Yu Temple, Lan Ting Institute, and Pizza Hut?!?
Trip Start Jul 01, 2011
19Trip End Jul 16, 2011
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Where I stayed
Shaoxing University of Arts and Sciences Foreign Experts Building
What I did
Da Yu Mausoleum and Yu Wang Temple
Visited the Lan Ting institute for calligraphy
"The Temple and Mausoleum of Yu the Great border on the foot of beautiful Kuaiji Mountain. The buildings of the temple and mausoleum are located along a hilltop with one higher than the other and nestle against the green hills and belt-like waters. With red walls, black tiles, carved beams and painted rafters, they are large and magnificent . The King Yu's Stone- Tablet and Tombstone bear epitaphs to show people's respects to the legendary hero--Yu the Great who was supposed to have performed stupendous feats in controlling flood" (http://destination.yahtour.com/Zhejiang/zj-scenicspot/14298.shtml)
We only spent a little over an hour strolling through the grounds here, but as I said, the views here at the Da Yu Mausoleum and Yu Wang Temple were some of the best that I had seen anywhere on Earth
From here, most of the group was really hungry and fairly sick of eating Chinese food. I decided to go with rest of our group to the local Pizza Hut, there in Shaoxing. Most of the others had not been to a Pizza Hut in China, but I went while I was in Beijing, so I knew what to expect. My friends from USC, did not realize that Pizza Hut was such a fine dining experience. We all sat, happily chirping about what crazy, specialty pizzas we were getting (I decided to go with the shrimp stuffed crust again). Some of us ordered pizza with octopus topping, some of us stayed traditional and simply ordered pepperoni. Not only could you get pizza that was very specifically designed for a Chinese person’s palate, you could order drinks the like of which you’d have to be in a fancy, upscale bar is the states to acquire. Soft lighting, servers smartly clad in matching/pressed uniforms all in an ambience that is unlike any pizza joint back in the states
From there, we went a brief shopping adventure in a local mall, before making our way back to the university. Robert, Thalea and I stopped off at a music shop on the way back, while Robert tried out of couple different er hu’s to find one to his liking. From there, the group went on to The Lan Ting Calligraphy Institute.
“Lan Ting is located at the foot of Lanzhu Mountain, in southwest Shaoxing, 13 km from the downtown. Small as it is, it is ancient and elegant. It is well-known among the Chinese because of Wang Xizhi, the Calligraphic Sage in Chinese history. Wang Xizhi once dwelled and wrote the famous Lan Ting Ji Preface in Lan Ting. On Mar. 3rd, 353 A.D., Wang Xizhi gathered together with 41 personages. They wrote poems while drinking in Liushang Pavilion inside Lan Ting. Totally they wrote 37 poems, and Wang Xizhi wrote a preface for the collection of poems. That’s the famous Lan Ting Ji Preface. It was and is considered as the greatest calligraphic work of all time.” (http://www.uchinatravel.com/Shaoxing-Attractions/Lan%20Ting/)
Not being able to really read Chinese, it’s often difficult for me to look at calligraphy and understand if it’s good or bad
“According to this old Chinese saying, Chinese calligraphy is an art of expression. Expressing the abstract beauty of lines and rhythms, calligraphy is a reflection of emotions, moral integrity, educational level, accomplishments in self-cultivation, intellectual tastes and approach to life. Chinese calligraphy is the art of turning square Chinese characters into expressive images by the responsiveness of rice paper and speed and pressure of a pointed Chinese brush. Calligraphy or shufa, is one of the four basic skills and disciplines of the Chinese literati, together with painting, stringed musical instruments and board games. Calligraphy is a mental exercise that coordinates the mind and body. It is a most relaxing yet highly disciplined exercise for physical and spiritual well-beinghttp://www.chinesecultureinstitute.com/blog/festival-of-chinese-calligraphy-20110410/)
Even though I had a hard time connecting to some of the calligraphy on an intellectual level, it was easy to appreciate its beauty on a purely ascetic level. I even had to buy a calligraphy scroll here (no idea what it says), but it’s quickly become one of my favorite souvenirs.
In the evening, Robert, Thalea and I got together for a long night of jamming on some Chinese music together and having some deep discussions. We had to cut it short at about 1am, because we were all leaving at around 7:00 am to hop on the bus and head to Hangzhou. Like I said before, I really love the city of Shaoxing, its denizens, scholarly history and surreal scenery and I really don’t want to leave. But, as Hunter S. Thompson used to write, “Buy the ticket, take the ride”. Every day of this trip has just gotten better and better, so I’m sure that I will also love the cities of Hangzhou and Shanghai, just as much as I’ve loved Beijing and Shaoxing.