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Song Shan N the Shaolin Kung Fu Monastery

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Do you want to know what I really hate! I hate being woken by someone knocking at my door that is actually after another room. Especially when it is around five in the morning. Bugger too when you can't fall back to sleep. HHHMMMmmmmm! After paying for my night's accommodation I asked a simple question to the staff sitting outside playing with each others hair. I simply pointed across the road and asked if it was the bus station to Song Shan. This then seemed to give all the taxi drivers sitting near by the go ahead to run over and surround me yelling and screaming that they would take me there for three hundred Yuan. The next would then come down fifty etc. Finally when they had exhausted themselves I quietly told them that I never wanted a taxi and if I wanted one I would have asked!! I walked across the road and to what was to be the first bus for the day. Maybe I should have taken one of those cabs! Ha ha! The first bus you say! I accept half the blame as I did miss pronounce Temple. I said Si as in See when it is Si as in a very quick Sir. BUT the first bus lady understood as she did her best Martial Arts stance and we both laughed. She then yelled across the bus yard to someone who obviously had no way of hearing what she was saying and pointed me in that direction. I had no way of knowing that I had said the wrong thing as I wasn't corrected. I then said it again to the new bus lady who somehow mistook it for Dee and they thought I wanted to go to Shaolin Dee. So after nearing an hour's ride I found myself at dam. So what did I say? FARK! You're damn right I did as half way through the journey I knew inside that we were going the wrong way. I had no reason to know but just did. It must be all the walking hey! So with this feeling inside I actually showed the bus guy the Chinese characters for Shaolin Si in my LP along with those for Song Shan. Yes Yes Yes he said and nodded over and over. For those coming to China, you will learn to get used to the nodding and Yes Yes Yes's as it is easier to say yes than to try and correct. So after waiting for the buses return journey, trawling for passengers and stopping for a new tyre and fuel we finally made it back to Luoyang by around midday. I headed back to the ticket booth and was once again met by the same Station Lady who seemed confused as to why I was back so quickly. I laughed and said Shaolin Dee to her and she gave me a dumb look and then began laughing. I then got myself a ticket at the ticket office for Shaolin Si (Temple) and found my own bus and sat to wait for its departure. The journey to Shaolin Si (temple) took around one and a half hours and was visually beautiful (70 kms). It was no Wuyi Shan or Mingyong but we went past beautiful green rice fields and slowly wound our way up Shaolin Shan. Not a huge mountain but it had some nice views. From when I stepped foot off the bus I knew I wasn't going to like this place that much. It had the makings of a huge tourist trap from the first huge statue. And the fact that it came with its own 'New Ancient Town'! I can understand 'New Ancient Towns' in many places and in fact I love them no matter how new they are ie: Zhongdian in Yunnan Province. But why would a temple want a 'New Ancient Town'? I past through this and after finding the ticket booth I was rushed to hospital with heart failure! Not really but nearly. The ticket had gone up seventy Yuan in three years. I've never seen anything like it so far in China. Some had doubled but this was beyond belief. Did I pay it? Of course I did, I too can be a Stoopid Dumb Tourist' and love it! Why did I pay it? Mate, you know when you watch a action packed movies full of martial arts and get all worked up and want to go out and Hoo Haar people, well everything you have just watched began here at this temple. Kung Fu/Karate, Taekwondo/Judo etc, it all began here! So after paying my 100 Yuan entrance fee I made my way towards the temple. First stop was the Shaolin Martial Arts show here students break metal bars over their heads and jump here and there and do all kinds of things that make us normal people feel like failures and that we single ones will never have a beautiful girl look at us again. Next was a short movie that I decided to skip and then finally after a nice walk amongst the thousands there with me the temple finally came into view. So there it was, Shaolin Si. The original temple was founded in AD 527 by an Indian Monk named Bodhidharma. Twenty or thirty years later a Monk arrived at the temple preaching Zen Buddhism. Both he and his disciples began imitating the movements of birds and animals. The original was called Shaolin Boxing and everything else supposedly came from there. Over the next many hundreds of years it finally became known as Shaolin Kung Fu. I'm sure there is a lot more to the story but that's all I need to know to be happy so you will have to either like it or do some of your own research! Ha HA! Ok, to my temple adventure. After paying a disgusting entrance fee and watching a short performance by some students I finally reached THE TEMPLE which I actually found to be quite dull and without character. It seemed to lack colour and life, but what it lacked it made up with tourists by the thousands. This is even strange for me to write as I love almost every temple I come across and to find one of the worlds most well known to be 'as above' is a strange thing to accept. So here's another unusual thing for you....advice from me as to what to see or not see. Firstly don't waste your money here unless you really want to see short shows put on by students or to watch them as they practice. This was exciting to watch on my journey back to the gate but both are not worth 100 Yuan! Instead spend your money on Baimi Si (White Horse Temple) and the Dragon Gate Grottoes that houses Xiangshan Temple (located on the east bank of the Yi River). Or simply take a beautiful girl out for a romantic dinner. This place really isn't worth the money and the bus ride there and back again. BUT...I have found many places awesome when someone has told me they weren't so. Maybe forget the above advice and simply do what you want. Ha ha! After I left the temple I was interviewed by some Beijing Uni Students who were asking many people about the price rise, short shows and general feelings about the day here at Shaolin Si. I told them truthfully what I felt and they told me many others felt exactly the same. On the bus journey home my mother called to see if I had heard from our 'Xian Family' and got a huge surprise when she could barely hear me nor I her. Where are you? she asked. On a bus, I answered. Are you at the station or something? she asked. No, on the highway, I answered. Another typical bus ride here in China. This driver was a very horny bugger believe me.

He beeped at anything that moved, even if it was a fly inside the bus. Needless to say, we hung up rather quickly. When I arrived back in Luoyang I decided to use the most of what was left of the light. So I headed back down Jinguyuan Lu and all the way down to the Luo River. I then walked along the river and after taking some happy snaps of some 'very out of place' buildings I zig zagged my way to the 'old city' and ended up exactly where I thought I would...all done with out a map in an area I'd never been to. I came out of a little back street and there was the West Gate. I found a little noodle house that made Lanzhou Noodles. These are the noodles from Gansu Province and the same ones I eat at the 'Great Northern Noodle' Bar back in Shaowu. I then zig zigged my way back towards my hotel and dropped in at a Net Bar to check my email. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was Black Sabbath The album was 'The Ozzy Years' (CD2)

The Shaolin Monastery N Song Shan

The Shaolin Monastery N Song Shan


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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