Sunday, April 03, 2005
We checked out of our hotel, the Beijing Gorge Hotel (a over-rated place) and went to the Red Snail Buddhist Temple. I always feel strange entering a religious space as a tourist invading a sacred place with cameras and gawking eyes. When we first entered the grounds we walked through a winding path surrounded by a small bamboo forest simple and beautiful setting mood . When the space opened we could see a landscaped pond, with statues with a large red shell. The Temple and grounds were really quaint and peaceful.
Entering the temple I wanted to say a prayer to Buddha asking for a safe trip and safety for my family. I said the prayers standing not wanting to publicly pray inappropriately.
Also on the grounds I walked through a forest of Buddha statues and found my personal Buddha. Afterward we snacked on lamb and calamari and watched children play. It would be easy to spend a day there.
When we left the temple we stopped at a farmer market and bought some wine soaks dates they were very very good.
Afterward we drove to the Mutianyu Great Wall, this entrance is a tourist trap, with aggressive vendors everywhere all hawking the same stuff. It was a trail of vendors tears to get to the cable car which took us to the Wall (you can hike up if you have the time) the condition of the Great Wall at this location is fantastic and we had a nice time strolling around with the rest of the tourist. Steep, built to follow the curve of the mountain range, it was a challenge walking from one-watch tower to another. The soldiers who walked these paths must have been very fit.
Well back on the van and back to Beijing airport we're on our way to the silk road.
The Red Shell Temple
The Great Wall