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Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Favorite Pictures: Part 2

Today is Part 2 of my favorite pictures from my time in China. Just like last time, you can click to enlarge them, and feel free to comment and subscribe!

This is Mr.....we'll call him "Wang". - he is the father of one of my best friends. He comes from a really small and remote village in Gansu Province. He used to work in the fields and also did some construction work on the side. When my friend was in middle school, his dad heard about an opening at the county-level school (the county is 环县) for a village student. He wanted to take a bus to the county, but it had rained earlier that day, so the dirt roads have become unnavigable. Mr. Wang walked all day and all night to that school, and the next morning he met with the school officials and my friend got  the spot! He worked his way up to the number one student in the class all the way up until he graduated high school. He went to Lanzhou University of Technology and is now the number 1 English student at the University AND has spent 1 year studying in America at my university, ETBU. All that is possible because of this man. Although he is still poor and living in a 1-room house that measures about 15' x 10' with his wife, he has moved up into Huan county (环县) and is now an engineer. Imagine that.

These are some of my best friends. L -> R is Ethan, Janson, Freddy, William, Danny, Jim Green, (i forgot this guy's name), and Zhu. This particular occasion, we wanted to find a classroom to hang out in, but they all had students in them. We found one with about 10 or 15 students in it and we pretended that I was a foreign teacher that was going to have class now, so we kicked them out and just chilled! Sometimes being the foreigner is great.....

These two pictures came from the Terracotta Warriors exhibit in Xi'an. The Terracotta Warriors are a true treasure of China and of world history. They have survived since 210-209 BC. They are more than 2000 years old. It's unimagineable. Unbelievable. 

This is an interesting one - a nearly full-sized chariot and charioteer from the Terracotta Warriors exhibit! This is actually made of bronze, I believe.

This is fruit beer! I had it when I was in Xi'an. I don't know how in the world they make beer from fruit, but it's really really really good. It doesn't really taste like beer - it's pretty much just a soda. Kids drink it. I think the alcohol content of 果啤 is pretty much non-existent. When you drink it, you can taste one or two distinctive fruits - for me, the best one I can remember had a great mix of pineapple/apple flavor to it. It's really great stuff. I had it all the time. America needs this. 

This is me in front of Maiji Mountain, a really famous mountain just outside of Tianshi, in Gansu Province. It has 7,200 Buddhist sculptures that date from the 4th century all the way up until the 19th century Qing dynasty. It has 1,000 square meters of murals and the sculptures are scattered throughout 194 caves on the cliff face. 

When you are standing on the mountain looking out, it becomes obvious why the people who did the carving did it here. The landscape is second to none. It truly is majestic and is one of the most beautiful and truly awe-inspiring places I have ever been. 

This photo was taken in Tianshui itself. It's just a kid playing in some water, but the amazing part about the picture is just the innocence and happiness that was happening within that moment. The kid was having so much fun playing in the water, and the father was having just as much fun watching the kid play in the water - even the guy way over in the background of the picture is watching them. In the picture, it looks a little creepy, but it was not. He was smiling and watching them play in an innocent way.

It's truly reflective of the lifestyle in Tianshui - it is probably the happiest city I visited in China. Everyone was out and about and just enjoying themselves. People were doing Tai Chi everywhere, people were singing songs, playing instruments, reading - it was kind of like a dream, really. It was a great place, and to me, this picture just embodies the life there. I hope to go back one day.

This is me having dinner with Mr. Xi and his family - to me, it was an honor. After I heard his story, I could barely look him in the eye, but he was honestly one of the happiest men I ever met. He had the biggest laugh lines and Crow's Feet that I have ever seen. Although he was a poor man, he offered me so many gifts and treated me as royalty - he had never been around a foreigner before and I was his honored guest. But, for me, the honor was being accepted as a part of his family. His son and I are brothers, and I believe his father treated me as a son. 

These two pictures mean a lot to me. The first one features my friend Ethan's arm as we skipped rocks down on the Yellow River. Imagine that - skipping rocks on the Mother River. Our group of five had nothing to do, so we went out to Lanzhou's Xi Zhan aka West Station, and had hotpot. After that, we walked around and went down to the river. It was just a time for us to be kids for a bit - we were 10 years old again and skipping stones on the river.

A beautiful twilight after a beautiful day in Lanzhou. 

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