Silk Road Journal
Journal Entry Format
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SIlk Road Jobs and Research
The Silk Road Entourage
Government Officials: Your job is to keep everyone on the trip organized and accountable for their actions. You must record all events at each stop. Research the three Chinese philosophies (legalism, daoism, confucianism.)
Soldiers: Your job is to protect the caravan at all costs. You are to take orders from the government official and stay aware at all times. Your job starts at night and during each days travel. You need to take night shifts each night, so that the caravan is safe from night raids. Research the Ferghana Horse.
Musicians: Your job is to entertain the entourage as you make your way across Asia. Research an instrument from China.
Merchants: Your job is to find interesting items that you feel would increase in value as you travel the Silk Route. Research how silk is made, and the legend of how silk was discovered.
Laborers: Your job is to help with everyday tasks of making it from one oasis to another. Research the Bactrian Camel.
Silk Road Journal Entrys
Journal Entry #1
You are about to leave on the Silk Road. You are both excited and nervous about your journey. You have a particular role in your caravan, and must take your job seriously. In your first journal entry, introduce yourself, your role on the silk road, and what your job entails. Describe why you are traveling on the Silk Road, and what your life is like. What sort of things would you take on the Silk Road? What sort of things are you feeling as you write this entry.
There have been rumors of wild adventures along the Silk Road, from ambush attacks to fortune and success. The perils of the 4,000-mile journey resemble legends more than tales of adventure. Faraway places that are of mythical status fill the story from beginning to end. The risks are a distant thought to the man who dreams of traveling the route to the West. The explorer inside takes stalk of the opportunity to discover new lands filled with customs and traditions that are so diverse from the ancient tradition of the Chinese.
Journal Entry # 2
So the journey begins, your standing in a market place watching the hustle and bustle of the square. Your bags are packed and you’re saying farewell to your family, as you get ready to depart. You are very excited but nervous because you will be gone for a year or more, and the only thing you have as a friend is the journal you have packed.
Journal #2: You sit down in the center where everyone is getting ready for the 4,000 mile journey down the Silk Road. Write down all the things you have learned or know about the Silk Road. If you don’t have any idea about the Silk Road then write about the things that you would like to know about this long journey. Think about all of the different geographical features you will see, from the Gobi Desert to the Mediterranean Sea and everything in between. Ponder the cultures you might encounter, from the Buddhists of China to the Muslims of Baghdad and everything in between. Think about the people that have gone before you and the people that will venture down this same path. Your journey starts here…
Go beyond… calculate how long it would take to travel this distance by finding the rate of speed of the average person and applying the rate to the 4,000 mile journey.
Journal Entry #3
As we move out of the protected walls of the city the journey becomes real. A part of you tells you to go back and be with your family, and thoughts of regret creep into your mind. Day after day you see the mighty Gobi Desert to the north.
After weeks of traveling you reach the city of Dunhuang and notice right away the Buddhist carvings in the mountains and the labyrinth of caves at the base of the mountains. The caves are unique and catch your attention right away.
As you approach the city you notice how important religion is to these people, a thought crosses your mind and you think about the future. You heard stories from the other caravan members about the difficult journey ahead of you. It becomes overwhelming so you decide to take this time for reflection by yourself.
You gather up your belonging and retreat into one of the caves and think about the city you just left. Your thoughts wander from subject to subject and settle on different philosophies of the Chinese. You ponder each one and finally understand which philosophy is parallel with your beliefs.
Analyze each philosophy, Daoism, Legalism, and Confucianism. Briefly explain the principles and guideline of each philosophy. Then explain which philosophy you find parallel with your thoughts and ideas. Which one do you feel is the best of the three? Support your answers with examples from the philosophy and your personal experience.
Journal Entry # 4
The caravan gathers their belongings and is back in formation ready to plunge into the unknown. As the caravan gets momentum the stories of the Taklimakan Desert start to spread among the group. The rumor is the desert received its name out of a warning to the travelers. The name Taklamakan means “those that go in never come out”.
There are many dangers in the desert, however the Bactrian camel is made for this part of the journey. The entourage feels the pain of the desert as they follow the vast sea of sand.
The tricky dunes move every day inch-by-inch and sometimes foot-by-foot because of the strength of the wind. The caravan makes their way through the labyrinth of dunes as smooth as a snake. The wind starts to pick up and see a cloud of sand on the horizon. You realize it’s too risky to continue today. The desert is starting to live up to its name.
