Category China

The Tao of inappropriate laughter: Dongyue Temple in Beijing

What I imagined I’d see in a Taoist temple was robed monks and maybe some other really spiritual-looking people, the kind of people who sit around contemplating the mystery of the The Way.  And probably a lot of art with yin-yang signs on it.  This sort of temple would not be a place for a […]

The Terracotta Warriors and Tiananmen Square: how to bury a people

It’s the artists I keep thinking about. There at least 6000 terracotta warrior sculptures, perhaps many more (their burial site hasn’t been fully excavated.)  These warriors were created during the Qin dynasty, 2200 years ago, when China was sparsely populated.  So how did the emperor Qin Shi Huang find and mobilize so many artists in […]

The mosque is a temple and the soup is bread crumbs in Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter

Oh look, a cute little pagoda: Yeah, cute alright, but it’s a minaret, not a pagoda. And this pretty Chinese arch inside a garden. This isn’t a garden, it’s a mosque.  Or maybe it’s better to call it a mosque complex. Anyway, the Great Mosque of Xi’an has been around almost since the beginning of […]

There are probably people who don’t mind pooping in a glass-walled Beijing bathroom

Here are some unexpected things about China: It is really clean!  We’re talking about the most populated country in the world, but none of these people are littering.  A small army of sweepers are constantly about looking to obliterate the smallest infraction of trash.  Also, there’s hardly any graffiti (I don’t miss the litter but […]

I’m famous in Pingyao, China

It was great being in Pingyao, China today because not only is it spectacularly beautiful: But I am also quite famous! All my fans want to have their picture with me! The food’s tempting too.  I briefly consider ordering the Manual cat ears but finally decided that I’m more of an Automatic cat ears sort […]