Friday, June 9, 2006

sino journal three

Thursday morning June 8th the group went out to Sichuan University clear across town in Chengdu. I missed some lectures so I could meet with Tom’s friend from last summer, Joshua. We had a nice talk about what I could do in Chengdu for the last few days of my trip. For the afternoon, the group went to a panda research center outside of town where they have both the giant panda and the smaller red panda. The red panda looks something like a giant raccoon but is the color of a fox. A guide told us that the giant pandas do not know how to mate and must be taught. Therefore, they give them an apple to eat and turn on a big wide-screen TV so they can watch adult pandas copulating (panda porn?).

In they evening we went out to a Sichuan restaurant followed by a performance of a Sichuan opera. At the end of dinner, they had everyone try a toast with just a thimble of some very strong Chinese liquor. Everyone, that is except me. I had agreed in writing that I would not drink while in China. I would have liked to take part with the rest instead of looking like a Christian stick in the mud. I think most know I am a believer because on the plane to Chengdu I shared my testimony with my seatmate. He is a sociologist who teaches the sociology of religions and asked me how I became a Christian. (Please pray: I think behind the academic interest is a seeker’s heart.)

Friday June 9th we left for Mount Emei. This is a beautiful mountain with several Buddhist temples. Have you ever seen Chinese paintings of misty, craggy mountains? That what this area is like and one of the most beautiful in China. Some students from the local university joined us on our trek up the mountain. I talked with a young woman whose major was tourism management. She was from the capital city of a very poor province. Her hometown is “very small” and had a population of only one million. She bought and gave several of us a red necklace that is supposed to make us miss our wives or girl friends. (It works!)

Later that night a couple of us met with them again to tour the campus. It is one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen and certainly the loveliest in China. The young tourism major was very excited about getting an award. To both thank her and congratulate her, I gave her one of my copies of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived.

We also ate in our seminar leader’s favorite restaurant in China: The Teddy Bear. It is the best food I have ever eaten. I thought it was Chinese until I notice that a young Chinese woman assisting with the group did not care for it. Then I realized that this is a restaurant that catered to Western backpackers. Although the food was Americanized Chinese, it was far above the best Chinese food in the USA.

Tomorrow, Saturday June 10th, we leave early to take a plane to Kunming, Yunnan province. There I want to meet Aaron, who hails from Herkimer County, New York, and is a friend of Joshua’s. We hope to discuss my post seminar plans.

Be blessed!

1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm enjoying your adventures greatly.