Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We headed out from our apartment in Bangkok in search of dinner earlier tonight. I had identified a nice vegetarian/vegan restaurant and based on the map it looked like a 20 minute walk. As is often the case with TripAdvisor, the maps are just plain wrong. We ended up at a cement transfer station with two friendly stray dogs and a night watchmen.

We turned around and headed the other direction and came upon a restaurant that seemed inviting. It is a restaurant based on Japanese barbecue called Shibuya Shabu. One orders plates of sliced meat (raw), raw seafood, etc. and then grills it over charcoal in a BBQ embedded in the center of the table. From time to time the staff changes out the charcoal and adjusts the height of the grill.

Instead of a vegetarian Thanksgiving we ended up with salmon, thin sliced pork, bacon, chicken, mushrooms and miso soup! Yet another lesson in being willing to adjust on the fly and enjoy where we are.

We had a long list of things to be thankful for. One that rang especially true was all of the great support and enthusiasm from all of you as we experience this adventure. No one has told us we are crazy (in our presence) and it feels great to have folks cheering us on. Thanks from all of us, we toasted you as we grilled our Thanksgiving feast.

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Some of the Places I Visited in China as Part of our Trip Around the World

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The Buddhist Temple

A few days ago we went to the Wild Goose Pagoda and learned about Buddhist history and their religion. On the tour we went to the different shrines and heard the monks chant. We learned that the Pagoda leaned to one side because they had an earthquake a long time ago and when they built it they made the foundation so that it could move but not fall all the way over. It was built during the Tang Dynasty. During the Tang Dynasty one of the emperors was Buddhist so the religion became very popular in China.

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The best bit of the tour was the art gallery at the end. The guide taught us calligraphy and we got to do some, then a bamboo artist painted, guess what? Bamboo!




We got to keep that, and then we picked out chops of our zodiac animals and the master carved our English and Chinese names into them!

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The Pagoda was full of culture and history and was amazing to see.





The Terracotta Warriors

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Earlier that day we saw the Terracotta Warriors. It was interesting that the  Emperor that built them built them out of fear, not ego.  He built them so he could continue to rule in the afterlife.  After the soldiers were built he buried the people who put the soldiers  there alive so no one knew where they were. He also killed the engineers who discovered chrome plating so we had to rediscover it thousands of years later. When he was 13 years old he began construction on his tomb. A few years after he died a peasant revolt rushed his tomb and stole the weapons from it and then burned and destroyed the Terracotta Warriors. The first time they were found was when a farmer was digging a well and found an arm. The other farmers told him it wasn’t important but he put the pieces he found in a wheelbarrow and took them to officials in the town. They recognized how important his find was. Many years later he stopped being a farmer and spent his days at the museum signing books.

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The Great wall

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The same emperor that built the the Terra Cotta Army started the construction process of the Great Wall of China.  Qin Shi Hungdi built the wall to defend the Chinese Empire from the Mongolian Nomads of the north. The Mongals were mounted soldiers who lived off the land though when they could not they reverted to stealing, burning, and pillaging the Northern Chinese villages. The Great Wall was also known as the great, or longest, grave yard. When workers died on the job they just buried them in the wall and built around them. Once it was finished they had a special system to signal the army; one signal fire meant 50 men, two signal fires meant 100, and so on. The Great Wall took over 500 years to finish building.

The wall in it of it self is not very high but most of it is built on mountains that were steep and treacherous. The mountains provided little fast escape for the soldiers but made it nigh impossible to scale, grapple, destroy, climb or, mount ladders on.  When we went to the great wall the it was incredibly crowded even though we had requested not to go to crowded areas. When we asked the guide why we had come where she said because it was the most important part but she never told us why. The Great Wall, like the Terracotta Warriors, was built out of fear, fear of the Huns, rather than ego as many people thought it was.