Thursday, September 6, 2007

Liuhe Pagoda park and West Lake

We had another very nice day today as neither Sue nor I have to teach yet, and the kids are all in school.  We started out (after our KFC coffee run) by going to the Liuhe (Six Harmonies) Pagoda, which is south of the West Lake area in Hangzhou.  It is the tallest pagoda in Hangzhou, at about 60 meters. It borders the Quiantang river and once served as a lighthouse!

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This statue on the left sure reminded us of Sophie!  I guess little girls have been the same throughout the ages! 

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This woman was into her art!

Hangzhou 005Dribbling out of the mouth of this dragon into this pond is the Liuhe Spring, which originates from the famous Tiger Spring from which you are supposed to mix your Dragon's Well Tea.  The sign for the spring says, "With pagoda overlooking the Qiantang River and standing beside the placid pool, one may be reminded of the ancient verses:

Before the gate the river roars past, shaking heaven.
After the temple the pool appears clear, mirroring the house."

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Of course we had to go to the top of the Pagoda!  Why?  Because it was there!

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I'll have to add this to my collection of English signs! Unfortunately I didn't have any giant T's to throw off of the building.  Hangzhou 013 Once we got to the top, we had a nice view of the Qiantang River.  You can see some of the smog on this relatively clear day.  However, Sue and I prefer to call it "misty". Hangzhou 019

Some of the ornamentation on the Pagoda.

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The stairs were very steep and about half the size of one of my shoes.  Watch your step!

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Back to the bottom and here is a thrill for you girls - the inside of a Men's restroom!  No ceiling and a tree growing through the center!

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The park surrounding the pagoda is 1644 acres, and contains over 100 replica pagodas from around China.  There's a path leading through the forest from which you can view all of the pagodas.

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Pictured below is a statue of King Qian, called "King Qian Shoots the Tide".  He reigned in the Wuyue Kingdom with Hangzhou as its capital, from 852 to 952 AD.  People have been on this land for a long, long time!

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One of the features of the park was this huge gong!  For 10 yuan, you could hit the gong 6 times.  I'm game!

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The sign says, "Liuhe Bell rings with the roaring of the Qian Thing tide bore, making the mountains and the rivers more beautiful.  Welcome to toll the Liuhe Bell, which will bring you good fortune together with our best wishes that your life will become happier and more satisfactory..."  I know mine is, now that I can't hear!

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This monk's name was Zhi Tan, a buddhist abbot who made it his task to rebuild the Liuhe Pagoda.  He started raising funds in 1153, and by 1163 the pagoda was rebuilt!

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Rather than depending on the taxi, we decided to hop this bus since it was heading the same direction we were, back to West Lake.  The driver took pity on us and told  us where to get off. Hangzhou 071

On the south side of West Lake there was another large park we happened upon which was very scenic.

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Gratuitous flower picture for S.R.!

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There was a large carp pond that kids were throwing popcorn into.  Incredible amounts of carp!

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Very peaceful and serene here - and only minutes from the city, but you wouldn't know it!

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Across one of the outer ponds of West Lake, a pagoda in the distance...

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A tighter shot of the pagoda...

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We thought this perfectly symmetrical rock pattern around this tree was very nice...

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The kids came home today with smiles on their faces, but wouldn't admit to having a good day.  I told them they had 3 jobs at school:

1.  Do your best

2.  Don't stress!

3.  Learn 1 new word a day.

Peter said the English teacher was having a transportation lesson, and she was pronouncing "train" to the kids like "treen", and the kids would say "treen" back!  Then the teacher would say "subaway" rather than "subway" and the kids would repeat back, "subaway".  Peter didn't think he should correct the teacher, but he told some of the other kids the correct way to say it.

Jack said his lunch consisted of a gross vegetable dish, a gross noodle dish, and rice.  He obviously didn't like it but ate it anyway.  Lunch gets brought to class and they eat at their desks. 

They are starting to make friends and I think there is a lot of cultural exchange going on. After school I taught many of the students how to do a "high five".  They loved it!

Sophie actually napped at school again today, although she seemed pretty wiped out today when she came home.  I think she will sleep well tonight!  More pics of the kids this weekend when they're actually around - I promise!  Sue goes to work for her first time on Saturday.

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