Hénán molybdenum project - Hénán tourism photos

Kurt Friehauf - 2008

Bĕijīng Train Station
Giant Buddha statue and Bi Gan temple
Home of the I Ching
Shàolín  Temple
Dinner with Henan Geological Survey experts
Hénán countryside
Coal processing plant
Steel smelter

Bĕijīng Train Station

Friehauf - China 2008 photosBĕijīng train station - the big board isn't much help if you don't read Chinese!

Giant Buddha statue

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe Spring Temple Buddha (鲁山大佛) in Lǔshān Xiàn county (鲁山县) Hénán is 428 feet (128m) tall, which makes it the tallest statue in the world. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosBi Gan Temple (比干庙) near Xīnxiāng (新乡)

Home of the Yì Jīng (I Ching)

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe Yì Jīng (易经) is one of the oldest Chinese texts (here's an online translation).

The Yì Jīng Ruins site near the city of Mèngzhōu (孟州) in Jiāozuò Prefecture (焦作) of northern Hénán Province is

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe site has both extremely old artifacts relating to the Yì Jīng, as well as some English language explanations.  Some of the explanations can be a little tricky, as you can see here, so it's good to do a little research before arriving. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe author of the sign in the parking lot advising visitors to lock their car doors could use a little tutoring.  They got the point across, though.

Shàolín Sì (Shaolin Temple)

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe Shàolín Temple (少林寺) at Sōng Shān (嵩山 = Song Mountain) is the original home of Shaolin-style kung fu  and one of the oldest Chán (Zen) Buddhist temples.  The Shaolin practice several styles of martial arts in the temple and are known for amazing athleticism and extraordinary feats.  Shaolin kung fu was made famous in America by the old television series starring David Carradine. 

The Shàolín Temple is still a place where people go to study Chán (Zen) Buddhism, as well as train in kung fu.  The students put on shows to help raise money to support their school.  In the show, three volunteers are selected from the audience to try some kung fu moves, and Anthony got the chance.  Anthony is around 6'4" (193 cm) and 165-275 pounds (120-125 kg), and he's an ardent weight lifter, so he's all muscle and bone.  Luckily, his mother teaches yoga and she made sure Anthony learned to stretch because some of the diving roles and movements Anthony was asked to do in front of the crowd were very gymnastic.  Anthony did a great job and won the hearts of the audience quickly with his personality and enthusiasm. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAnthony coming out of a diving roll at the kung fu demonstration at the Shàolín Temple. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe Shàolín Temple is not just a tourist destination, nor a mere martial arts academy - rather it is a spiritual place where people go to study Buddhism. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThese are monuments to great leaders of the Shàolín Temple who have died and returned to brilliancy. 
(reference to Zen master Hoshin's final words poem:

I came from brilliancy
And return to brilliancy.
What is this?

(quoted from Zen Flesh - Zen Bones)

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOne finds inspirational signs like this one posted above each toilet at the Shàolín Temple.  Toilets do strike me as a great place for inspirational posters because people have time to stop and think. 

Dinner with Henan Geological Survey experts

Friehauf - China 2008 photosWe met with the Henan Geological Survey - specifically their mineral deposits division.  Some people spoke English, others Chinese, but the discussions were always interesting.  The Henan Survey has some good people. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosWe were treated to some of the local delicacies.  These fried scorpions served on fried rice noodles weren't bad. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThese fried grub worms were actually quite tasty once one got over the idea of sticking a big, thumb-sized worm in one's mouth.  I would be fine if these things were standard fare. 

Henan countryside

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe air was very hazy the entire time we were there.  The haze had a slightly yellow/brown color, so it wasn't just a continuous fog, rather it had a healthy dose of smog thrown in. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe mountains were relatively steep, so the local farmers had to terrace the land for farming. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe streets were widely used for drying harvested grains.  Among the grains grown here was sorghum - the key ingredient for making báijiŭ (白酒 = a very strong, colorless "white" liquor).

