Monday, April 14, 2008

Guest Blogger - Ann #4

Today we went to Tian-Zhu-Shan park, "a AAAA chinese tourist attraction, and beautiful forest".

Mark's co-worker Rocky picked us up at 10am. There were 4 other chinese people in the car, Rocky's boss from Tiawan, Max who works with Rocky and two young women. We arrived at the park after 40 minutes, and after some discussion (apparently things are always more drawn out and complicated when the Chinese get involved) we set out. Turns out we took a sneaky back way into the park to not pay the entrance fee. We ended up trooping through a few backyards and encountered a funny guy in his underpants who was fishing, with his hands I think.......

I took a picture of him with his fish, and he was so happy, he insisted that I take a photo of his bag with the fish in it. We all laughed and carried on.

The trails were very steep (puff, puff, don't they know I'm old) and slippery. Up and down and up and down, the forest was pretty, but not amazingly interesting. There are several small lakes, on of which we visited from several vantage points. A lovely outlook and a marina where you can rent paddleboats and waterbikes. Unfortunately, the weather was like being in a cloud, so there wasn't much of a view. We headed for one temple and discovered that it was closed, so we had to double back. After a brief break of rice crackers and cookies, we continued on toward the Longman temple. As we climbed the last of the hill we saw a row of chickens perched along a fallen tree trunk overlooking a spectacular view. Off to the far side was a building with two men sitting out in chairs. It really didn't look like a temple so we carried on up the hill only to find that it was indeed and we had missed it!

We continued on up and up and up and followed the signs to another temple (downhill). On the start of the path, we found a shp selling beer, so we trooped on up the 40 degree slope path juggling and trying to drink our beer. It was a beautiful temple (restored) dating back originally to the 1600's. Inside, there were three large golden Bhuddas and the walls were lined with tiny golden Bhuddas. Combined with the scent of incense and prayer music, it was quite magical and beautiful and very deserted. We were the only people there.

After we walked and walked and walked and walked back to the car and headed back to Xiamen.

Lunch or dinner was at a beautiful Thai restaurant and the food was fabulous.

We are headed out nightclubbing tonight (how will I survive), so I will send more later....

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