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The Longmen Caves N Guanlin Si N Tragedy Strikes

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, So, today. How was today you ask. Well, what can begin as awesome can be completely thrown through the fan, ripped apart and then it's not so good anymore. We rose around eight and after a dried noodles and a 'three in one' coffee for breakfast we headed downstairs to allow Eve and Ping to argue over the room price. Sadly they lost and we made our way out the door with our bags. Luckily for me that I travel with a small 28 Litre pack that really doesn't weigh much more than a day pack with an LP, some lunch and some water in it. The first stop for the day was Guanlin Si (temple).

Wegrabbed Bus No: 81 and headed back along Daonan Lu, past The White Horse Temple to a large cross road where we turned left. Don't get too carried away with trying to spot a sign for the temple as this is where Bus No: 81 ends and it is right across the road from the temple. Terry and I had fun with the girls after reading the strange sign out the front of the temple. 'Please do not scribble, climb walls, shoot birds, pick the flowers, litter, spit or lie on the ground.'

Do people normally go around shooting birds in a temple?

I've been to quite a few of them and have never witnessed this behaviour. All the rest (besides scribbling) I have witnessed over a period of time. OK, Guanlin Si and what is it all about? I actually liked it a lot. As you enter you walk a short walkway and on both sides are little dragons with red ribbons around their necks. It then leads to two trees covered in red ribbon. Cool entrance. The temple is full of colour which always brings a smile to my face. Once through the last door of the temple you come to the reason behind the temple. Walk through the door and behind the incense burner you will find a statue of a turtle with a stone scripture on its back. Well, go further back and behind the turtle with the stone scripture on its back you will find a wall. This is actually the front wall of the tomb of Guan Yu. Walk behind and you will see coin slots. The left one I think was for health and future and the right one is for wealth. So I guess the out come depends on how many coins you drop in and how loud they sound when they hit the money pit below. They louder they fall the better your prospects are (or so I remember) but Ha Ha and family are no longer with me this evening so I can't say if this is one hundred percent true or not. So who is buried behind the wall and beneath the big mound of dirt covered by trees.? It's Guan Yu silly, I told you that before! Well, I lied a little as really it's only the big fella's head. Ha Ha told me the story behind it all but I can't remember it all so I will have to rely on some of the LP writings as well. So, Guan Yu was a big name general and was executed during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220 - 265). The executor tried to tell the 'third kingdom' that the 'second kingdom' executed him but the 'third kingdom' didn't believe the nasty 'first kingdom' and buried Guan Yu's head here and sent the rest of his body to, I think the south to avoid a war. Good enough for now! After we left Guanlin Si we walked back to the main highway and then grabbed a bus from the other side of the road that took us down the road opposite the road Guanlin Si was on. We then made our way to the Dragon Gate Grottoes or Longmen Shiku (15 kms from Luoyang). After paying the 80 Yuan entrance fee we spent an awesome day together climbing stairs that took us along the cliff walls on both the east and west banks of the River Yi. These walls have more than one hundred thousand Buddha engravings in them. They are found in more than one thousand three hundred grottoes and two thousand one hundred niches. Their height is from two centimetres to seventeen meters. There are also more than forty pagodas and over three thousand six hundred inscribed steles/tablets. Work began around 493AD and continued for around two hundred years. Now that's a big WOW as the people engraving these things took nearly as long as its taken white Australia to get us where it is now. So hard to comprehend for me! So what that all means is that this place is now one of the most amazing grotto complexes in China. It also means that you will have an awesome day here! The site is now a World Heritage Site and so it should be. It was awesome to climb the stairs and walk amongst the bee-hive like Longmen Grottoes. We entered through the north gate and after dropping our bags off at one of the shops for 5Yuan in the 'New Ancient Town'. I really did find everything I came across amazing until after we left Fengxian Si or Ancestor Worshipping Temple. Here you will find a seventeen metre high Big Bugger of a Buddha along with a few of his buddies that are just as tall.

But these guys are only tiny when compared to the really Big Bugger in Leshan! From here most of the caves etc were pretty much empty and all statues had either been destroyed or stolen. After a short rest at the end of the West Side we headed across Man-Shui Bridge and began our adventure on the East Side of the river. The East Side Grottoes are hardly worth the adventure as 99% of them had been stolen, smashed or beheaded by western souvenir hunters during the 19th and 20th Centauries. What I do recommend though is the Xiangshan Temple. I really did love this temple. It was built in a tier fashion on the side of the steep hill and it was so peaceful for the amount of people actually there. The architecture was great as were the colours. From there we headed to Bai Juyi's Tomb. This guy was and supposedly still is a well respected Poet here in China. Once again Ha Ha and family are no longer there and I didn't' take notes as I thought they still would be. Finding his tomb takes a lovely stroll along leafy tracks on the side of a hill that is found right near the Longmen Bridge. It's an easy walk and the hillside is small. After the garden tomb walk we began our journey back to the front gate. At the Longmen Bridge we grabbed two three wheeler motor bike taxis and raced our way back. Terry, Eve and I lost the others and when we finally found them we found them all in tears as they had received news of a tragedy that had struck the family. Within an hour we had said our sad good byes and time seemed to stand still as we waved at each other as their cabs sped off towards Xian. Sadly after seven years I was not to spend anymore time with the 'Xian Family'. How lucky I was to have returned to Xi'an when I did and to actually have spent part an evening with with the one who was to 'Return to the Stars'. After finding myself a room at the Zhong Zhou Hotel (right next to the huge Tianxian Fandian (Hotel) I gave Li Ping (Joyce) a call as I wanted to hear a familier voice. I then spent the next five hours getting myself unknowingly lost in the Luoyang streets. I actually didn't know I had been lost until I re-found KFC on ZhongZhou Zhonglu where I stopped for a coffee and a salsa wrap. Here I looked at my map and tried to trace where I had been. I then spent an hour t the Peoples Square watching all the different styles of dancing. I then headed back to my hotel to do some washing during which I thought about how people's lives really can change at the drop of a dime. When is it time for that dime to be dropped? Who knows and best not to think about it! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was 'Pearl Jam'. The album was 'V's'

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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