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Old 04-09-2013, 03:45 PM   #24421
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A mug of tea. The good stuff -- Rose China Black Tea. I have about a third of the cannister left.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:01 PM   #24422
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Away out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,
And they call the wind Maria

Maria blows the stars around
And sends the clouds aflyin
Maria makes the mountains sound
Like folks were up there dying

Maria
Maria
They call the wind Maria

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eHicAB75KE )

Good morning, everyone! An ugly old woman on a bicycle just blew past my window! I think I must be in Kansas! Big storm coming..... But we're dry inside, so I can enjoy Ahmad's "English Breakfast" tea, and some home-made croissants. Friday I'll start on my power walking again, and cut back on calories, back to below 900 a day (I'm shooting for 75kg this time,) so I want to get in all my goodies today and tomorrow. I'd start today but I caught a cold the other day and I don't want to stress my body until I feel better. Besides, I want my goodies.

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Enjoying the last of my morning coffee and listening to the wind chimes go crazy in the high winds here. Not nearly as melodious as with gentler winds.
When I lived in California I had wonderful bamboo wind chimes outside my window. In Thailand we had shell wind chimes outside our window. But here in Japan our windows face south, and as Fire is the Feng Shui attribute to that direction, we'd need to use metal wind chimes and I don't care for the sound they make. So instead, I use a computer wind chime program... God bless this modern age!

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A mug of tea. The good stuff -- Rose China Black Tea. I have about a third of the cannister left.
China Black is a great tea. When we can find a good purveyor, it's one of my favorites. I've been out of it for a while now. 'Fortnum & Mason' used to put out a great China Black, but it's waaaay too expensive to get it shipped here these days. I know that they sell in the shops in Thailand, so I'm content knowing that in less than two months we can be drinking it again!

Time for one more mug of Ahmad's 'English Breakfast' tea!


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Old 04-09-2013, 09:04 PM   #24423
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Hot here tonight! Sipping Campari & soda in a tall glass of ice cubes whilst watching the lawn grow! My back is almost recovered enough for me to haul out the mower!
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:48 AM   #24424
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A week ago our high temperature was 46 F, it was windy, and if it wasn't raining it was just a lull between rains.

Today, the high temperature was 86 F, it was sunny and mostly calm.



(Almost forgot! Just a small glass of OJ.)

Last edited by cromag; 04-10-2013 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Forgot my cup!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:12 AM   #24425
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
<snip> When I lived in California I had wonderful bamboo wind chimes outside my window. In Thailand we had shell wind chimes outside our window. But here in Japan our windows face south, and as Fire is the Feng Shui attribute to that direction, we'd need to use metal wind chimes and I don't care for the sound they make. So instead, I use a computer wind chime program... God bless this modern age!
<snip>

Stitchawl
I use to have bamboo wind chimes, but they kept breaking due to the wind each year. I now have the metal ones and my favorite is tuned to a D major (or is it minor? one of those). The sound is beautiful with a gentler breeze. It is north facing but the winds from east/west and west/east are not great for anything not made of metal. What is the Feng Shui attribute for my north facing patio?

Waiting for my coffee to brew and thinking about what I would like to have as a snack with it.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:21 AM   #24426
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(excerpts from my travel journal; please excuse bad grammar and others...a bit of background...sketchy wifi to check all)

(end 07-04)
Dinner at the hotel in the Chrysanthem room, a private dining room with a one large round table with a movable center( a lazy Susan). Adjacent a small kitchen, a restroom and a private waiter. Egg/tomato soup, egg omelette and tomato and greens, tea. Not as expensive as I thought.

(08-04 to Jiygun by train)
A Chinese breakfast and off on the road. The night temperature is -4C and the wind is fierce. By the 8.32 hour train we roll through the bare, flat Gobi desert.There is a fine layer of snow on some places, and I see a huge windpark.
After 6 hours travelling I'm in Jiygunt and out of the desert. There is little time left to see the sights, but as I'm here.... *off to see the very end of China's Great Wall, which used to mark the end of it's civilization: the western gateway of China.*

The original Great Wall begins at Shanhaiguan, near the Yellow See, under the Qin dynasty (221-207 B.C.). There after it links the other existing walls of independent kingdoms and is interspersed with natural defenses (precipitous mountains). In the days of Mao Zedong he encourages to use the free building materials of the wall, which is still done. Parts of the wall are now restored or rebuild, as China want to reclaim it's cultural history.

