I have a couple more posts from my travels to Hunan, because it is more unique than my daily life in Beijing. My daily to day life is not quite as easy to photograph (its a lot of my teacher and I in a conference room and me looking up characters in the dictionary on my phone to do homework). I’ve previously shared about our Sunday worship and some scenes from the countryside.
On the Sunday afternoon, our hosts took us to a local historic site, the largest man-made caves in Asia (according to the sign). When I function in a foreign language–even with a little bit of interpretation and English on the signs—and are being hosted, I often miss details. I missed the official name of this site (you know, just a small detail…) and my internet searching has not been successful. They are famous(ish) because Mao Zedong and his comrades used (and I think developed) them for storage bunkers during the Communist Revolution in China (pre-1949). Mao was born in Hunan province, and I think that he is more respected there than in Beijing. At least, I saw a few more photos and art of him around than I usually do in Beijing. The official explanation in China is that 70% of what Mao did was good and 30% was not so good. One of the people I was with reflected that some people still treat him like a god, which she doesn’t think is appropriate because he is just a man. Mao certainly made some mistakes, but he also did a lot more good for China than the average American is willing to give him credit for.
The replica of some kind of a rocket in a tall silo underground. The characters say “East Wind One.” Mostly, the caves were empty. This was the most interesting artifact I saw in the complex.
Just to give you a tiny glimpse of the scale of these things. They really were quite impressive. I think it was at the end of this tunnel that there were things that could turn trains (or possibly other vehicles) around. So they must have had a train track right into the caves to unload or load their supplies. I was interested in this place because so many of the historical sites I have visited in China are either in Beijing or Xi’an. In both of those places, history means ancient history, so lots of interesting places that were important in China between about 200 BC-1900AD. But the places I have gone with lot of historical significance in the more recent time period are significantly fewer. I’m glad I got to add something to that gap during this trip, because that era has a strong impact on people today.
The really lovely thing about this place was that outside of the caves there was a river. We walked along it to a couple of small waterfalls. It was really beautiful to be outside with the sun shinning, warm temperatures, and clean air to breathe!