Happy Christmas Eve! Our day started by Paul and Timb knocking on the door at around 8 o’clock in the morning to get back into the room. The night before a guy and his girlfriend invited us to his internet bar for a night of free gaming. I ended up coming back to the room while Paul and Timb went to check out the scene. I guess they liked it.
So as they slept through the morning, I caught up on a few emails and blogs and relaxed a bit myself. As an introvert, I relish me-time when I can simply do my thing without distractions. This made the last several hours a welcome break from the norm.
Once the whole team was awake, we made a move to investigate the Kumarajiva (a.k.a. Jiūmóluóshí) Temple. It was built 750 years ago, named after a monk born into a royal family, and a theology prodigy, who did great things. Even before his teen years, he ordained a prince, and starting in his twenties, he journeyed to India and Kashmir to continue his studies of Buddhism. Upon returning to China, he translated many scripts and sutras adding a great deal to Chinese Buddhism. This temple, although consisting of the usual temple layout, was quite elaborate. All the pillars were of stone with relief carvings of dragons that twisted around the pillars, their claws, whiskers, snouts, and flames all jutting out off the pillars with gaps and pockets of empty space throughout the carvings. And every one was different. The pagodas and various buildings within the temple grounds were grand in size and decor. As we walked around, the air smelled of incense, the din of the city was muffled by the surrounding walls, and a few monks were taking an early evening stroll.
After a dinner at "Carles Hamberg"—a chicken burger joint owned and operated since 1987 by a dude now in his late 50’s—, we found ourselves at the internet bar, again. Our gracious hosts refusing payment—we played computer games for the next several hours and returned back to our hotel like zombies in search of darkness, making it back just as the sun began to illuminate the Christmas Day. It was a Merry Christmas, indeed.
Distance: 0 km
Total Distance: 1083 km
End: Wuwei (武威)- Hotel
Written by Pat