You may have been wondering what we have been up to since our last Blog Item a week ago.. Well, let me inform you ! See- just when I had turned myself away from toying with my personal pages and just after I finally got down to some serious business with the new additions from China Intercontinental Press of Beijing to our Online Store, my concentration was broken once more by a flood of customers to my "Home-Business".
Yes people, that part of my odd life is still a continuing succes : DrBen.net in The Netherlands, a lasting business that helps fund this website for a large part. Mind you, I am not complaining about the cash-inflow, nor even about the excess hours I pulled this week, however … all of these random and instant orders do take away from building and realizing this website project. I do find this a pity sometimes.
Mind you – we still managed to make some changes for you. First of all, as mentioned the new book additions to our Online Store. Realising the first steps of a fresh deal we have struck last China Time with China Intercontinental Press in Beijing, there are many new book titles available from our Online Store. For internet retail – Check out the New Titles in the the Peoples Friendship Studies section, my favorite so far. Or find out about Tibet, Shanghai, Guilin and other parts and cities of the great country of China. Soon to be re-organized into somewhat more professional categories, all titles are already available for retail order from the store attached to this website. For wholesale orders on these books, please hold your breath untill Januari when we have all licences and paperwork worked out.
Other additions, mainly at random around this website are the additions of multiple new images, maps and scans from sites visited and photographed around North China. Currently 3 new raw report pages have been opened for Beijing, and one for Xian City of Shaanxi Province. Soon – additions from Datong and Chengde, both "near" Beijing. Yes, we are lagging far behind in both photos and in text, but that does not keep us from working, updating and trying to fix it all. Stay tuned, and have fun with our website project !
Let’s see how long it will take to get some of our latest photo-tours: Soong Ching Ling Residence, Mei Lanfang Former Home Museum, XizhiMen (Western) Church and MiaoYing Temple Online ?? I am curious – right now the photos from last china-photo-tour are still in Beijing, burned on CD-ROM and ready for shipping.
Meanwhile, I am still relishing holiday-photo’s and past experiences, so keep an eye on the personal pages with "Doc Ben in Thailand"-photos and the one with "Doc Ben in North-China 2005"-photos. I truely had great holiday in Thailand with my Tiny Caroline, very cozy and happy, of which I will soon add the story. Then, while awaiting my own photos (sent in mail from Beijing on CD-ROm), I keep marvelling at the landscape of North-Shansi Province in winter, tracing the Great Wall atop it’s ridge East of Datong, and .. my first steps on the ancient Silk and Tea Road. The Yungang Grottoes of Datong were a new jewel visit in doc ben’s growing memories (and photo!) collections! Truely magnificient, so many statues in age old grottoes, makes the old tales and images come alive, thinking back over 1000 years to older, now seems already sophisticated times of great mysticism and lonely travels across the large plains of North-China. Sigh- must have been grueling but magnificent to travel on the silk road in the old days. What was it like for, for instance, Marco Polo ?? For me it was great !
Mind you Datong IS listed in The Lonely Planet Guide to China, but is usually not listed in the itenerary of major tour-organisors.Datong is not a tourbus destination. This way I turned out to be one of only 2 westerners arriving in the city, the morning I arrived by train. Thereafter? It took me two whole days to find any other westerners, the 2 odd foreign business-like travellers at the Hotel Breakfast exempt. This alone made for an interesting experience, but .. finding the cities two main Monasteries (HuaYuan) completely deserted, was just the chance I had been hoping for! Thus I had all the time i required to photograph every single available detail of both of them. That is – accept for the Giant 1500 year old Clay Buddha, which is continually guarded and may not be photographed. Hmm-whhh, usually I photograph anyway, because I take China Reporting dead-serious, however… when the buddha is guarded by seriously awake chinese, then there is just no use in trying. I did get some shots of the other lesser buddha’s in the same hall, though. The guard made a short stop outside, so in such a large hall I could take my chance. In the 2nd (upper) HuaYuan Monastery it was more or less the same, accept for it’s interesting approach – tourism buddha bonanza with many gift shops in a restored street leading to a very old and ancient looking gate of considerable charm. A huge incense burner spewing flames, spreading a welcome warmth. and then the buying of a ticket from an old farmer-like man. The way inside is twice the beauty of the lower HuaYuan Monastery, the Temples and Ceramic Roof-decorations more gentile. My second day in Datong started out visiting this upper Monastery and finding myself once more almost alone, I recorded all details of this highly romantic place for this website and for history. All, accept the One large Buddha, hehehe. In fact all of the buddha’s in the large main hall, this time around… Too bad, however- as you can see: we have been working on a full presentation of small City Datong for you this time in china. Visit and see Datong. If only for the woodwork of their roofing, these rather old Monasteries are worth a visit.The clay statues in the main halls are sublime and anciet.Datong’s Yungang Grottoes with 1000’s of Buddha’s are unique ! Datong, in the dry loess lands of Northern Shanxi Province, is near Wu Tai Shan Holy Mountains and the Great Wall of China. Both are only short travels away for private travelers (No organized Bus!). For a real North-China experience lay your trail across Datong and travel on to Wu Tai Shan.