2008-08-24,25,26   Visit to City of Shaoguan (two hours north of Guangzhou) - where Matteo Ricci  lived for five years after leaving Zhaoqing.
Ricci arrived at  Shaoguan 413 years ago "today" on Aug 25 (Chinese history books) or Aug 26 (English history books)

Some comments/reflections re this visit:

*** Bus trip (Y120) from Zhaoqing to Shaoguan took five and a half hours. Return trip by train (Y51) took four hours.
*** Meaningless/wasteful security procedures were followed at Zhaoqing bus station and Shaoguan train station
....luggage x-rayed but no body x-ray...I carried several large items in my trouser pockets
...could have been guns etc...so much for security. Even to enter Shaoguan train station on Sunday afternoon
to buy a ticket  for return trip yesterday   necessitated going through x-ray security (for my shoulder bag). 
To its great credit,  China for a long time has been one of the safest countries in the world
...much safer than Australia or USA
....but  for its army of peaceful travellers (and countless thousands of police)
 to have to take part in a security charade is a sad waste of time, money and resources.
*** Excellent hotel The Hsing Long, next to Dajian Monastery (which has a huge range of books on sale)

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Staff at local church and at Shaoguan  Museum
very interested in history of Ricci
but not yet certain in which  part of "Ching Chuen" (see arrowed sign below)
Ricci lived during his five years in Shaoguan.
Museum director Mr Wong (see card below)
recently was in  Zhaoqing
and visited Ricci Exhibition organized by Zhaoqing Museum.
Mr Wong is hoping to set up a similar exhibition in Shaoguan
highlighting among other things
how the Latin/English name "Confucius" was coined by Ricci in Shaoguan,
how it was at Shaoguan that Ricci made the decision to dress as a scholar instead of a monk,
how it was at Shaoguan that Ricci translated into Latin the four most important Chinese classics etc

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Trip back to Zhaoqing was on train that left Beijing at 6pm the night before, left Shaoguan at 12.45pm, arrived Zhaoqing 4.45pm
- loaded like a cattle train / sardine can with people returning from Olympics in Beijing.
A really happy group of passengers....the four hour trip went very quickly
...my seat for the first two hours (Shaoguan to Guangzhou)
 being the carriage steel rubbish bin opposite the carriage toilet (..beat standing up..)

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Back at Marco Polo....so glad to see windows in new classrooms.... +  lights & fans being fitted

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