It is a beautiful sight to see this light brown wall, build by the Ming dynasty, curling upwards the mountain peak; at the very end two watch towers. I'm impressed to walk actually on it.
This same Ming- dynasty builds an ancient fort here in 1372 as one of the defining points of the Silk Road. Inside are several pagoda like buildings for administration, sleeping quarters, weaponry and such. All reconstructed how it used to be. And I see a temple with scowling, really ugly fierce- looking gods, for whom incense is burned..

An exhausting day, but the show goes on; caught a cold and an early night. Tomorrow up at five.

(09-04 Lnzhōu by train )
The 7.12 hour train rolls through the Hexi corridor; the snowpeaked Qlin Shān range on the right and the Mzōng( horse mane) and Lngshu(dragon) ranges on the left. A cosy heated compartment welcomes me, with a thermos and a pink silk rose in a tiny vase.
For hours there's no sign of human life in this huge light brown country. It looks dry, the land, and only occasionally I see plots of farmland( rice, I think) bordered by trees, surrounded by low earth walls. It takes about 8 hours to get to Lnzhu.

Lnzhōu or Golden City (pop.3,616.163) is the capital and largest city of the Gansu province. Hundreds of men sit in the square in front of the station on tiny chairs, playing cards, or they just hang around with a foldable chair on the arm. I see bycicles and little tricycle mopeds. It is warmer here: 16 C. No veils for the women around any more. In a park near the hotel men fly their multicolored kites and women practice a dance with brightly colored fans.

Bananas and a beer from a nearby shop is my dinner. I'm not going nowhere else today, but tomorrow I'll see Xih's famous buddhist Labrang monastery.

Religion/ philosophy in China
Buddhism is founded in India around the 5th century B.C. In China it converges with Taost philosophy. Besides Buddhism, two important philosophies are important in China. The three mix with the ancient animistic spirits, the fox- spirits, Chinese ghosts, dragons etc.
The oldest is Taosm, which predates Buddhism; a difficult concept to grasp. It draws from the ' Classic of the way and it's Power', by Taote/Dod Jing, written down by Laotzu in the 6 th century. It tries to figure out the unknowable and indescribable principle of the universe, the Dao. It supports the allowing of things to naturally occur without any interference.
Then Confucianism, which is the core of Chinese society for the past 2000 years. It strives for social harmony and the common good. It is based upon teachings of Confucius, a 6-th century B.C. philosopher.

(10-04 Lnzhōu to Xih by bus)
A welcome from a beautiful slender girl in a red kimono and a breakfast buffet of about a fifty eatables to choose from: different colors of rice, sweet patato, about ten kind of vegetables, different steamed and filled dumplings, fried eggs, fried and cooked meats and many others. I'm quite proficient now with the chopsticks; manage to eat my dry yellow rice and peas....

A 4-hour ride through the mountains today and then two days for sightseeing.
( as usual typing this along the way on my iPad).These mountains may look bare, but at the foot there's fertile soil; squares of farmland, all walled by earth so it can be irrigated at will. Peasants with yellow coned or broad round straw hats manually work the land, which have been divided into rectangular strips, covered by cotton. Donkey's plowing the field. Hothouses are here as well: at two ends a half circle wall of brow/yellow clay and plastic in between. Scattered among them are tiny brown houses with bright blue or yellow doors and elegant slanted roofs. Occasionally I see a mosque, green/ white, with a Chinese 'twist', also with golden domes. And, btw, this bus stops every two hours and not every five or six as from Kashgar to Turpan,so thumbs up for the driver.

And then a tiny village which seems to exist of two long roads, bordered by tiny shops and people living in or over them. Building is going on in this area as well as industry. Men with the white muslim scullcaps skirt the roads on their heavily laden mopeds, honking, honking.
Soon we'll be entering Tibetan country; the mountains are higher and greener. Slowly the bus crawls over the road and wriggles itself through narrow tunnels. Roads aren't finished yet and the existing two lane has to handle all usual and construction traffic.
By and by police posts, with (and this makes me reflect) next to it a construction of sandbags to take cover behind (?). By now I'm beginning to think this is more an expedition than a holiday.......

