit scale with very high humidity.Â As a matter of fact I mentioned to Jennifer that it felt like monsoon season and sure enough the rain was awash withing the hour cooling things down for a bit.
Bicycle riding here in the Old World is still an expected mode of travel but the gas guzzlers have come a long way in the last few years.Â Every year the number of bicycles is going down and the motor-driven cycles, mopeds and scooters not to mention the cars and trucks have taken over the road ways.Â Here in the great city of Shanghai bicycle traffic still is important for commerce but the writing is on the wall.Â The world’s oil reserves are going to be taxed by the hungry giant that has awoken from a long slumber.Â China is 21st Century and Shanghai is leading the Country into it with a vengeance.
Here the streets are clean.Â Every day hoards of street cleaners roam the sidewalks and gutters hand collecting discarded debris while street sweeping trucks take care of the roadways.Â In the few pictures that I have taken over the past week I have been astounded by how really neat the streets are throughout Shanghai.Â Even the spitting is down.Â You know that spitting has been a national past time here in China for centuries and is a very hard habit to break.Â The Central Government has issued statements decrying this habit and in preparation for the recent Olympic Games in Beijing has outlawed this disgusting past time.Â Old habits are hard to break even for those who are 100 percent human.Â I found a You Tube Chinese video anti spitting campaign cerca 1950.Â It didn’t work. The Chinese Spitting Image is long standing and reported on internationally even if they are 100 percent human. I refer to the Chinese.Â Here is another You Tube Spitting video that is hilarious.Â So like the rest of the world we really are a mix.Â I love China and love spending time here, after all my wife is Chinese and 100 percent human.Â Someday I hope to rise up to maybe 90 percent but Jennifer doubts that I can get any higher than that even if I spend the rest of my life in China.Â The other 10 percent is animal.Â They don’t call me Tiger for nothing!
This afternoon we travel to Qingdao a beautiful coastal beach and harbor city up the coast.Â The two hour flight will bring us to this wonderful city and cooler temperatures ranging in the low 20′s and down to 17 degree C. overnight.Â Finally!Â Qingdao is famous for its beer.Â Now that’s what I’m talking about!Â The yearly International Beer Festival that is held in Qingao runs this year from September 19th through October 5th.Â We will be there in the midst of it.Â One of the worlds great beers in brewed in Qingdao.Â the Tsingtao Beer factory was founded in 1903 by German immigrants.Â The taste and style of the beer is distinctly German reminding me of Becks.
So its off to the Beer festival and then on to Yellow Mountain district for a hike.Â Jennifer and I will be keeping track of our travels and pass along the dialogue if interesting.
Jennifer her brother and lovely wife Xiao Hui and I will be traveling to Kunming China in the morning from Shanghai. The several hour plan trip will end in the Southern provence of Yunnan which boarders Viet Nam and Burma. Cool territory. The city of Kunming was one of the origanal “Silk Road” towns in southern China. The following is a discription I found on the net at TravelChinaGuide.com/
Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, with a history of more than 2400 years, owes its importance to the fact that it was the gateway to the celebrated Silk Road that facilitated trade with Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India. Today the city is the political, economical and cultural center of Yunnan and the provincial center for transport, science and technology and consequently has become the most popular center for tourism in Southwest China.
Kunming enjoys a pleasant climate and does its best to live up to its title of ‘the City of Eternal Spring’. Whenever you are planning to go, the temperature is always pleasant. With its convenient transport links in and out of the city, Kunming welcomes and sees off tens of thousands of tourists every day.
For first-time tourists Kunming city center is an attraction with its two squares and five interlaced roads – Jinma Biji Square, Dongfeng Square, Dongfeng Lu, Jinbi Lu, Zhengyi Lu, Renmin Lu and Qingnian Lu, among which Jinbi Square has the most eye-catching architecture. Qingnian Lu, Zhengyi Lu, and Renmin Lu are the main commercial areas in Kunming; the most popular pedestrian streets are Nanping Jie, Jingxing Huaniao Shichang, and Jinma Biji Fang.
Kunming is the focal point of Yunnan minority culture. Some 26 ethnic minorities such as Yi, Bai, Miao, Dai, Hani and more inhabit the region. Each group has its own featured festivals such as the Torch festival of Yi people, the Golden Temple Fair and so on. The hugely successful 1999 International Horticultural Exposition enhanced Kunming’s influence in the world resulting in a snowball effect upon tourism as more and more foreigners come to discover this enchanting part of China.
Its alluring highland scenery, bewitching karst landform, varied and exotic habitats and customs and places of historical interest can be found at major scenic spots such as Dianchi Lake, Stone Forest , the Village of Ethnic Culture, Grand View Pavilion, etc.
Kunming has more than one hundred star rated hotels and a variety of a thousand or so guest houses. These provide tourists a wide choice of somewhere to relax after whole day’s tour.
Kunming is also renowned for many delicious local dishes; the most famous ones are Across Bridge Rice Noodle and Xuanwei Ham. You can enjoy them both at local famous restaurants or the night market. In the night markets you will find many pubs, bars and cafes that serve good quality meals.
