A gallery of reflections from a trip to Guilin China in May of 2019. Beautiful area, May is rainy season, so there were plenty of reflections, even on the walkways. It is on my list to go back at a different time of year. Alas.
A more philosophical reflection
Answer versus solution
I remember a conversation with my father-in-law where he, a PhD mechanical engineer, expounded on the difference between a solution and an answer. I believe the conversation came up with regard to some, rather esoteric, topic related to computers and their ability to solve problems, numerical integration maybe? it was an awfully long time ago. His point, which was totally correct, was that the computer can give you an answer, but not a solution.
Tai’an is at the base of the sacred mountain Taishan, where the emperors would go to the Dai Miao temple at the base of the mountain then to the top to perform certain rites. I was really impressed that they went up until I learned that they were carried up on a litter. I am very impressed by the guys who carried the emperor up. There are some super steep areas. My son was quite relieved that I chose to take the cable car (after I learned that the emperors didn’t do it!). He admitted later that he was trying to figure out how to carry both our backpacks and prevent me from falling.
Different views of Shibaozhai. A very impressive sight whichever way you look at it. The entrance to it would have been underwater once they filled the reservoir for the three gorges dam, but they built a coffer dam to protect it.
There is not a vanishing point in the above photo, but the buildings appear smaller farther away. That’s probably accurate: Chonqing is huge and the urban area extends as far as you can see.
The next one,taken a couple of years earlier, is downstream from Chongqing city. The water is brown because of flooding, when the river runs normally it is green.
I have always loved the elegance of cable stay suspension bridges. When I was in college, a very, very long time ago I was part of a team that built a model cable stay bridge that won a contest (a nerdy kind of contest where you were judged on things like displacement and strength over weight, as opposed to total weight, although there was a minimum load it had to bear.) These bridges along the Yangtze reminded me of that.
Yishan is an interesting place. It is not as famous or tall as Taishan, but it was important in the traditional worship and the emperors did come here for some rites. It is known as “little Taishan”. Fortunately the climb was not as intimidating either.
We were really fortunate because we caught a re-enactment of one of the imperial rites at Dongzhen at the base of the mountain when we came back down.
It was interesting to see how the things we see were used.
To grasp of the magnitude of the terracotta warriors in Xian you have to look at both the overall installation (the picture below is one of at least three areas).
and close up. There are many different figures with different hair styles, facial features and positions…and they were all painted. The number of craftsmen who worked on it must have rivaled the size of an army!
Putting it all together in the first place was an amazing feat. Rebuilding it is even more of one.
Crafts people are still working on it now, rebuilding the figures for future generations to appreciate. It has to be the ultimate jigsaw puzzle.
Notice how different the size of the incense burner appears in the two photos?
This is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, China. Although the Wiki says that the Chinese name actually means “big swan goose”. From the top you get views that make you realize how very large the city of Xian is.
I visited in 2014 with my dad. So glad we had a private guide: he was tired and I was able to park him with the guide and climb to the top. So glad I got to see the city from that perspective.
Another perspective: Sometimes traveling with an older parent can be similar to traveling with a child. They both get tired and fussy in the late afternoon! Ice cream is often a good solution for that.
Two different views from the middle of the same road (but at different intersections, and in different years) near where my sun used to live in Weifang, China. Because the street was so wide I often wound up having to wait for another walk light in the middle.
I was amazed at the size of Tianamen square. The people look small and the lines of lamp posts and fountains marching off to the large buildings that look small in the distance. Appropriately (since “tian” means sky) the sky also helps to give perspective, the one thing big enough to stand up to its magnitude.