The bus arrives in Xih, which population(70,000) is a mix of Tbetan(50%), Han Chinese(40%), Hui(muslim) Chinese.
I' m in another world. First thing I see is red robed monks. The hotel has Tibetan lettering on its front and looks a mixture between Tibet and China. It is somewhat cold.
The room is decorated with woodwork, on the walls, bench and cupboards, and brightly decorated and painted. The wall is painted golden. There's a kind of platform for the beds, with a thin matrass to lie on and thick quilts to lie under; even the ceiling is covered with gold stamped red/yellow/blue/green tiled cloths. The most beautiful room I have ever had in an hotel till now; and all modern comfort. Well, o.k., I'll mention one thing: it smells......just hope that isn't tea with yak butter, as I have heard many an ugly story about that.
The corridor and the courtyard are decorated in the same beautiful manner and many red lanterns hang from the ceiling....enchanting, like some fairy tale.

The Labrang Monastery in Xih is one of the six major great monasteries of the Geluk (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism. The white walls and golden roofs of the complex shows a blend of Tibetan and Han architectural styles. The monastery contains 18 halls, six institutes of learning, a golden stupa, a sutra debate area, and houses nearly 60,000 sutras. There are about 1000 monks in residence. In the Buddhist museum is a large collection of Buddha statues, sutras and murals.
Since 1709 it is the seat of a Tibetan power base, of the nearby Tibet, that strives to maintain regional autonomy. Among the monastery's turbulent history: an attack from the Chinese muslim warlords in 1917, a genocidal war against Ngolok Tibetan in 1928 and ethnic rioting between Hui Chinese and Tibetan in the past and as recent as 2010.

Buddhism in China has been under some form of state control through most of it's history. In 1949 Buddhist institutions in China submit to the Communist authority.
Tibetan Buddhism is another story as it has a stronger political aspect: Tibet's autonomy.
In 1950, when China seizes Tibet, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, surrenders to Mao's power. In 1959 the Dalai Lama leaves Tibet and goes to live in exile in Dharamsala, India.

During the 10-year Cultural Revolution of 1966, Mao believes that after destroying all symbols of the old and of the religious culture, Marxism will naturally fill the void. A few Chinese Buddhist monasteries become state- operated. The number of monks at the Labrang monastery declines from 4000 at it's peak to 1200, as it closes from 1958-1970.

After Maos death in 1976 there is a shift in Chinese policies that includes freedom to practice religion. Beijing is interested in the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet because that will end the international dialogue over the Tibet Question and persuade the Tibetans to accept Chinese domination. But the Dailai Lama pleads for human rights for the Tibetan people in international councils and gets the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Since 1990 the relations between China and the Dalai Lama are worse. China has a hardening attitude towards Tibetan culture, religion and culture.

I've walked a bit around this ' town in a town'; photographed a 101 buddhist monks. Young monks were playing ball. Many pelgrims walk the stupa's and turn the dharma wheel; a way to symbolize the Buddha's teachings.
I'm not a Buddhist, but this is fascinating from a cultural point of view. Tomorrow some serious sightseeing!

In my cup: nescaf

Last edited by desertblues; 04-10-2013 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:08 AM   #24427
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:33 AM   #24428
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desertblues, your trip is sooooo outrageous!!!!!! And your writing about it 'almost' makes me feel as if I'm there... but not enough! I want to BE there!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreams View Post
I use to have bamboo wind chimes, but they kept breaking due to the wind each year. I now have the metal ones and my favorite is tuned to a D major (or is it minor? one of those).
I'll guess that it's tuned to a Pentatonic scale. That's the norm for the brass wind chimes. I love that sound but often have to dampen the chimes with plugs of tissue as they can often get too loud.

Quote:
It is north facing but the winds from east/west and west/east are not great for anything not made of metal. What is the Feng Shui attribute for my north facing patio?
'Water' is the Feng Shui element associated with North, to to INcrease chi from that direction use metal wind chimes. To DEcrease the chi from the north, use ceramic or clay wind chimes. It all depends on your own personal 'group.' If you are an 'East Group' person you'll want to increase the chi from the north. If you are a 'West Group' person you'd need to decrease it. If you don't know which group you are in, go here.

Late afternoon now, and time for unbranded keemun tea!


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Old 04-10-2013, 02:37 PM   #24429
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Good morning, all! A wet day but it appears to be clearing finally, and there's hope for tomorrow. Meanwhile, a "little" project for a friend's company. Little in $$, but a good deal more than little in amount of effort. But I'm treating it as a resume piece.

As for my cup: Scottish Breakfast tea to go with the blustery conditions outside.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:05 PM   #24430
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First mug of tea. Sitting in my armchair while I vicariously tour western China.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:49 PM   #24431
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Nothing at the moment. Perhaps a last Coke Zero for the day later on.

