A Travellerspoint blog

Communing with the goddess Guanyin

In the morning, some loud and shrill Chinese opera woke me up at about 7 a.m. I wondered if this was part of the government housing, but Liu said no, he didn't know what it was, but they played it every day.

He was going to Beijing for the weekend, so he brought us to a very nice hotel that doesn't normally accept foreigners, which we split three ways, ending up at about $10 each, nice.

Liu had to go to work and we went to Zhengding. I grabbed an ear of corn, and we headed out. The city itself was a little disappointing, because it's just a suburb of Shijiazhuang. Once we got to the temples though, it was peaceful and relaxing. There were five in the guidebook and we saw all of them, even though one was closed by the time we got there.

Longxing temple was the most famous, so we went there first. On a Friday, it's less busy than I'm used to, so I soaked up the peaceful uncrowdedness of the day.

This was hands down the best temple I've seen so far. As you know, if you've been following this blog for a while, I've been to a lot. On the outside, it resembled any other temple, but once you step inside the pavilions, it's absolutely breathtaking.

In the first one, there were a few golden deities but once around the corner, there were Ming dynasty frescoes on every surface. At the back, the goddess Guanyin was resting in an explosion of intricate carpentry. No photos allowed folks, go see it yourself.

There's also a two faced bronze buddha statue and a revolving library bookcase, for ancient sutras. Monks believed it was good luck to push them around in circles.

Guanyin was again represented as a giant bronze colossus with at least 20 arms. She lives in the pavilion of "great mercy", so I kneeled down and asked her if I could have some and I'm not joking, she answered. She said very loudly and clearly, "You already have it", and I knew it was true. After so many failures and disappointing job assignments, I am extremely happy to be warmly welcomed back to China. Guanyin didn't need to tell me that, I already knew it was a merciful act of the universe or whathaveyou.

After spending a few moments basking in the glow of this incredible monument, we went back to the main street and found a pancake place. I had been craving noodles all morning but I was distracted by the deep fried goodies, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a noodle table... yesssssssss. Noodles for lunch, finally. I also introduced Madelleine to some Chinese pastries that I love and she liked them a lot.

From there, we went to Kai Yuan temple, which had a giant bixi (turtle-beast) that some construction workers found when digging up a street in 2000. There was another old white man from England who I said hi to, but I still feel very skeptical about all old single guys in Asia, especially this one, because he kind of followed us from the first temple, and then down the street after this one.

We walked to another pagoda which was closed and then a monastery, where I again tried to ask buddha for help, but I didn't have a clear question this time, so it didn't work. Madelleine and Laura's big idea was to see the mixture of Islam and Buddhism in western China, so we looked at a mosque and Laura practiced her Chinese on some hobby farmers (she's really good).

We walked back to the bus and I got some ice cream. We rode the bus home with a woman who needed her parasol to find off the sun's rays at 6 p.m. inside the bus. Not joking. She had also managed to kick my ice cream cup, as I was trying to throw it out, so she deserves to be publicly shamed for this act, I don't care.

We got a little confused on the way home, but after asking a bunch of people we finally made it. We ordered some street soup, the kind with the bread in it like in Xi'an, and some barbecued bread on top of that. Gluten-tastic.

Laura surprisingly couldn't communicate vegetarian to them so she finally had to bring her own food from the small marked behind the street. Our soup was mostly vegetarian so she had some of that as well.

The we went back to the hotel and I fell quickly asleep AFTER doing a mini facial first, of course.

Communist housing

Communist housing


Zhengding

Zhengding


Longxing temple

Longxing temple


Longxing temple

Longxing temple


Longxing temple

Longxing temple


Longxing temple

Longxing temple


Rotating bookcase

Rotating bookcase


Me and bookcase

Me and bookcase


Bixi

Bixi


Guanyin

Guanyin


Bixi

Bixi


Kai Yuan temple

Kai Yuan temple


Kai Yuan temple

Kai Yuan temple


Kai Yuan temple

Kai Yuan temple


Kai Yuan temple

Kai Yuan temple


Another pagoda

Another pagoda


pagoda

pagoda


Laura and farmers

Laura and farmers


City wall under construction

City wall under construction


City wall under construction

City wall under construction


Monastery

Monastery


Monastery

Monastery


Anti-graffiti, graffiti

Anti-graffiti, graffiti


Ice cream

Ice cream


Lady on the bus with parasol

Lady on the bus with parasol


I did a facial

I did a facial

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login