Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, April 06, 2009


Warm, balmy day today. Saturday was tomb sweeping day, but the holiday is today. It was a beautiful day for a hike, but I decided to forgo it, because I figured the mountain would be crowded. I decided to take my laptop and head for the coffee bar, but Grace called and wondered if I wanted to go with her to Qianmen. I usually take the subway, but today we took the 690 down there. The new mall area is mainly a bunch of empty shops. They are quite new, and most of them haven't been rented yet. But the side street goes back to the Qing dynasty. We found a youth hostel along the way and enjoyed some afternoon tea. I don't know how the new street is going to develop....it is maybe a little "oversold." I didn't see many of the new buildings occupied. But the old street is interesting. But always a mixture of the old and new. Old, old buildings and new, new hucksters selling tourist trinkets. It's is not really an old community, like Kashgar, where people still follow traditional ways.

This evening, I met with May again to continue my study of the Three Kingdoms. I had intended to meet every week, but I have been studying for an hour or and hour and a half every day, and I am finding that it takes about two weeks to study the stuff we go over in the 90 minutes we meet together. May keeps telling me that this word or that word is archaic and is not longer in use. That's to be expected, I suppose, given that we are studying a classical work. It was written in the 14th Century, but deals with the late Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period (second and third centuries). Believe it or not, I found a character that May had never seen before. When you are studying Classical literature, that's not unusual, even given that May has a major in Chinese literature, and is certified to teach it in middle school. I have a screen and stylus on my Chinese dictionary, so I thought I would identify it first, but May beat me to it. The character was from the name of an obscure place name in Hubei Province during the Late Han Dynasty.

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