SETTLING IN: Day 54, Tuesday October 22 2013

We’d been recommended Hero Mountain as a place to explore, so we made this our Tuesday adventure. We got there by flagging down a cab and then pointing to the location on the map. We were met by a large monument featuring soldiers standing guard in front of the mountain. Beside it a wide staircase led up through rows and rows of graves lined beneath the trees.

It was peaceful, beautiful, and sad at the same time. The Chinese buried their dead in a place where scars could heal.

As we neared the top of the staircase we saw a man hop over the side, and take off into the bushes. “Should we follow him?” I asked Nate.

“Sure we could,” he replied.

Soon we realized that the man was not just bush whacking. There was an intricate network of paths before us. We chose one to follow. It led us onto the edge of a cliff from where we could look over the city.

We passed through a gazebo where a couple was napping with their dog. We continued on not wanting to disturb them. The mountain was covered in martial arts paraphernalia. A lot of trees had fabric wrapped around them for punching and kicking. Nate and I punched them lightly and determined that using them as punching bags would hurt a lot. 

I admired the respect they had for the trees in China. Rather then cut a tree down they would support it or build around it, and on Hero Mountain there were many occurrences where trees grew out of the middle of the path.

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There were two buildings on top of the mountain, which Nate suggested might be dojos. They were under construction however so we could not be sure. There were a lot of workers around fixing up the building and laying stone at it’s base. On our way down we passed a man carrying up big cinder blocks.

We took a different route out and ended up by the morning market (which was closed because it was not the morning). We poked through some of the stores finding that a lot of them contained art supplies or artwork. We ended up buying some paintings as gifts, and a big bamboo painting for our wall.

The one we got for us is a massive painting that stretches from one end of our couch to the other. It is of a bamboo forest and is done in light green. Each branch or leaf is done in a single stroke, the shadow painted on while the picture was still wet. You can see the layers underneath, and the darker strokes overtop. Gazing at the picture you immediately feel as if you are standing in a bamboo forest and can almost imagine the patterns of light shining through leaves that would fall all around you and cause cool dappled patterns to dance across your skin.

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