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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bai Ta Shan and Guo Xue Guan Videos!

(Before I start this post, I just want to apologize...I've been the perfect combination of busy and lazy these past couple of weeks, so I haven't done anything. My bad. I'll try to catch up on my posts and updates.)

October 1st was the Chinese National Day - the day China celebrates its being a country. As I'm writing this post right now, I'm surprised that there really hasn't been much celebration.....this is supposed to be a really important holiday, right? How come there's no fireworks, no celebration, and all that? In America, we go nuts during that holiday. I don't want to speculate about China's population's feelings towards their government, but it might have something to do with it.

As you (might) know, a couple of weeks ago, I went to Lanzhou's Bai Ta Shan (White Tower Pagoda) for an afternoon. Here is the video for that afternoon. I'll also add it to my post, which you can read here.

A couple of days ago, I went to another place in Lanzhou called 九州台山 (Jiu Zhou Tai Mountain), which is located in the northern part of the city. On the mountain, there's a Confucian-style temple called the 国学馆 (Guo Xue Guan). Here's the video for that one:

Well, this was a very interesting place - distinctly Chinese, which is what I like. There are lots of different places on the top of this mountain, but the place I was headed to was the "Guo Xue Guan," a Confucian-style temple dedicated to thinkers and writers of Chinese history.

It's in a classic place for a temple - on top of a mountain!

Like I've said in the videos, I like going to mountains for a number of reasons. My hometown doesn't have any mountains, so it's still a new experience to live in a place full of them.

I also love getting above the noise and craziness of the city and see just how big the city is. I'm not Chinese, so I think this is a big city....they keep insisting this city of 4 million people is a small town. Crazy Chinese people.

Going to temples is a serious thing for me - it's a place to pay respect to those who have gone before me and to learn about what they did during their lifetime and how they contributed to this place that I'm living in.

These places are always very interesting for me - it just highlights the differences between America and China. America just doesn't have this kind of history and culture. It's not America's fault or anything - it just hasn't been around for long enough.

I don't really get into the offering of incense and ritual worship and stuff like that, but I definitely understand the respect that's behind it. The temple centers around Confucius, who you see right here. In front of him, you can see where they light the incense and make donations to the temple.

While I understand the respect being paid to Confucius, I have to say, I am always pretty confused about the offering of incense to him. He always said that he was just a teacher and just a man. When did he become somebody to be worshiped?  I get confused about that with Buddha too.....but anyway, the place is still very interesting!

(This is the Dao de Jing by Lao Zi written out in its entirety. The whole other side of the stone is filled up as well.)

As you can see, getting to this place is no easy task. The stairs are really steep, and this is a real mountain....not just a hill.

Me and my friends Nick and Xia Fei took a cab to the top of the mountain to see everything on top of the mountains, but we climbed down on our way back home.

It's insanity - all we did was climb down, and we still all had shaking and sore legs by the time we got the street at the bottom. Man, it was crazy.

But again, the location adds to the mystique and mystery of the place - mountaintops are classic places to put temples in China. It seems like almost every mountain here in China has a temple dedicated to someone.

All in all, it was a good day with some friends - I got to learn about some traditional Chinese culture and history, see the city, and hang out with some people I hadn't seen in a long time.


A few days after that, I went with some other friends to climb a couple of mountains. I have lots of pictures and a few videos from that day, so I'm gonna be posting that when I can. This week is a bit crazy because it's the first week back from vacation, so I can't promise anything, but I will really try to do another post in the next 7 days.

Until next time,

Austin Guidry


  1. Nice videos and blogs! I watched all of them this afternoon in my office where I supposed to work on my papers. The world is really small and full of miracle. I was born and raised in Lanzhou where I spend my first 24 years, including 4 years of college life. Now I’m doing my PhD in U of North Texas in Dallas area after I obtained my Master from U of Houston. After spending 4 years here in Texas, I consider myself a Texans and feel comfortable to live here. When I found out your video on YouTube and all those familiar scenes which are captured by a real Texans from the place I’m currently living, I suddenly feel somehow the world is so small and full of miracle. May be we can talk about it when I back home during winter, if you are still there by then.

    1. Thanks, Logan! I'm really glad to hear from you - I would love to meet up with you this winter! I will still be here, but I might go visit some friends in Henan or Guangzhou for a bit. We can talk about it some other time - my email address is

      I have a friend from Gansu (near Qingyang) who is getting his Master's at UNT right now!

      You're right - the world does seem really small sometimes when things like this happen. I love getting all the comments and emails from 兰州人 - I'm really happy to read them and reply to them. Hope to talk to you soon!



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