Hello one and all, and a joyful Christmas to you!
The weather has been changeable of late, with snow last Wednesday…
…and clear, sunny skies on Sunday:
Mostly, we have been enveloped in a thick, humid fog. It can be inconvenient, but it does make for some beautiful pictures.
On 24 December, Master Gu took us on a challenging hike up up up to a little-known site where centuries-old tributes to Lao Tzu have been hewn out of unforgiving rock face.
There, I took this state portrait picture of Master Gu in front of the statue of Lao Tzu:
At night, we celebrated a very British Christmas Eve here, thanks to Father Kurtmas, who had brought an extra suitcase filled to the brim with Christmassy goodies just to make this happen. Potatoes, vegetables, balls of stuffing, cranberry sauce, duck and chopsticks—it was a cross-cultural Christmas, after all; we dubbed it “Taomas”. Even Christmas crackers and a tree with lots of presents for everyone! We dined and drank Chinese wine (12%, tastes like a tangy lemonade) and recorded a special Christmas video with all of us singing a hilarious version of ‘Jingle Bells’ that Kurt had written for the occasion. Will post this later.
Understandably, I have taken today off. Farewells to Bouke, who has become a dear friend, and his first-girlfriend-now-fiancée Iris (Bouke proposed to Iris here, just the other day!). May your travels be filled with both the glorious and the mundane, the up and the down, the fortuitous and the challenging. I will miss you and think of you often!
So, yes, today, rest.
Lastly, a cold, wet flute from a rainy mountainside for you, to extend my nonetheless warmest well-wishes:
Oh, and very lastly, a brief site announcement:
You may have noticed A Tram has a somewhat new layout and no longer requires a login. This means you can, if you wish, delete the WordPress.com account; I am now using WordPress.org and hosting the blog elsewhere. To make sure you receive updates, subscribe at the bottom of a post. Thank you very much for following the tram on its flight!