Lastly, do not forget to buy some locally produced souvenirs for your friends or family when you visit Kunming, such as ivory or wood carvings, minority tie dyings. You will find a variety of stores to meet your specified requirements.
We leave in the morning. Today we will be doing a little shopping here in Shanghai at the “undergound market”. Oooooh that sounds like fun. Here we get to wander amoung the thieves bandets and counterfiters of the Chinese underground. Well its not all that exciting really but we will see a lot of knock off stuff. Currently the market for the knock offs is down from what it was a few years ago due to the Central Government cracking down on the trade since China is now a member of World Trade organization and the copy write stuff…you know the story. The bottom line is that some of the knock off stuff is still available like the Guci purses and Rolex watches but much less than a few years ago. We just go to look. Mainly we pick up non name brand shirts underwear and socks for a good price. The quality of the clothing here in China is getting better every year.
Hangzhou China is the green tea capital of the world and the capital of Zhejiang province. . Maybe that is too much to say. Maybe another way to think of Hangzhou and green tea is to consider the Napa Valley and fine wine. Some of the greatest wines are now harvested and produced in Napa Valley north of San Francisco. In the same way the green tea know as Dragon Well or Longin comes from the Hangzhou valley. We were fortunate enough this trip to China to take a few days and revisit this enchanted place. Two hours by train and 180 kilometers later after leaving Shanghai we were greeted at the train station by Jennifer’s cousin Fung Fung. We spent the next three days and two nights entertained and dined to Hangzhou’s finest.
We took a trip to visit the Temple overlooking the Hangzhou West Lake were we again lit incense in gratitude for a great year and future bounty as well as to petition for health and recovery for Jo Ni Ni. Jennifer’s Uncle Jo Ni Ni at age 86 is again in the hospital for a recurrence of a bladder cancer that he has struggled with for the past 10 years. The Hangzhou valley proper is hidden among the hills and requires a trip up a winding road.
The day we visited the higher mountains the muggy air felt oppressive near the lake but up at the tea Chateau we have frequented in the past the air was cool and fresh. Chickens with their wings cut wander though the tea fields fattening themselves and running quickly lest the pot catch them. Our lunch at the Tea Chateau found one of them in a broth that was incredible. They say chickens fed among the tea bushes of Hangzhou are the tenderest and most delicious. I can not dispute this. Our lunch was finished with an outside fresh pot of Longin tea sweet and fragrant. I have to say that the last time we visited was nearer the spring and the fresh crop so the tea now in late fall is not as fragrant but still refreshingly wonderful. We are bringing back a few kilos of fresh Dragon Well from the Hangzhou valley. All of the pictures can be viewed at flickr.
While Jennifer and I are traveling in China during the Moon Festival others are traveling as well. After our excursing to Korea, coming back to China is really sweet. Its something about High brow vs. Low brow when comparing Korea to China. Jennifer says that Korea is China’s grandchild. If it is, in my book, they are the Black sheap of the family. Korea is not all that bad just different.
I received a note from Karyn and Mike that they had visited the RedWood’s up north. They were on a search for Big Foot but no luck there. They did have a great time and sent some pictures.
Here is her letter:
Hi all â€“
I am writing to send you pix of our trip this weekend to Northern California where I finally got to see the BIG TREES â€“ I have been waiting years to see these trees and finally (now that school is over and I have a life again) Iâ€™ve done it. As you will see from the pix they really are huge â€“ these are the California Redwoods and they grow to be over 2000 years old. I guess it is the fog in the area that supplies most of the moisture that sustains them. Really impressive!! However today I found out that they are considered small when compared to the Giant Sequoia trees that also grow in northern . The Sequoias are much bigger and have branches the size of the Redwoods – apparently some of them are so old they were growing when the Egyptians built the pyramids (no kidding!!) â€“ they are up to 100 feet around and you could drive a bus through them. I will send you pix from that trip when I make it. We did not see â€œBig Footâ€ but weâ€™re pretty sure heâ€™s out there somewhere! Enjoy ps the last picture with me and Mark was taken at a place called â€œThe Wedding Rockâ€ â€“ no there was no preacher with us â€“ so it was just a dry run!
The Moon festival is being celebrated here in China and all of the Asia countries. This year Jennifer and I are both here and will treat her family to a big dinner – ON US – for a change. I will start work next month and we will finally have some spare money to catch up with the debt collector.
This afternoon we are traveling a bit to Yang Zhan River for lunch and a boat ride. The camera is handly close by and will be put to a work out. So far I have not been able to up-load the pictures to flickr but I am still trying.
Here is a little about the Moon festival that I found on the web at Chinapage.com. There are some legendary stories for the Moon Festival.
1) The Lady – Chang Er
The date of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband’s tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn’t shoot down the moon.
2) The Man – Wu Kang
Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang’s enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang’s impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.
3) The Hare – Jade Rabbit
In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit’s sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the “Jade Rabbit.”
4) The Cake – Moon Cake
During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.