The sandstorm is powerful and sets the caravan back a couple days, supplies are getting low, and the caravan is anxious to get moving to Kashgar. Time to continue the trip through the relentless desert. The desert tests their will but doesn’t claim any men or camels.
APRIL 200 AD
After 1800 miles they final reach the oasis town of Kashgar, the men are relieved to reach the oasis with tales from the desert and no wounds to prove the difficult the journey . The town of Kashgar has grown over the years and has exotic desert fruits and much needed water. You go to the local bazaar and bargain with a merchant for some dates, a melon, some meat and rice. Then head to the oasis to find a palm tree to sit and reflect in your journal on the trip from Dunhuang to Kashgar.
Journal #4: You have faced many obstacles so far and have excelled in all areas of survival. You are sitting at the edge of the oasis and think about a style of poem you uncle discovered when he travel to the east to protect the lands from invaders. He referred to the style as a Haiku. You remember the style and start to write a poem about a part of nature that has affected you the most in your life. After you have finished the Haiku you reflect on why you chose that object, and what it means to you.
Haiku is a poetic form and a type of poetry from the Japanese culture. Haiku combines form, content, and language in a meaningful, yet compact form. Haiku poets, which you will soon be, write about everyday things. Many themes include nature, feelings, or experiences. Usually they use simple words and grammar. The most common form for Haiku is three short lines. The first line usually contains five (5) syllables, the second line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables. Haiku doesn't rhyme. A Haiku must "paint" a mental image in the reader's mind. This is the challenge of Haiku - to put the poem's meaning and imagery in the reader's mind in ONLY 17 syllables over just three (3) lines of poetry!
Journal Entry # 5
MAY 200 AD
It is very difficult to leave the flourishing town of Kashgar, however the caravan must go on. As we head into the vast Pamir Mountains we see the climate change, the air is thick with moisture and covers your path with an eerie fog. The cold starts to creep through your clothes and into your bones; a shiver runs through your spine. You start to lead the camels by a rope because the pass is too narrow to ride a horse or a camel through.
The members of the caravan become more cautious with every breath. The air thins as they climb in altitude, but these slight changes are not distracting the caravan from the dangers they begin to face. The mountains are becoming steeper, the distance between them and the ravine below are getting greater, and every step could have a fatal consequence. However, the group must persevere through the rough terrain. Their progress is slow but steady. You watch every step and cautiously weave your way through another dangerous part of our journey.
MAY 200 AD
As the caravan exits the Pamir Mountains you are faced with the reality of the entire situation. The men are grateful for the safe passage. As the conversation continues we learn that the trail that we followed through the mountains was called the “Trail of Bones”. The group shutters at the thoughts of what could have happened and what has happened to other caravans that weren’t so lucky.
As the caravan heads out into the plains we become aware of a new dangers, the dangers are not from mother nature this time, but from the nomadic tribes that live in the area. They would want to take advantage of a tired and disorganized caravan. As you are recovering from the adventure through the Pamir Mountains a sigh of relief begins to surround the caravan. You are a day away from the city of Bactra and you let your guard down for a moment. Then an overwhelming fear creeps through your spine. As you inch your way through the terrain, you start to notice the landscape, you think to yourself “what a perfect spot for an ambush”.
Then your fear begins to unfold before your very eyes. The Turkoman bandits swoop in on the legendary Ferghana horses, taking what they can and trying to cause confusion within the caravan. The horses maneuver around the caravan with ease. The shock of the experience is just beginning as you start to notice a glint of red all over the horses, the horses seem to be sweating blood and have no fear of the chaos of the attack. Is this going to get worse as the ambush continues? The Soldiers start to organize the caravan and create a defense against the nomadic band of thieves. The chaos ended just as quick as it began.
The day has cost the entourage the loss of camels and horses. Some of the camels that were taken contained a large amount of silk and some other wares that were important to the caravan. The shadow of despair blankets the caravan as they assess the damage. The group moves on after all is assessed.
The next day the caravan reaches the city of Tashkent and hope engulf the travelers as they move through the relative safety of the city.
You have recovered from the ambush and start to reenact the scene of the attack in your head. Then your thoughts start to wonder about the beast that showed no fear and sweat blood from their skin. You have heard of these horses and have seen some of the high ranking officers trotting on them through town. You meander to a soldier in your caravan and start to do a little research on the animal. Write down all the information you learned from the soldier in your journal. Give examples and give commentary about each unique fact.
Soldiers want to know more information about the Bactrian Camel. During the conversation with the others in your caravan research the Bactrian Camel.