Enlightenment, one post at a time...

Enlightenment, one post at a time...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another Mandatory Update

Well, the weather has been pretty chilly here.  I'm a little tired of people in America downplaying it.  "Oh, boo hoo it's 30 degrees there?  It's -76 here!"  Yeah?  Well what's the temperature inside?  Because in our house here it usually hovers around the mid 50s.  You can see your breath in the bathroom.  I don't give a crap if its -30 in Wisconsin.  You're outside for about 2 minutes.  Try living in mildly cold purgatory for awhile. 

Courtyard outside the Temple of Hui Neng
Anyway, a few weeks ago, we went with our friend, Heather, to Nan Hua temple, which is the holiest temple in Chan (Zen) Buddhism.  It was occupied by Hui Neng, the 6th Patriarch (think "Pope" or "Dali Lama") of Zen Buddhism in the late 7th Century.  His mumified remains are still on display there in full lotus meditative pose.  It was unbelievably beautiful and peaceful.  We got to watch the afternoon chants/prayers of monks in one of the larger temple areas.  One of the coolest experiences yet in China.  We also ate at a really good vegetarian restaurant.  To get there, however, we had to pass an aggressive gander that was protecting the path.  It was a little unnerving.

A gate at Nan Hua Temple
This last week, as the weather cooled (and it rained almost the whole week), we went to a nearby village called Feng Wan.  The village is famous for one thing: it's hot springs.  We were told it would be very expensive, but that was when the student helping us thought we wanted to hire a bus for ourselves.  When I asked about the bus that makes regular trips to the village, she agreed that it would be "much cheaper" (6 yuan [less than $1] per-person, actually).

The problem was that the bus took us to the village, not the hot springs resort itself.  We were told we could just "take a taxi" to the springs.  Of course, when we arrived it was pouring rain, and there were no taxis.  I asked several people there and they gave conflicting advice.  Eventually, in true backpacker style, we hitched a ride in the back of a noodle delivery truck.  Boxes of flour and noodles were everywhere in the back (it was not quite as big as a semi-truck).  I let the girls ride up in the cab with the driver, and I sat in the back with his passenger/helper.  We went over some really bumpy roads and I was literally in danger of hitting my head on the roof.  Eventually, after I must have broken all the noodle packages in the box I was sitting on, we arrived.  The driver refused any money, and wished us well.  Nice.  I love backpacking.

The springs themselves were INCREDIBLE.  The locker rooms had porters, wood trim, clean floors, private lockers, and warmed towels, not to mention the private shower stalls (complete with body wash and soap).  When we went outside, there were about 15 different pools full of hot water from the springs.  Since it was cold and rainy, there was no one else there.  Just us and the Chinese workers there to dote on us.  We stayed until evening, then went and ate at the restaurant on the grounds.  It may have been the most relaxing day I've ever had in China.  I didn't want to leave.

Class A
Class B
I had my final Friday oral English classes yesterday.  It makes me sad.  These students are really talented, creative, fun, and entertaining.  I'm really going to miss those classes.


  1. Just a little friendly advice.....if you're sick of people in America downplaying your cold apartment STOP BITCHING ABOUT IT!!! Miss you *hugs and kisses* and a Merry Xmas!! :)

  2. Oh, please, because every single facebook status from back home wasn't people bitching about snow and cold.