I'm Totally Better at Humility Than You
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This was my first glimpse of anything resembling the Chinese countryside. As we were travelling to the temple, we passed through a smallish village. It seemed to be mostly small family homes on maybe an acre of land, every square inch used for some kind of intensive agriculture. Corn was a popular crop, though there were others. I wish I knew more about backyard agriculture so I could more readily identify them.
After the village we encountered... interesting... road. It's perhaps worth mentioning at this point that we have used this tourbus before
The Temple in we were travelling to, Hengshan, was pretty busted up by the strife china suffered before and after World War Two. Restoring religious places was not exactly the top priority of the mainland Chinese government from 1949 to 1976, so it remained in disrepair for some time. As a result, it is still being renovated.
After we stopped and disembarked, we began our ascent. The temple itself is on three different levels, and each one seemed to correspond with a different level of sincerity on the part of the parishioners. The first level was filled with people who seemed pretty indifferent to the whole thing. I didn't feel too bad about taking pictures of these folks. I took no pictures of the people at the topmost level.
It was at the first level where I went to the bathroom
At each successive level, there were also buildings filled with large Buddhas and what I assume to be Bodhisattvas and other Godly-beings. These were all garish as hell and very colorful. They were as follows: First Level, 2 Big Buddhas back to back, 4 big badass Godly dudes. Second Level: One large Buddha, maybe two dozen Bodhisattvas. Third, Three large Buddhas.
I would like to see more temples. They are interesting places.
*Chinese drivers, especially professional (bus and taxi) drivers, are generally much rougher on their vehicles than western drivers. They slam on brakes. Their philosophy of shifting is to jam the transmission into submission with blunt force. Honks can last for the better part of minute, and are a full body maneuver.