Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lama Temple

We were all awake by 4 a.m. today, but we slept pretty good. The beds are rock hard, though. We were downstairs for breakfast when they opened at 6:30. The buffet was pretty good. Fred and I had omelets, but forgot to order them well done. It's been 24 hours now, so I think we're in the clear. They had bacon, pastries, pork, chicken nuggets, cereal, fried rice and lots more, including some kind of cold fungus, which kind of just looked like black spinach. We all had orange juice, which we're pretty sure didn't have ice in it. Instead it had like a cooler thing in the middle of it. Fred had coffee, but says it wasn't very good.

There were a lot of families there with red OCDF t-shirts on, but they weren't from our group. Jane Leidke, the director of OCDF, showed up as well, and informed us another tour started two days before ours. Jane also gave us some ideas for what to do with our free day.

After breakfast we headed down the street to an Italian coffee shop Jane had told us about. Unfortunately they just opened when we got there at 10:00, so no coffee for Fred and Lynette. We then turned left down street to look for the Yonghe Temple Jane told us about. The Yonghe Temple is also known as the Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple, or just the Lama Temple. It has many halls with Buddhas in them. Outside the front of the halls is a place for burning incense and praying. One of the halls contained a 73 foot (I think) Meitreya Buddha carved from a single tree trunk. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed in the halls.

After leaving the Lama Temple we walked down an alley towards the Confuscious Temple, which we decided not to go in. Walking down the alley there were shops, a teahouse, a school, and a coffee shop where Fred and Lynette finally got their coffee. I tried bartering for the first time, buying a small Buddha. She started at 60 rmb, I started at 30, and we ended at 40. Jane told us to start really low, even as low as 1 rmb. She said it is not insulting to them at all. There was one man following us when we first entered the alley who was trying to sell us postcards. He was very persistent, even though we kept saying no, both in Chinese and English. Finally we just picked up our pace and ignored him and he left.

We stopped for dumplings on the way back to the hotel. Although the food was good, it took forever for Rachel's rice to come. We had pork dumplings and mushroom dumplings. The inside of the mushroom dumpling looked more like a meatball. They were good, though.

After a swim and a nap, we met downstairs for our orientation meeting with Jane, our guide Le Bing, and our travel coordinator Jenny Peng. Dinner consisted of lots of different foods: rice-stuffed lotus root (only thing I didn't care for), pork, VERY spicy kung pao chicken, sweet and sour chicken, beef and vegetables (including some HOT green peppers which I mistook for zucchini -- oops!), dumplings, rice, broccoli, green beans, some other kind of greens and a few things I can't remember right now.

During dinner we were able to speak to Jenny about our orphanage visit, and we were informed that they were able to locate the person who found Rachel and brought her to the orphanage when she was born. I'm thrilled, as I wasn't sure they'd be able to locate this person. I'm feeling like I'm short on gifts, though. Salt water taffy, Hershey kisses and lipstick seem so insignificant to give to someone who saved your child's life. But I'm very excited to meet this person and show them what a wonderful, beautiful person that little baby has turned into.

We ended our day with an ice cream cone from McDonald's.

Some interesting notes from today: This is a government run 4-star hotel, and there is a thermal scanner by the front desk. They had it pointed at our group when we were standing around talking. I saw a VERY young boy, no more than 3 or 4 year old, smoking. Walking down the street with a man, holding the cigarette between his two fingers. I still can't get over that. I know smoking is big here, but I didn't realize they start so young.

No comments:

Post a Comment