I had my security interview today. It all went well, as far as I can tell.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:32 PM   #24432
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
<snip> I'll guess that it's tuned to a Pentatonic scale. That's the norm for the brass wind chimes. I love that sound but often have to dampen the chimes with plugs of tissue as they can often get too loud.
It was a gift from my parents and they are long tubes; The whole thing is about 4 feet in length. They are not super loud, to me, but have a lower beautiful tone. Oh, the center disk is made of wood.

Quote:
'Water' is the Feng Shui element associated with North, to to INcrease chi from that direction use metal wind chimes. To DEcrease the chi from the north, use ceramic or clay wind chimes. It all depends on your own personal 'group.' If you are an 'East Group' person you'll want to increase the chi from the north. If you are a 'West Group' person you'd need to decrease it. If you don't know which group you are in, go here.

Late afternoon now, and time for unbranded keemun tea!

Stitchawl
I'm East so I have lots of metal chimes and a large pond in back. Oh, and two metal patio tables.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CRussel View Post
Good morning, all! A wet day but it appears to be clearing finally, and there's hope for tomorrow. Meanwhile, a "little" project for a friend's company. Little in $$, but a good deal more than little in amount of effort. But I'm treating it as a resume piece.

As for my cup: Scottish Breakfast tea to go with the blustery conditions outside.
It never hurts to have more on the resume. Good Luck on finding a long term position.

Sourdough bread on my plate, although I am craving garlic bread from Costco, and fresh coffee in my cup.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #24433
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Well I left my happy home to see what I could find out
I left my folk and friends with the aim to clear my mind out
Well I hit the rowdy road and many kinds I met there
Many stories told me of the way to get there

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out

Well in the end I'll know, but on the way I wonder
Through descending snow, and through the frost and thunder
Well, I listen to the wind come howl, telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robin's song saying not to worry

So on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know, and I'm on the road to find out

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMrNVB-zx0I )


Good morning, everyone. Sun's up. Looks OK... Big mug of Ahmad's "English Breakfast" tea to drink, and a tuna sandwich to eat. What an odd breakfast! Hey, a little variety never hurt anyone, right?

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Originally Posted by dreams View Post
I'm East so I have lots of metal chimes and a large pond in back. Oh, and two metal patio tables.
Just having that 'water feature' (as it's called in Feng Shui terms) in the North is a major good fortune draw! Adding the wind chimes and metal tables adds to that too. I used to have a large waterfall in my entry way in my house in Thailand. I'm looking forward to getting another when we go back. Felicity would jump up on the rocks and sit beside it for hours when the sun was in the right position. Between the sound of the moving water, the Alpha vibes of a contented feline, and good companionship, it made being there very pleasant!


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Old 04-11-2013, 01:17 AM   #24434
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I love the sound of my waterfall (when I turn the pond on), but it costs too much to run it all the time. I actually hate my pond about 3 times a year when it has to be totally cleaned out. I have to climb down inside to finish cleaning it. It use to have koi, but it was too much to keep it clean unless I ran the filter all the time. I had a small koi pond in front and that was easier to keep up, but after about 5 years the fish started to disappear from it. We never did figure out what was happening to them and it became too expensive to keep replacing them.. those koi are expensive! I finally filled it in with dirt and planted rose bushes and ferns. Much easier to take care of.

My front door, blue and a white storm door, faces south. I was given a Thai wood carved elephant from ex in-laws and told to face the rear end toward the door for good luck and wealth. Supposedly wealth come in the door and doesn't go out.

Waiting for my coffee to brew and making a plate of sourdough bread right now.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:06 AM   #24435
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreams View Post
My front door, blue and a white storm door, faces south. I was given a Thai wood carved elephant from ex in-laws and told to face the rear end toward the door for good luck and wealth. Supposedly wealth come in the door and doesn't go out.
The Feng Shui attribute of South is fire. Putting anything wood in front will 'nourish' fire and bring good energy. But putting a water feature in the South will be destructive to fire, and as you saw, didn't work out very well. The Thais consider 'Chang' (the elephant) to be the best symbol of good luck and prosperity (unless of course, it is white...) Having it in your South-facing doorway can only be good!!
But for wealth via Feng Shui, you need one of these inside your front door, facing inwards. It's a three-legged frog with a coin in its mouth sitting on a pile of gold bars. Guaranteed to make you rich!

Time now for an afternoon cup of East India Company's "Keemun Downy Bud!" Nice!


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