Travel: China (March, 2004)

Spring Break in China. We started in the Shanghai area with a day trip to Suzhou, a garden city to the northwest of Shanghai. Although it would be spectacular here in full bloom, this national park is still quite nice in its late February browns and buds.

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Suzhou04
The elements play a huge role in classical Chinese culture, including with the familiar “feng shui” (literal meaning: wind-water). These concepts of harmony and balance are embedded everywhere. And there are usually cycles. Wood feeds fire… fire creates earth…earth bears metal…metal collects water… water nourishes wood. And there are the overpowering connections (water extinguishes fire… fire melts metal… and so on). As in most cosmological myths, the planets, the seasons, and human body parts are connected (Wood goes with Spring, goes with Jupiter, goes with a variety of things such as anger, determination, the liver, the gall bladder, tendons, tears, sight, sour… and so it goes for the rest).

Your 60th birthday is huge in China. It represents the turning of one full life cycle, the course of the 12 zodiac signs through each of the 5 elements. At 60, you are reset and rebooted.

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Suzhou01

Hefei is the home of Lord Bao, also known as Judge Bao, a major judicial figure from the Song Dynasty. On the southeast part of town, where we stayed, was the extremely nice Baohe Park and Judge Bao Memorial, situated along a riverbank with arched bridges that went back and forth between river islands and the opposite bank.

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Hefei01

Beijing: another day, another direction at another segment of the Great Wall.
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Beijing03

Beijing02

Oh, please… don’t tell me you would not do this, too.

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Beijing06

Beijing: taking in a martial arts show.

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Beijing: a trip to the Imperial Palace, and my buddies who line the rooftops.

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Beijing: a visit to one of the Ming Tombs.
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Beijing: another trip to the Peking Opera

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