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My Roman Catholic upbringing taught that while Jesus Christ took on human form he was still God. This belief is fundamental to Catholicism. I’ve often heard my Asian friends say they go to the temple to give reverence to the ancestors. I always understood this to mean that they were paying their respect to immortal beings or gods. It wasn’t until today that I realized that in Taoism, mortals could be deified and worshipped as gods. Guess this makes sense, as a big part of Taoism is the harmony between humans and the universe!

Evidently this deification process was happening as late as the 12th century. Che Kung, who a great general during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) was deified for his devotion to the people of Sha Tin.

It is thought that he had the ability to suppress plagues and many believe that Che Kung was responsible for keeping the Sung Dynasty alive by providing safe passage for Emperor Bing and his brother during the rebellions in Southern China. It is because of this that many now considered him a god.

There are two temples dedicated to Che Kung in Hong Kong… the most famous being the Che Kung Miu near Tai Wai, in Sha Tin District, New Territories. The temple complex is once again undergoing renovations.

Throughout the temple are pinwheels. It is believed that good luck will come upon those that spin the pinwheel.

Sunday 02/20/2009

Well after having my trip extended due to the many issues facing the users in China we were obligated to spend another week to get them up to speed. Unfortunately that meant spending another weekend in China. And while normally that would be a good thing… work was taking its toll. We were tired and hadn’t really planned for anything. Saturday was spent playing war games with our colleagues, which is a story in and of itself. Sunday we were going to spend seeing another city in Guangdong Providence. Guangzhou (also know as Canton) has a population for about 9.7 million people.

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1888 German map of Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhou

The city’s official name is Panyu and is the provincial capital. In 226 AD, the city however became the seat of the Guang Prefecture. It was during this time that people started calling the city Guangzhou.

Our first stop was to Shamian Island (沙面島) or literally Sand Face Island. The ‘island’ sits on the bank of the Pearl River that runs through the heart of Guangzhou. Separating it from the mainland is a canal.

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Upon walking into the park one can’t help but notice the brides and groom that line the more picturesque locations. At first it was the odd couple here and there. I turned the corner and the street was lined with couples waiting to capture the start of their lives together on film.

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The park is filled with activity for such a gloomy day. The rain had started to fall but that did not put a damper on the martial arts masters teaching a young group of students or couple dancing under the overpass.

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In the trees, lanterns still hang, left over from the Chinese New Year.

After leaving Shamian Island, we headed over to the mall. It’s a wide open space that is filled with street vendors.

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Vendor preparing sugar cane for a hungry little boy.

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This gentleman was a walking ad for a local chicken restaurant.

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A woman was feeding the Koa from a baby’s bottle.

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The crowd was massive… there were people everywhere. Guangzhou is the fourth largest city in China.

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This poor man is cripple and writes his tragic life story in perfectly formed Chinese characters.

Saturday – 02/21/2009

What an amazing day! We were invited to spend the day with the China Creative Group. They took care of us during our entire stay in mainland China but today was magical. I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were told that in the morning we would go through training. I figured it would be a lot like paintball in the United States but it was so much more.

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It was a group building experience and I truly felt like they wanted us to join their ‘team.’ The morning started off with activities designed to foster team work.

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The morning culminated in a challenge to climb a 40 foot pole, stand on the top on it and jump to a swing that was ten feet away from the top. I had my concerns about my ankle and being able to make the transition from a kneeling position to standing. But my colleagues cheered me on and helped by manipulating the tension of the safety ropes. What an awesome feeling! I didn’t think I could do it yet through team work I was able to make the jump!

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I’ve met my match!

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After lunch was through it was time to get to the shooting! Fortunately, the field wasn’t ready for us and we got to spend some time exploring a tree museum. Some of the trees dated back before Buddha! But the really cool part was that all the displays were in Chinese and my colleagues can to my rescue and translated the information so that I could understand.

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Now I thought we were into our war games here… BUT they were truly into it! Crawling on the ground… Running into the brush… very realistic! It will be a day I will always remember… Thank you Flower, Lily, Jelly, Amanda, Happy, Cold, Matthew, Joe, Nelson… Everyone!