20100509

Ancient China

Our hotel in Hangzhou sits right next to the Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world. I could hardly believe I was running along the river, dodging willow trees on while being captured by the traditional Chinese architecture this morning. Something so mundane yet exotic as if I was being teleported back in time. The Grand Canal starts at Beijing, passing through different provinces and ends in Hangzhou, spanning 1,776 km. I have a novel idea that If I run a marathon (42k) everyday, I could cover the whole distance in 42.3 days. Any takers?

Later the day, we visited a replica of Qin Dynasty Palace. Words could not express how I felt. I held my camera up but didn’t even know how to capture the place. I looked through the viewfinder but couldn’t find a view that would do its justice. I put my camera down and realized no photo could capture the spirit of the place, mind you it’s only a replica. The scale is breathtaking. The palace for the Emperor is gigantic yet the living compound and market for ordinary people is so intimate. I love the roof and roof lines, the courtyard, and the narrow streets. Why am I not born 4000 years ago? I would be a scholar, memorizing poems and stories, practicing calligraphy and have plain buns everyday because I wouldn’t be able to afford anything else. (I have been told that the social status of a scholar is not much higher than the prostitutes.) Or I would be an architect again - if there was such a thing - and teach the generations to come about the wood joints that don’t require any nail, and the meaning of all the elements. Anyone wants to be teleported back with me?

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