Great wall and Chinese Buddism

Trip Start Apr 26, 2006
Trip End Sep 09, 2006

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Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Ni Hao,
Well here I am again, same Internet cafe, same computer and same can of empty cold tea drink sitting next to me ('iced tea' really is cold tea here, how upsetting is that.)
Yesterday I made it to the Great Wall of China, and it was a pretty magical sight to behold. You can also see it from the plane as you fly into Beijing, which is something to watch out for. I went to the Ba Da Ling section, with lots of Chinese tourists having a look as it Labour week here (all civil service on holiday) and was surrounded by Chinese families on holiday, Que much posing with Chinese kids (who are very shy by nature) and amazing views. The wall itself is impressive, seems to be built over so many hills, as if it should really be structurally impossible. Did you know there was a starbucks at the Great Wall of China? I was so desperate, but I managed to resist the urge to run and order a double caramel macciatto by running in the opposite direction up the wall.
That evening Marie took me out for Thai food, which I really enjoyed, especially the pineapple rice. And then straight to the flat to bed, Im becoming a hermit that lives in a big city alone in a flat which I have now decided is haunted, either that or there is someone (or something?) walking about upstairs with stilletos on till 4 AM every night.
Today has been quite an eye opener, we visited two Buddist temples in Tangze, around 2 hours north of Beijing where I discovered Chinese Buddism seems far less liberal than our local 'friends of western Buddhism.' Everything appeared to be similar to my preconception of Buddism, until we got to the statue of Budda which is supposed to give you a boy child if you prey enough (who is also a man incidently) then in the last worship room was covered in scenes from hell e.g. fire, blood, demons etc (all looked very familiar) But then again very few of my preconceptions of China have been accurate so Im not sure why I found it so shocking that Buddism is a real religion worshiped by many people in a similar way to Christianity as opposed to something people do at the weekends at home. This temple was in a beautiful lush green setting, and had a certain atmosphere to it, with incense burning and orange robed monks wandering around (and at around 2 hours from Beijing city center I could breathe.)
This evening I ate at a Chinese resteraunt with a picture menu. Had deep fried tofu/bean curd, which I recognized as its one you would get at home, but it is black and tastes almost like liquorice here. Anyway must escape from this super smokey Internet cafe, Night Night all love m
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