Today’s absolutely beautiful…It demands to be enjoyed. I’ve my fingers crossed tomorrow is just as splendid (and the forecast suggests as much) because I’m planning on taking a day trip out to Chan Fo Shan (Thousand Buddha Mountain) tomorrow and just hang. Pack a lunch and my camera, hope it will be dead on a Tuesday and yeah…Chill. I need a day to do just nothing and veg out; I’ve had such a busy schedule lately. My ALWAYS classes have been going more or less swimmingly – I’ve been having a mildly difficult weekend the past few times as my schedule’s out of whack due to the weird days off that randomly pop up with almost no notice. Most people would think that would be nothing to complain about, but it kind of is. See, I still have to make up those classes later, so I’ll have to cram some serious lessons during the summer. Plus, it makes my lesson plans funky and no longer in sync across the weeks…Meh.
So Saturday I have off, now, too. I’ll have to think of something special to do with that – perhaps a day trip out to TaiShan, my namesake. It would be great to take a photo safari. Photo safaris are one of my favorite things in the world – walk leisurely and just take in the world. Problem is, they’re a single activity, no question in my mind. Even fellow photographers tend to get irritable with me because I just walk too slow for them. I really have to examine every angle of stuff to find the best way to photograph it, and if its not interesting for other people, they get impatient with me. So photo safari is a singular activity, which suits me fine. Maybe TaiShan – I did do LaoShan during my trip to Qingdao a few weeks back…Maybe I can get all five sacred mountains under my belt by the end of two years.
Laoshan was beautiful – rolling hills surrounded by wreaths of fog, pine forests, and people selling beer and snacks every time the stairs would level off enough for someone to pitch a stall. Ahh…Majestic. TaiShan is worse, I hear. But HuaShan’s the one I’m really excited about. Apparently its the most dangerous climb in the world and a bunch of the other teachers and I want to make the journey sometime in the summer or fall. I’ll be sure to post before I leave, so if things are quiet here for a month afterward, you’ll know why.
My Mandarin has hit an interesting snag. I’m trying to figure out how to say "what’s up," and both my Chinese Mandarin teacher and every book I’ve seen say it’s "Nihao ma?" And hello is "Ni Hao." I can’t make tone marks on my computer but the phrases are more or less identical. But whenever I try with "Nihao ma?" people get confused. One guy even laughed and said "hello? hello? hello?" repeatedly. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…I think that it has something to do with the rule that two third tones in a row ("ni" and "hao" both have third tones) makes the first third a second tone), but I’m not sure if that applies to the regular "Ni Hao" as well. My ear suggests it does, and since that’s also how I’ve been saying it, I remain confused. "Chi (pronounced chir) le ma?" is the informal version (literally: Have you eaten? but actually means "what’s up?"). I might try that but it seems to be more of a greeting between friends.
I’m having a "fuck, I’m really in China" moment. It’s great. Time to get cleaned up so I can spar with my buddies down by Black Dragon Springs. What an apt name for the place we’re learning Kung Fu.