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Flag of China  , Shandong,
Saturday, September 17, 2011

My last trip was to the City of Qufu and Mount Tai. We were supposed to start off at 7am.  Yet, the bus was 30 minutes late.  I was less than thrilled at I could have been sleeping. Even more, I was told that the weather for this trip was going to be great and sunny where we were going.  So I decided to wear shorts.  Yet after our 5 hour drive we arrived in Qufu to find that it was raining.  Now, while this was unfortunate I adapted quickly aka I bought an umbrella and borrowed a poncho (I quickly took off the poncho it stunk).  The first thing we did in Qufu was we went and had yet another enormous meal.  I have yet to see a meal in here that has been less than 9 main course dishes.  Not that I am complaining just surprised on the sheer quantity of food that is brought out.  While we were at the restaurant a wedding party was there as well and they set off a bunch of firecrackers in the parking lot!!!!

After our meal we began our tour of Qufu.  This city is famous for having the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius (no mom it's not confusion that means something else hahahaha).  This place was fantastic. The tour started just outside the main city parapets.  We started off out the most recent dynasty gate.  It turns out that many dynasty built gates around where Confucius lived and studied and obviously the most recent of those dynasties would be on the outer edges.  Furthermore, superstition dictates that men must pass the thresholds with their left legs first and women with their right legs.   After several gates we finally made it to the main area.

The main area was huge and had a ton of cool stuff.  Some of the stuff had been destroyed in Mao revolution however; it did not take away from what we saw.  We saw these huge stones that had inscriptions in them and these inscriptions were from emperors of ancient Chinese dynasties.  They were the philosophies and lessons they had learned while they had spent time themselves at the school.  On top of the building that housed some of the stone tablets they had the dragon, phoenix and their children.  Each child had looked different and had a different story associated with them. 

While we were touring the temple we came upon a tree that was 2000 years old. The story goes that Confucius himself planted the tree.  I found this crazy this tree was huge and it had survived literally for thousands of years.  How was this possible?  Yet, there it stood before me a impressive gargantuan that had lasted the ages.  Another interesting aspect of this place was that it had this cobbled path way that had a smooth center.  This smooth pathway was known as the emperors path way.  This was used solely for past emperors of china or the current presidents.   They also had these little rock gardens that spoke of stereotypical China.  These rocks simply sat there and had moss growing on them, which sounds a little lame but they were really cool!  Another garden that they had had this tree which was being supported by a metal brace as the trunks were really thin.  The trunks on this tree had interlaced which made this tree a really cool sight as well (look the picture of the rock and tree). 

The next place we went was the Confucius family cemetery.  This cemetery is 8km in diameter at the present moment and houses 76 generations of Confucius family members.  While we were there half of us decided to go around the place on a tour bus while others decided to walk.  Unfortunately, the tour bus went by too fast for good pictures and pictures from this area are lacking.  However, you honestly didn’t miss much.  The tombs were just big earthen mounds that looked like big dirt piles…  Some of the tombs had statues around them but there weren’t many like that.  By the time were done at the  memorial it was time to turn in for dinner which consisted of yet another huge meal and then we saw a traditional Chinese show.  Now while many in the group enjoyed this show.  I found it to be boring.  It was this guy who used puppets.  Yet, these weren’t traditional puppets they were cut outs made of animal hide.  The guy would sit behind a screen with instruments and the puppets.  The screen was then illuminated from behind and you could see these cut out puppets.  After this show we returned to the hotel and crashed. 
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