Monthly Archives: August 2007

Complete History on hold

I have a good friend come in from out of town. So the Complete History of China is on hold until next week when I have some time to finish it.

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The Complete History of China (abridged)- Part 2

This is part two of a 5-part series on the Complete History of China (abridged). I am covering the basics of China’s history to help me (and you) understand what makes China the way it is. Yesterday, we covered almost 600,000 years of history. Today, we we’re only covering 500 years.

221 BC – After all of the fighting, Qin Shi Huangdi gains control and declares himself the first emperor of China. Though his dynasty didn’t last long, he achieved much. He standardized money, laws, built roads and the North section of the Great Wall and even had 8,099 terracotta warriors made to guard his tomb.

206 BC – I told you Qin didn’t last long. Next up is the Han Dynasty, which brought a prosperous and expanding China, encompassing current day Vietnam, Korea and central Asia. Paper is invented, the first Chinese dictionary is written, and as trade expands, the Silk Road is formed. Buddhism is also introduced during this time.

220 AD – Considered the bloodiest part of China’s history, it is estimated that several million people died because the Wu, Shu and Wei kingdoms broke away causing a civil war to plague China. This period is called the Three Kingdoms.

265 AD – This is where it gets confusing. The Jin Dynasty takes control. Breifly everything is good, then the north part of the China breaks away into the “16 Kingdoms “period. Meanwhile, the Eastern and Western Jin Dynsasty rise and fall.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of the Complete History of China (abridged).

The Complete History of China (abridged)- Part 1

This is the first post in a 5-part series on the Complete History of China (abridged). I am covering the basics of China’s history to help me (and you) understand what makes China the way it is. This post will cover Ancient China. There’s a lot of history to cover, so let’s dive in!

600,000 years ago – There is some evidence of primitive man living in the area we call China today.

400,000 years ago – Peking Man (homo erectus) was hanging out. 4oo thousand years after his death, Peking Man’s skull is discovered during WWII. In order to protect the skull from battle, it was shipped to the US, but disappeared enroute and never seen again. 😦 Let’s jump forward in history to…

8000 BC – No writing yet, so we don’t know a lot about the people living at this time, but we do know they farmed millet ( a type of grain) and started forming settlements.

6000 BC – Each settlement has its own unique style of pottery.

2800 BC – The story of the three sovereigns and five emperors supposedly takes place now. It is written down by Sima Qian in the first century BC. They are God-Kings prior to the Dynastic period. Most think these rulers were mythical.

2070 BC – The Xia Dynasty is in control. They create the concept of a dynasty and lasted through 17 kings.

1600 BC – The Shang Dynasty is now on top. They’re best known for mass-producing bronze. But nothing lasts forever…

1066 BC – The Zhou take power, move the capital to Xi’an, and start writing on silk and strips of Bamboo.

771 BC – Known as the Spring and Autun Period (because that’s what it’s called in a very old history book, no seriously), China is ruled by feudal Kings. Confucius will be alive soon (551-479BC) and war is about to come.

475 BC – War is here! This period is called the Warring States Period and I’ll let you guess why. No one is happy with anyone else. It’s during this chaotic time that Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism become popular.

221 BC – The warring finally stops. But who won?!? You’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out.

NEW 5-PART SERIES STARTS MONDAY!

Sorry for the all caps. I’m just so excited about this series. You’ve been hearing me mention it all week. So what is it? The series is a the complete history of China (abridged).

What?!? You say. China has been around in some form for thousands of years. How can you cover everything in a 5-part series? You are correct, which is why it’s the abridged version of China’s History.

Why do a series on history at all?!? To better understand China and her people. I’m not naive enough to think that you can learn everything there is to know about China from a 5 part series. This is true. That’s why it’s abridged! It covers the important stuff.

Ok, but that’s a lot of info to cover; how are you going to break it down?!? Good question. Ancient China, Imperial China 1, 2, and 3 and Modern China. It’ll make more sense next week.

Enjoy the weekend and come back on Monday ready to learn!

Overcoming Olympic Obstacles

As I said yesterday, there are lots of people going to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and one needs to be prepared for it. I listed several discouraging facts about the Games next year. Here is a quick recap:

  • 2008 Beijing Olympics will be the most highly attended in history! Good for the Olympics, bad for me.
  • Several hotels (including at least one that isn’t built yet) are already completely booked during August next year. And those that have space are jacking up their prices four times the usual amount.
  • There are 286,000 hotel rooms in the area but 2 to 3 million visitors coming. Not sure where they are all going to stay (myself included).
  • Flights to Beijing are rising in price tenfold. There just aren’t enough seats to fill the needs of travelers.
  • Tickets to the Games are hard to come by. The first phase of ticket sales has already passed. I missed it by a few weeks!

And here are my thoughts…

1. Yes, the Games might be the highest attendance ever, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Look forward to meeting a lot of interesting people from different places around the world and collectively being part of something that happens only once every four years.
2 and 3. It’s true there are so many hotel rooms. But who says you have to stay in a hotel!?!? There’s hostels, couchsurfing.com, friend’s apartments and friend’s of friend’s apartments and for who truly know no one in Beijing, there’s www.homestaybeijing2008.com. A truly ambitious local from Beijing organizes renting someone’s house/apartment/space room next August. If you must stay in a hotel, work right now with a Travel Agent to find the best deal.
4. Flights are going to be expensive. You’ll just have to budget for that. But there are ways around it. Try flying to another city other than Beijing. Then training, boating, flying to the Games. You’ll not only get to the Games cheaper, you’ll see some of China’s beautiful country side.
5. The first phase has passed, but the 2nd phase of ticket sales begin in October so be ready! In the US, tickets are sold through CoSport.com.

Hopefully, I’ve put you back on track to getting to the Games next summer. I feel like each of those bullets could be expanded into a post on their own. Keep checking here at Crouching China for some more in depth info on those topics. That’s all for now.

Bigwhiteguy.com

bwg.pngToday I’m going to focus on a blog of someone that is living in or near China. It’ll hopefully give me (and you) a taste for what it’s like over there. BigWhieGuy.com is a blog written by “The Foreign Devil” also known as Randall. He’s a straight shooting 41 year old from Canada.

BigWhiteGuy is a writer and photographer. He takes great photos, but his true talent comes in relating what it’s like living in Hong Kong as a foreigner, especially, one who is 6’2″. His Tales of the BWG are priceless and a must read for anyone interested in Hong Kong. These are a collection of his observations and essays on living in HK, it’s culture and his transition from a someone “fresh off the boat” to a local.

In addition to writing and photography, he has several other services including a friend finder service, job postings, and air/water purification. BWG is definitely someone you want to look up if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong.

Quick Weather Update

It’s raining and 73 degrees in Beijing today. Humidity is at 94%!!! Keep in mind its only 7:30am over there, and the high today should be 93 degrees! Wow, that’s a bit toasty.