Friehauf - China 2008 photosTypical roadside housing in rural Hénán Province. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosTypical view of the Qinling Mountains.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosFarmers working in the late afternoon fields.   Each family has their own plot of land that they work. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosMore farmers with two of their motorbikes for transporting their tools.  Most people appear to work in pairs, which I imagine could be pretty therapeutic. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosPingdingshan City - a small city by Chinese standards.  Most people live in big apartment buildings like these. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosA truly forbidden city!  We stopped to stay the night here, but were kicked out by the police because no westerners were allowed.  Our hosts were clearly embarrassed by our ejection and tried to explain by telling us that the city is near a military base... or near a gold mine... or near a gold mine owned by the military (the reasons varied).  Personally, I really don't care about military bases and political stuff - it was just a minor nuisance that kept us up a little later that night because we had to drive to the next city (an hour's drive away). 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosPolice escorting us out of the city with lights on.  In retrospect, it's an amusing little experience.  I feel a little bad for the police who had to accompany us, although they may have enjoyed the break in their routine work.  

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAnother fairly typical small city view.  There is a lot of construction going on all over Hénán. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosShops in rural Hénán

Friehauf - China 2008 photosRural Hénán

Friehauf - China 2008 photosAn old fellow in rural Hénán.  Seeing folks like this always makes me wonder what they've seen in their lifetimes. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosRecycle wagon in rural Hénán

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe everywhere-present piles of bricks typical of... everywhere in Hénán!  They are definitely building things!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosFarmer transporting hay

Friehauf - China 2008 photosHénán farmers make really great haystacks!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosMore bricks, recycled bottles, and edible fungus in sticks

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe wok used for cooking all meals at a small ma-and-pa roadside "diner" in rural Hénán.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosThe ingredients for some nice soup prepared by the restaurant

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOld man smoking a really long, ornate pipe.  I suppose the long tube would allow the smoke to cool.  He apparently can adjust the air mix through the hole he's using in this photo.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOld man smoking his long, ornate pipe from the end.  Note he has his thumb over the air hole at the midpoint on the long pipe. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosKids are great everywhere in the world.  Chinese kids are definitely among my favorite encountered in my various travels.  They have such great, curious, and enthusiastic attitudes.  

Friehauf - China 2008 photosLoads of straw can get pretty big.  The suspension on this truck appears to be sagging a bit on the right.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosTiny tractors like this are fairly common.  They may not be the monster-sized beasts we have here in the U.S., but they get the job done!

Friehauf - China 2008 photosFresh fruit was always available from roadside stands like this one.  

Coal processing plant

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOne of the Chinese members of our group owned several coal processing plants, so we got a fascinating tour.  "Lăobăn" (老板) was a great guy - very considerate of others.  He's one of the only Chinese people I've known who smoke, but are very conscientious about nonsmoking people around him. 

Steel smelter

Friehauf - China 2008 photosLăobăn also had a steel smelting facility.  This was an amazing facility that specialized in some unusual alloys.  As much as I like geology, this was one of the most interesting stops we made during the trip.  These are used cupolas from which the molten steel is poured.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosPouring molten steel from a cupola.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosGuys working around the smelting furnace.  

Friehauf - China 2008 photosOne of the furnace intakes

Friehauf - China 2008 photosA view inside the smelting furnace.  This photo was taken with a telephoto lens because it was far too hot to approach without the special protective gear worn by the workers.

Friehauf - China 2008 photosFeeding fuel into the furnace

Friehauf - China 2008 photosA couple of bosses talk while workers poke the hole from which the steel pours into the cupola.  The hole can plug up with cooling steel - thus the need to poke the hole to keep it open. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosHappy workers after a shift. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosSlag waste bricks
When one smelts ore into metal, the silicate component of the ore melts and floats on top like an artificial lava.  That artificial lava is poured off as waste and cooled into "rock" called slag. 

Friehauf - China 2008 photosA beautiful ancient river channel exposed in a recent dozer cut near the smelter

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