The Triangle Of Life
In the event of sudden earthquake.....dive next to a bulky object not under it.
For the sake of one good action one hundred evil ones should be forgotten. DA TONG
The girls at the Temple side Guest house in Beijing gave us our train tickets to Da Tong. She told me the ticket clearly said in bold Chinese symbols 'Central' train station and not 'West' train station, she said that any taxi driver would be able to get us to 'Central' in less than 10 minutes. With this in mind we grabbed a cab a full 90 minutes before our train’s departure, just in case, except we headed off in a tummy screaming WESTERLY direction. I sat in the back and kept saying to Stu and his new best friend the non English speaking cab driver “CENTRAL, not WEST where is he going now that sign said West Beijing” Cab man got on the radio and 'Datong' was mentioned a few times and 'OK' a few more times but still he headed West. Being new to Beijing and China my intuition was having kittens, today Stu was too chilled for my liking as he assured me that the driver knew what he was doing, I told him I did not think the driver
knew what he was doing, maybe he could not read Chinese properly as there is two kinds of Chinese, Cantonese and then Mandarin. Stu quipped that he was Chinese so of course he'd be able to read Chinese. We were having a proper row, we never row? We had less than 28 minutes until the train left 'Central Station' the next departure was not until 7 hours later, GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
While we were driving at Black Turtle speed along a random yellow tailed free way I knew it was all wrong and felt sick in my stomach. We got to the busy 'West' station, I ran out showed someone in uniform my ticket, he giggled then nodded all was OK, but I felt it was still not OK, it was the giggling that put me on edge, I was in a proper tummy spin. We got all our bags out of the cab and reluctantly paid useless Mandarin cab man, at security check a woman in uniform asked for our tickets, she told us we were at the wrong station we needed to be at 'CENTRAL' Station, this was once all our bags were half way through the scanner machine
Be on best behaviour at all times, you never know who youre talking to.
with four people ahead of us! With 21 minutes to go, I grabbed my bags and ran down two flights of stairs to find another cab, but they all wanted 80-100Y for the trip instead of putting their meters on, we found a nice man who drove more like Miss Daisy on zopiclon against the city traffic which was dense. We got to Central station with 3 minutes to spare and it cost 26Y.
The train was to take six hours so we booked a hard seat which is the cheapest option in the common part of the train some three miles down the same platform, every pair of eyes watched our every move, giggles could be heard, talking behind hands could be seen, and slight irritation could be felt within my inner sanctum. We found our pre booked seats which had two youths keeping our seats warm, we told them to hop it in international language of thumb, nod and wink, so we could sit in them. A nice man helped us show them to their designated standing areas between the trains unstable joining bits.
I arranged an assortment of pot noodle on the table in front,
in clear view of my fellow train comrades; this brought more giggles of traditional acceptance from the train party. The helpful nice man didn't speak English but we managed to get around this by finally digging out our Lonely Planet and using the translation parts hidden in the back areas. I noticed this man was helping everyone, he first noticed a young woman who came from the loo with her jumper tucked into her pants, he discreetly unhooked her from behind, an old lady couldn't reach the upper hold all to get something from her suitcase, he brought the case down for her and placed it back when she had finished, he went to get boiling water for a man who had a gammy leg and clutched a walking stick. There was something very community about him. THE HANGING TEMPLE
(Xuankong Si) this was really impressive, 40 tiny bendy wooden halls and walkways that look as if they are suspended high up in the rocks, but they are sort of embedded into the rocks. Inside are Confucius, Buddhist and Daoist gods in stone, iron and bronze. In one Sanjiao Dian hall (three religions hall) Confucius, Buddha and Laozi are
What's he doing?
Health and saftey in motion.
seated all together, another example that we can all live as one. The rickety stilts that hold the temple up were constantly being shaken by tourists, it was unnerving to see this as the building is so old and so high up any turbulence or shaking of its structure should be avoided at all costs, especially with us still on them. THE YUNGANG CAVES
These caves are carved into sandstone cliffs, the most impressive display of Buddhist art that I have seen so far, 51,000 Buddha statues started during the Wei dynasty around AD 453, many influences are visible throughout, such as Indian, Persian, central Asian, proving many influences coming into China at that time via the Silk Road which is the biggest and most famous route for traders from Xian China right through to the Mediterranean sea. Da Tong was once Chinas capital, but when the capital was moved to Yuoyang in AD 494 all work stopped in the caves. There are over 40 caves, but caves 16-20 are the oldest and built by Monk Tao Hao. Cave 5 The Seated Buddha blew my mind as it was so grand.
All throughout my time travelling this globe,
I have asked around if there are any fortune tellers anywhere. When I left the Yungang Caves a strange thing happened, a man dressed in white leapt up from his stool and grabbed my arm, he kept pointing to my face and rubbing either side of my nose then gesturing to the cash he had in his hand, I thought he just wanted money for a massage, but his dress was meticulous and clean, his fingers manicured, money didn't seem to be what was bothering him. He would not let me go and kept saying 'money then pointed to my nose'. I thought maybe I needed rhinoplasty or something, so I kept saying 'I like my nose and I don't have any money to give you, sorry.' and tried to walk away. Our tour guide walked past, he talked to her for a bit and she looked at me in a 'wow you're famous' surprised kind of way, making me fondle my nose.
This man had wanted to tell me that I had an unusual Asian nose; it was not a normal western nose. My nose is apparently a clear and definite shape of a Chinese money nose, here
they read palms and faces and he wanted me to draw out a sacred stick from his bamboo cup, he read my fortune. He told me my nose is pure money I will live in a palace, he told me that money is always around me. But then he told me that my parents have given me nothing in this life time, despite this misfortune I adapted well, I have a strong spirit and a big heart and I always get by. This is very true, I listened to what he had to say, he told me this year I have small money, but as of next year my nose will take great shape and I will make many others happy. He told me after this year has finished I will never need to worry about anything again, I will have lots of good love from a man of my heart and a full bank account. Right now I have not a single idea what I’ll be doing next year. Ironically he wanted no money for telling me all this, even after I took his picture.
As we were leaving this dusty town we bumped into the kind man
from the train, he was only the town’s top ranking policeman. I have not eaten with a knife and fork for nine whole days.
Only she that has travelled the road without a Lonely Planet knows where the holes are neck deep, the temples are sky high and the fortune tellers show you your nose for money
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