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Sarah in China part 6 July 31, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Family, Travel.
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Finally unquarantined and in Henan, Sarah recounts an outdoor ceremony. Reminds me a little bit of the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.

July 20th

I cannot believe we have been in China for six days already. It seems like I have seen and done enough for months, yet have only been here a few days, a good feeling to possess. I showered, in a full shower, as in more than a minute! Clad in a large Hanban t-shirt, I was ready for anything! We ate a delicious, yet still surprising breakfast, my favorite part being the “Deep fried pancake” that had green vegetables throughout it. An hour after breakfast we went to the Henan opening ceremony and watch some amazing martial arts. Tyler and I decided we would be lucky to be able to do a cartwheel by the end of the week. We all were divided into groups within our groups and headed to see another temple.

Today was entirely too hot. I think it can easily count as the hottest I have ever been, and for living in Georgia, that is significant! This information is necessary to know for the next activity. We went to the temple to take a group picture, with every Hanban student and leader. Close together on stairwells with millions of cameras clicking, it was not extremely fun. We were amazed when we did not even get to see the temple, but were loaded back onto the bus. Apparently, you could not walk through the area we were photographed by, and so we drove around to another entrance. The Buddhist temple was filled with gold statues of warriors, ladies, and Buddhas. There was incense burning and places you could pray, although I prayed in my head to the One True God, for the hope of the people and monks there that did not believe. This entire visit reminded me of the Bible story of Elisha, or Elijah, (I‘ll look later), when he challenged the unbelievers to build an altar to their God. After desperately trying they failed to summon Baal, but then E-man tried and with water poured, and only one prayer, God’s presence filled the place, in more ways than one.

After the Temple our sweaty group went back to the hotel for lunch, ate an amazing lunch, my favorite part being the ice cream! (did I mention I tried Yam ice cream last night, it is my new all time favorite, I tried other mystery flavors at lunch though) Everyone is starting to get tired of Asian food and keeps listing fast food they want from home, but I am still loving the Chinese. We had a bit of a free time in which I caught up on writing and then we went to see an ancient college. My favorite part of this was seeing the library and having people take pictures with and of me. Over ten families have taken it just today, I do not think I or anyone will get used to it! But I might and wonder what is wrong with my hair when I get home and my personal paparazzi are gone!  We returned from the high school sweaty once more. I just tried to wash my clothes, in the small hotel sink. It was not an epic failure, yet. They are dripping over the shower now, and I am trying to find internet! Still having a blast!

Internet failed miserably. Still working on it though! When the activites were over for that night we went back to the hotel to eat, again, and change clothes. We were going to the mountains to see the Zen Buddhist Zen ceremony. We drove around more breathtaking scenery and heart breaking, well melting (still hot) scenery. Finally we went deeper into the mountains, and deeper into the beauty. Wondering how these people on the streets have lived here in the majesty for all their lives and do not even seem to realize it, I mean they are taking pictures of me when they have God’s creative (all of God is creative) side shining right outside their window, or door since they do not have windows. We got off the bus near another temple situated right in between three mountains. There were lights on top and we wondered how they got there. Pictures of Buddha ran a little ways up, and there were a few more little buildings, but otherwise it was natural. I went across the street to take pictures, with permission of course, and soon almost everyone followed. Mrs. Paraka rushed us to the front of our line to get good seats, which did not really matter because the stage was the mountain and all seats were good. I think we completely amazed the Chinese when, while waiting, this group from America turned waiting into a football game. There was the wave, slow clapping, chants, cheers, and overall a lot of laughter and stares.  A speaker came on, giving rules, and the show began.

Three women started the show by singing, literally in the mountain. They were on platforms in the trees and their song was melancholy. It was more of a wail, that seemed bittersweet, and then faded into a moan. This led to many monks singing. The experience is hard to describe. There were five parts, about the five elements of the earth. In the first one they splashed water that was lit up so it was amazing. A waterfall even appeared during this. Water flowed into wood, where drums were beat and buckets tossed. The most interesting part was a little boy that went to the restroom during this, in the play, right there. It was unique. Wood changed to earth, where the trees were lit green. Unfortunately for tired me, wood was like a lullaby, and I fell asleep sitting right there. I slept through the next two, and woke up feeling very angry with myself for missing it. The show concluded majestically and we all walked out in a sort of awed lull, many people saying that was the best show they had ever seen.  Many people bought a DVD, but I was too tired to even think about it. I fell asleep again on the bus, and was awoken and went to my room where I slept undisturbed.

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