Another Bike Ride in the Countryside

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BJ and I took another ride on our bikes. He has named his bike the Red Emperor. I have not decided on a firm name yet for mine. Either Black Stallion or Black Widow. Although, going down those mountain hills today, I realized that I need to severely adjust my brakes or else I will have to name my bike the Widowmaker. Ugghhhh. Anyways…BJ and I took about a 45 km ride today. We started off after lunch at my favorite noodle shop. As we were just beginning our trek, a Chinese friend (Aaron)contacted us and wanted to go with us. So, we had about a 30 minute delay waiting for him to arrive. Of course, he said he would only be 10 minutes. Love that Chinese time. I know now why Chinese people do not use times zones and Day-Light Savings time. The whole country would be in a state of total confusion. Just a joke…maybe…

BJ mentioned that we were going to go through the route we had taken previously, but take a side road that might lead us to a temple he had seen. Aaron knew of the temple, but took us a different route. Our first task was getting over a large mountain road hill. It is a busy road used by city folks. If you have ever seen Chinese people drive here, you know that using this two lane road with very little shoulder is not a wise move. Not to mention the sheer upgrade of this road was hard. We were on the main road for about an hour. Luckily, once we were off the mountain road and on the local highway, there was a very large shoulder for us to ride on. But, there was not much to look at. At least, not like our previous ride. And, there were more hills along the way. Overall, it was a good ride for exercise and chatting along the way.

The day was perfect for the ride too. It was cloudy all day with a rain system that was making its way into Shangrao later tonight. So, the temperature was not too bad. And, a cool breeze helped The only problem, as you might tell from my pictures, the haze made landscape pictures hard to take. Aaron and I were debating whether it was just normal haze or pollution haze. To me, they are about the same. But, with the rain system coming in, it might have been mostly regular weather haze.

We get to the side road that leads to the temple. It is a pretty easy trip, with a few hills we actually had to walk up with the bikes. We get to the temple and we see a sign saying there is another temple 2 km off another road. We decided that 2 km was not bad to go see an older one. Well, that was not such a great idea. It was all uphill. It was walking our bikes most of the way up. And, on the way down, the brakes on my bike would not do much in stopping me. BUT…it was great that we made the trip up. The views were wonderful. And, we made two new friend with the monks that were there.

Here are some notes about some pictures I took.

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If you read my blog, you know I am a sucker for Chinese architecture. Old, traditional buildings. I do not think you can get more authentic than this. This home and numerous others in the area are made from the dirt of the land compacted into bricks. And the roof has the old wooden struts and ceramic tiles. Sadly, these structures, even way out here in the country is being replaced by concrete multistory homes.

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We were on top of the mountain, looking at the scenery, and we noticed this fancy tomb/grave. The first picture is what my camera took. And, that was using the zoom lens too. You can see how hazy the day was. The second is a cleaned up version using the photo enhancer program I have on my computer. I usually have to enhance my photos due to the constant “China Haze” that exists nearly every day. China Haze is the propaganda term for Pollution I think.

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The highlight of the day was meeting these two Buddhist monks. Especially the older one. He had such personality and character. He spent time with us describing his faith, asking us about our faith, and doing comparison and contrasts to them. Aaron was our translator. And, I can ever be sure if Aaron took any liberties with the translations. But, the monk seemed very interested in our faiths and never disparaged them. Although, I though it was interesting how he said that they try to leave all the earthly wealth behind. Their faith is about giving unto others and not taking anything for themselves. Yet, they both had very nice Apple I-Phones that are very expensive for monks. It was truly an honor and a blessing for me to have had this discussion. It just proved to me that regardless of our faiths, we strive for a common goal. How we achieve that goal may be different in beliefs and rituals. But, the tenants of the faith, the scriptures of the holy books, and the willingness to give up part of our individualism for a high cause are the same. I would have loved to have sat with this monk and had a philosophical discussion with him.

Soapbox commentary here: If the religions of the world would learn to stop claiming that their way is the only way or the best way into heaven and to be with God…or whatever higher plane of existence they are striving for, there would be much more peace in the world. The faiths are more similar that different. The practice of the religion is what becomes the problem.

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