Monday, October 18, 2010

Chopsticks and Pagodas

We had gone to bed early after our hike around West Lake and another marvelous meal. I can't seem to say no to the food presented to me. My use of chopsticks is getting pretty good and not much gets by me or is left on my plate. Quinn is the best at the use of chopsticks and have given me a few pointers.  Getting the noodles out of the bowl is a test, as they are easily 17 - 18 inches long.

Our bus driver took us to the West Lake area where there are many Pagodas, park areas, and a favorite romantic spot for all. Needless to the place was packed with people on Sunday. The Baochu Pogoda built in 976 is the center of the Buddhist Culture and was one of our first stops. This also the spot of the Lingyin Scenic Area, one of the ten largest Buddhist Temples, 1st built in 326 AD. The Lingyin Pagoda is the only Pagoda in Hangzhou that dates back to the Ming Dynasty. This is one of the most popular spots for Buddhist activity in SE China. There were tons of people worshiping here along with the visitors and tourists. Incense was all over the place and at times the smoke almost burned your eyes.

After lunch we took a boat ride across to an island dotted with paths, walkways, and bridges. The winding bridge walkway was made of granite slabs 2' by 6' and 6 inches deep.. and 3 wide. This was set on concrete columns with precision craftsmanship and made for comfortable walking. The boat took us back and we headed to the spot to be picked up. The area would be like Lake Calhoun but set it in  a  city of 10 million, with clogged paths and roads. We looked across the way at the Shang Ra La Hotel, the old communist state Guesthouse where President Nixon stayed in 1972. A night's stay would run you $160 a night.

More down the road.

Tom Rasmussen

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