Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Butterflies are so cool. But they are devilishly hard to get to stay still for a picture. (The brown one is not a dead leaf.)

There is a bamboo research facility south of PuLi. We found it on the map and talked our guide into taking us here instead of to 3 more temples. Well worth the visit! It had a plant research facility, a butterfly enclosure and a natural history museum.

The Chinese character for butterfly did not appear to have any wings at all, but it did have what appeared to be a cocoon on the left. I found out later that this bit will appear in most characters for insects. Including the character for spider, which is not scientifically an insect. But it might as well be!

It turns out that Chinese characters have a logic to them, so they are not as hard to learn as we in the west think. Which is not to say that is would be easy. After looking at them for two weeks straight, seeing if I could see anything in them, I can now claim with a moderate degree of confidence that I will know if they are right side up or not.

I ran across a book that says the Chinese considered European writing illegible chains resembling the marks left by insects walking in the dust.