On a recent Tomb-Sweeping Day holiday weekend, I took a badly needed day trip to 青城山 Qingcheng Mountain, northwest of Chengdu. The mountain is one of the most important centers of Daoism (道教) in China, as well as being a relaxing, beautiful spot to get away fromt he noise and pollution of the city. I’d visited the mountain once before, just after my arrival in China in 2006, during a hot, sticky summer when the cicadas were buzzing so loudly I imagined their deep, echoing sounds were coming from some otherworldly gigantic insects. I was with a group of teachers, but instead of climbing the mountainside steps, I took a cable car to near the top. This time I came by myself, taking the high-speed elevated train from the Chengdu North station about 40 minutes to the Qingcheng Shan station. A word of advice: on leaving the station and heading left to the bus area, don’t take the big city-bus type bus that costs 2 RMB; take the mini-bus, which will drop you off right at the ticket office for the mountain. As I found out the hard way, the big bus lets you off in a parking lot about 2.5 kilometers from the entrance to the mountain proper. It’s a pretty walk if you feel like it (or you can pay extra for the “sightseeing” tram the rest of the way), but since I was planning on
Qincheng Mountain, Sichuan, a couple of days ago.
View of the Himalaya, Tibet, approaching Everest Base Camp, 2010
Once I have internet connected in my apartment, and I don’t have to depend on coffee house wifi, I will share my thoughts about starting my M.A. program by distance learning. My current plan is to stay in Chengdu for one more year, until I’ve completed the three core modules for the M.A. in Teaching English for Academic Purposes. At that point I’ll be halfway through the degree program. At the same time, I plan to complete the DELTA certificate online, which will give me qualifications to pursue higher-level teaching jobs beginning in 2014. Sunday antiques market, Rome Plaza, Chengdu
The day after the earthquake, everything seems back to normal in Chengdu… dumplings seller fruit stand