Tom & Holly Travels
since 2004

你好(Ni hao)

     We are now in Wuhan, a small city of 10 million.  Wuhan has several huge industries including steel mills which employ over 70,000 people. Also Ford cars are made here, and you thought Ford was an American car. The city is most famous for its role in the formation of modern China. We went to the Hubei Provincial Museum to see the relics found in the tomb of Marquis Yi who was the king of the Zeng State 433 BC. He was obviously a lover of great music and was buried with his complete set of bronze bells along with other instruments. There are 65 bells capable of producing a five-octave range of tones. It is the largest bronze musical instrument ever discovered. Due to their shape, each bell has two tones, one when struck in the center and one when struck on the side. Each bell is inscribed with musical notations that detail its tones. We even had a concert played on these instruments just for us. It takes five people to play the bells. They played several Chinese traditional pieces and ended with Ode to Joy.

    The museum was actually closed today, but Viking does well in China and they opened and put on the concert just for us. Pretty cool! I would have been disappointed to miss the museum because it was quite fascinating. It was interesting how they buried the Marquis just like the Egyptians did. A bronze tomb within several other bronze tombs etc. He was buried with everything he needed for the afterlife. He had several bronze wine coolers. They put the wine in the center and surrounded it with ice that was easy to find in the winter. In summer they dug a hole and covered it with straw. It kept all summer. Some of the differences between here and ancient Egypt were instead of making a mummy to protect the body; the Marquis’s body was wrapped in Jade. He had small jade animals in his mouth to keep his spirit from escaping and help take him to the afterlife. He was also buried with 21 concubines ranging in age from 26 to 13. They were all poisoned. Archeologists know this because no damage was done to the body. 

    Well the pollution continues. This afternoon we went for a walk in the shopping district of Wuhan. Huang told us not to wear our name tags because that would make us look like tourists. We all had a good laugh. He had to admit we do all look different that the locals. In the city there are water trucks wetting the streets to try and hold down the pollution dust. Vendors on the street are barbequing all sorts of strange meats. Just what the place needs is more smoke. We were warned of course to not eat any of the street food. No need to tell me that.

     I came to China wanting to buy new Asics tennis shoes because they are made in China. So yesterday I did find several shoe stores and not one brand I recognize. Huang told us because all the brands we know are made here for export. If I do find shoes I like, they will be more expensive then in the US because of the import tax after they ship them back to China. He did say maybe in Hong Kong. That is where he shops.

   Our cruise director told us an interesting story last night. We had passed the rice fields the day before and of course rice has to stay in the water until harvest. In the water there are blood sucking leeches. When our cruise director was seven, he started to work in the rice fields.   He hated the leeches. His parents always told him; if he didn’t like the leeches, study hard. He said it was quite motivating.

    Well in our China experience they do have one phrase that I really like, at least all the tour guides use it, for using the restroom, do you have to go to the potty, or whatever you use. They call it “the happy place.” So everyone in our group now uses that phrase. I think if I was still teaching, I would use that phrase with my students. It does sound better. Of course, in China one must bring their own toilet paper to the happy place. There is usually one western toilet for handicapped which I have no idea how a handicapped person could use because one usually has to step up about a foot to get in. All other toilets are holes in the floor.

Not all those who wander are lost.J. R. R. Tolkien

Confucius say – Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

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