The Park, Temple, and Acrobatics
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
Today could have been a free day; but I wanted to do 2 of the optional events, so I did not have the whole day to myself. The first was a visit to the Lama Temple, which is an active Buddhist temple. This was interesting in the sense that you learned a lot about the Buddhist religion and the inside of the temples were beautiful. However, I don’t know if it is me; but I always am bothered about taking photos of active religious places. The same can be said about churches in Europe. I find them beautiful; but I feel like I am being sacrilegious, when I take photos of them, even if it is not my religion. Anyways, I did take a few photos and photos were not allowed to be taken in the inside the temples, so I guess I felt a little better about that. It is also interesting to note that one temple apparently had a bunch of deities in sexual positions, except because of the Chinese government they had to cover them up. It was also funny that in one temple one of the monks cell phone started ringing and then he answered it. It was just funny because you do not think of Buddhist monks and cell phones.
We then went to Beihei Park, which was one of the most beautiful parks in Beijing, with a good view, except not as good of view as Jingshan Park apparently is (or so I was told). But back to Beihiei it really is a great park to spend a few hours in and walk around, which I did even after the group left since I planned to spend the rest of the day doing my own thing.
After, I left the park (a few hours later and well after rest of the group left) I started walking East back to “Food Street,” with detours through some Hutongs and just enjoying the stroll. This stroll brought me to a Catholic Church, which I stopped by just to see how a church in China was like and while I was looking through the windows a local artist stopped to talk. This was not like any other local artist; but appeared he was associated with the church. Anyways, I had a very friendly chat with him and even learned a bit about calligraphy and brought a nice piece of artwork, for about 6 times as less than the street (without negotiating). At the very least I consider a donation to the church.
Anyways, after I left with my wallet lighter and my bag heavier I continued my walk. On my way towards “food street” I ran into two more locals and here I want to discuss a bit about my attitude on life and traveling. For those of you who know me I sometimes have a habit of seeming aloof, well I believe this is a way of protecting myself. I know traveling is suppose to be a time to meet people; but for me I can sometimes be a bit too trusting and I believe I was “had” by these two Chinese locals, even if I did have a nice conversation of tea (and some expensive tea). That is all I am going to say about it now because the truth is China really is a safe place and the people really are friendly and at least I can cover my mistake.
I finally caught a taxi (a official one), with the help of the two locals above, and was able to meet up with the rest of the group at an acrobatic show.