The big day finally arrived! For my birthday (June 22nd) we went to stay at another mountain called Qingchenshan. Nearby Qingchenshan is the Dujiangyan dam, a dam built with Daoist principles in mind- it works with nature and the natural flow of water instead of against it. Like the Daoist practice of wuwei (or nonaction). This area has been championed by the government as a Chinese cultural heritage sight, and for good reason. The dam was built between 267 and 256 BCE and still works today! Our group got free time at the area, so I wandered off by myself and went on a big walk around the complex. There were a lot of gardens on one bank, and on the other some temples that were a bit of a climb up the side of the mountain. For my birthday celebration part 2 we drove back to Dujiangyan to eat and get drinks at the “All Night Beer Garden”. Tyler, Chrystal, Robby, Seigler, Stephanie and Helene helped me celebrate and eat some great local cuisine. About halfway through the meal the table of locals beside us started taking our picture secretly, and of course we invited them over to get a better picture with us. They were so happy and brought over beer and cheers’d us. Then, we went to their table and cheers’d them back. Many people here are so friendly. Well, after we had been socializing with them for twenty minutes, we went back to eat and the table on the other side of us was having Happy Birthday sung to them (in Chinese) by a traveling band. I couldn’t believe it, so I went over and told them it was my birthday, too. Well, the band then sang Happy Birthday to me and the other guy for about seven minutes in Chinese and English, and then sang another birthday song in Chinese. After dinner we braved rain and went to KTV! (Karaoke) It was a blast! Most of us hadn’t done karaoke before, but we were all having a good time and sang until 1 or 2 in the morning. Celebrating in such a unique way with good friends and new friends certainly made it a memorable 21st birthday. I am missing all my friends back in the States though.
It was finally the last day of our trip (June 23), and we had one last challenge: climbing Qingchenshan. My foot was not in good shape to go all the way to the top with the rest of the group, so I opted to hike up the back route to Tianshi Caves. A temple had been built here and was one of the bigger ones on the mountain. It was a beautiful temple and many of the Daoist deities and gods were represented. Even China’s Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, had his own hall. Many of the buildings had been built in the Qing Dynasty, but the actual temple was constructed in the Sui Dynasty. Funny enough, there was a sign at Dujiangyan that said superstitious practice was not allowed, and here on Qingchenshan there were so many monasteries and temples and Daoism was everywhere. After looking around I walked back to the hotel and napped and rested my foot.