Posts Tagged ‘China’


Where are my sunglasses?

July 1, 2016

sunglass chinese

July 1 marks the date that the Chinese invented sunglasses in the year 1200.  They were the province of the wealthy and were used not so much for protection from the sun, as for hiding their expressions.

sunglass inuit

Actually, Inuit “sunglasses”, although not made of glass, pre-date the Chinese invention – going back to prehistoric times and were probably very useful against sun glare.

ssungalss venus

Sunglasses have appeared on famous faces throughout history.

sunglass monaa lisa

sunglass ameriican gothic

And they have other important uses, as well.

sunglass meen in black



What event am I noting today?

May 29, 2014


1953 Everest Expedition

The route to Everest was closed by Chinese-controlled Tibet, and Nepal only allowed one expedition per year. A Swiss expedition (in which Tenzing took part) had attempted to reach the summit in 1952 but was turned back by bad weather and exhaustion 800 feet (240 m) from the summit. During a 1952 trip in the Alps, Hillary discovered that he and his friend George Lowe had been invited by the Joint Himalayan Committee for the approved British 1953 attempt and immediately accepted.

Shipton was named as leader but was replaced by Hunt. Hillary considered pulling out, but both Hunt and Shipton talked him into remaining. Hillary was intending to climb with Lowe but Hunt named two teams for the assault: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans; and Hillary and Tenzing. Hillary therefore made a concerted effort to forge a working friendship with Tenzing.

The Hunt expedition totalled over 400 people, including 362 porters, twenty Sherpa guides and 10,000 lbs of baggage,and like many such expeditions, was a team effort. Lowe supervised the preparation of the Lhotse Face, a huge and steep ice face, for climbing. Hillary forged a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall.

The expedition set up base camp in March 1953. Working slowly it set up its final camp at the South Col at 25,900 feet (7,890 m). On 26 May Bourdillon and Evans attempted the climb but turned back when Evans’ oxygen system failed. The pair had reached the South Summit, coming within 300 vertical feet (91 m) of the summit. Hunt then directed Hillary and Tenzing to go for the summit.

Snow and wind held the pair up at the South Col for two days. They set out on 28 May with a support trio of Lowe, Alfred Gregory and Ang Nyima. The two pitched a tent at 27,900 feet (8,500 m) on 28 May while their support group returned down the mountain. On the following morning Hillary discovered that his boots had frozen solid outside the tent. He spent two hours warming them before he and Tenzing attempted the final ascent wearing 30-pound (14 kg) packs.[14] The crucial move of the last part of the ascent was the 40-foot (12 m) rock face later named the “Hillary Step”. Hillary saw a means to wedge his way up a crack in the face between the rock wall and the ice and Tenzing followed. From there the following effort was relatively simple. Tenzing Norgay stated in his narration “The Dream Comes True” that Hillary had indeed taken the first step atop Mount Everest, despite Hillary quoting that both had reached the summit at the same time. They reached Everest’s 29,028 ft (8,848 m) summit, the highest point on earth, at 11:30 am. As Hillary put it, “A few more whacks of the ice axe in the firm snow, and we stood on top.”

They spent only about 15 minutes at the summit. Hillary took the famous photo of Tenzing posing with his ice-axe, but since Tenzing had never used a camera, Hillary’s ascent went unrecorded.  However, according to Tenzing’s autobiography Man of Everest, when Tenzing offered to take Hillary’s photograph Hillary declined: “I motioned to Hillary that I would now take his picture. But for some reason he shook his head; he did not want it.” Tenzing left chocolates in the snow as an offering and Hillary left a cross that he had been given by John Hunt.  Additional photos were taken looking down the mountain in order to confirm that they had made it to the top and that the ascent was not faked.

The two had to take care on the descent after discovering that drifting snow had covered their tracks, complicating the task of retracing their steps. The first person they met was Lowe, who had climbed up to meet them with hot soup.

Ref.: Wikipedia

edmund Hillary_and_tenzingHillary and Tenzing Norgay

Over a period of nearly twenty years, [Tenzing Norgay] had made himself a part of every expedition that set out to put a man on the top of Mt. Everest. He had climbed as a lowly porter and as a respected member of the climbing team. He had accompanied large, confident armies (such as the 1936 and 1953 British Everest Expeditions) on their way to the summit, but he had also gone to the mountain with a solitary climber, Earl Denman, in 1947, on the chance that even this might give him an opportunity to get to the top. By 1953, he had probably spent more time on Mt. Everest than any other human being – and had come closer to its summit. Only months before his successful climb with Edmund Hillary, he and Raymond Lambert of the 1952 Swiss expedition, had come within 1,000 feet of the summit — the highest point that anyone had reached until then. Unlike most of his fellow Sherpas of the time for whom, by and large, climbing was just a challenging way of making a living, Tenzing desperately wanted to get to the summit of Mt. Everest and devoted most of his life to this goal. “For in my heart,” he once said, “I needed to go . . . the pull of Everest was stronger for me than any force on earth.” If there was ever anyone who deserved to get there first, it was Tenzing.

Tenzing Norgay website



edmund-hillarySir Edmund Hillary died in 2008.

He is buried near his home in New Zealand.

That is the thing that international travel brings home to me – it’s always good to be going home.

This is the only place I want to live in; this is the place I want to see out my days.

— Edmund Hillary, speaking about Auckland’s West Coast


What festival am I celebrating? – August 23

August 23, 2012

Qixi – the Milky Way Festival or the Night of Sevens.

This is the story of star-crossed lovers, Zhinu an imortal member of the Queen of Heaven’s family, and Niulang, a lowly cowherd.  Zhinu is represented in the sky by the star Vega; Niulang is represented by Altair.  Both of these stars are prominent in the summer night sky as two points in the asterism known as the Summer Triangle.

There are, of course, many versions and variations on the story, but just as in Romeo and Juliet, the two main characters meet and fall in love.  In this instance they marry, have two children and think that they are home free on their way to happily every after.

But the Queen of Heaven, who up to now has not been paying attention, finds out about the liaison and demands that Zhinu return to the sky where she must again take up her regular job of weaving colorful clouds.  This is a job which, apparently, no one else can do.

Niulang is despondent – he is also left with two little kids to raise by himself.  Now things get a little strange.  His ox begins to talk to him.  Listening to the ox’s advice, Niulang kills the beast, puts on its skin, picks up the kids and travels to heaven to reclaim his wife.

He was not fast enough, however, because Queenie learns of the plan and scratches a huge river across the sky between Zhinu and Niulang creating the Milky Way – a river they cannot cross – EXCEPT on the seventh night of the seventh month when the magpies fly up to heaven and create a sky bridge so that the lovers can be together on that one night of the year.

This Chinese festival is related to the Japanese Star Festival, Tanabata.