Saturday, April 08, 2006


It has been roughly two weeks since the last post. They will now resume with more frequency---thanks for your patience and for stopping by. Some people take spring break trips to Disney, or to Daytona, or to Panama City. Our spring break was spent in Beijing, where our older daughter is spending seven months with the Chinese language (she is an Asian Studies major at Chapel Hill). Most pastors don't observe spring break, I know, as if falls during the very busy Lenten season, but this year the planets aligned around this time, with both daughters having a spring break at roughly the same time. And so off we went.

We left on Monday, March 27. The flight was a twenty-four hour experience, from Charlotte to Detroit to Toyko to Beijing. My wife had made the trip a few days earlier, and so the four of us connected on Tuesday afternoon. The next nine days were spent doing the following:

eating roast duck (a Beijing specialty) and Hot Pot
visiting the Forbidden City, which is massive
hiking up to the Great Wall
walking on Tienamen Square
taking in the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium
sampling contemporary Chinese art at the Red Gate Gallery
hiking into the grounds of the Summer Palace
making our way through the Lama Temple
mastering the Beijing Subway System
learning a few Chinese phrases
shopping at the antique market, the pearl market, and the silk market
having a fun meal with the four UNC students who were there
seeing Chinese acrobatics one evening
coming upon a superb Tex-Mex restaurant
wandering through Ritan Park

A scene I will remember: one morning Pam and I were taking a walk and we found ourselves on a winding path that went on for several blocks. We then began to hear birds singing, and we discovered that a number of men had brought their birds, in cages, and hung them in proximity to each other in the trees. It was a very interesting experience to hear the beautiful music and I wondered about how such a practice had emerged and what it meant for those gathered.

I will write more later about China. It is an overwhelming country in many ways. For now it is good to be home, and to be entering into the meaning and mystery of Holy Week.


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