July 17, 2004
Being that Sunday was our only day off, yes, we have school six days a week in China, all year round. We finally go sightseeing with one of the young teachers of the school, Miranda. Our first Sunday venture is Lingyin Temple—heck yeah. Kate and I go, for some reason Mia didn’t want to go. Since this was our only day off, she wanted to relax at the apartment and take it easy. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity in China, so I want to get the most out of it. I have been excited about going to Lingyin Temple since my research. We take the bus there. Inside the bus it is smelly, crowded and very germy. Needless to say, I brought hand sanitizer from the states, one of my most valuable possessions here. Locals are coughing and sneezing and not covering themselves with their hand.
Gross! Off the bus, we approach the temple and as we enter I am already in awe of the beautiful buildings nestled inside a quite mountainous area. We walk through the entrance of Feilai Feng gate, then into the stone grottoes, and right away I see the various Buddha stone carvings, with the big laughing Buddha, all of which I liked. Then into the temple hall of the Heavenly Kings which are many different elaborate Buddha statues, large areas with plenty of room to kneel in front and pray and incense everywhere. Again very beautiful. I decided to do a prayer at one of the statues, even though I am not Buddhist. I do have high regards for the philosophy.
As we continue to look around, we walk outside and see cauldrons of more incense burning.
This area is in an elevated area. The view of the mountains with the Lingyin Monastery in the middle is another eastern art painting come to life. There is more Chinese architecture pieces inside the mountains. It really takes my breath away. As a fan of eastern art, this is exactly why I travel. I want to experience it, not only dream of it, but have it in plain sight for a real life moment. Lingyin was what I expected and so much more.
It is that time to depart Lingyin Temple after being there for several hours. Our next stop is lunch. We have noodles with veggies at this cafeteria which was mediocre. However the food was at least edible, so actually it was quite good. Afterward, Miranda takes us shopping to He Fang Street. The shopping area is really nice and big with some open air markets. Kate and I buy several souvenirs at bargain prices. Obviously the most one can by for less money. I bought flat fans, a Chinese slik robe and dress, jewelry, and knicknacks.
Finally, after a long day we return to our apartments by the school area. Defintely an eventful day in enjoyable Hangzhou.