templicity

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For all those who might have been wondering what my room (my cold room) looked like last night:

room in Zhengding

The thing that seems kind of like a glowing disc is the electrical heater I paid 8rmb for yesterday. It will scold you if you touch it, but it doesn’t really seem to be designed as a heating for a whole room…

Anyways, I peeked out from my sleeping bag this morning only to discover that the landlord had turned off the electricity at some point in the morning hours. You know what that means: No power, no heater.

What the hell, I thought, and decided to make a quick move to find some cultural relics that would cheer me up.

And find them I did:

Kaiyuan Temple

This one is Kaiyuan Temple 开元寺, it’s from the Tang Dynasty (唐 618-907) and has a big stone turtle and a bell tower as friends.

More interestingly though, I ran into a hobby falconer who was training with his bird:

gentleman with falcon

He told me this was a 隼 (took me a while to find this character, reads sun, means “falcon”), and that you could get one for about 1.000rmb.

Now THAT is what I call a classy hobby! I wonder If I could have a 隼 to sit on my shoulder all day while I’m walking, and then have him mess with other people’s hair or something whenever we feel like it…

-hold that thought-

Next temple:

Linji Temple

Linji Temple 临济寺. After having seen so many temples in this place, I was swinging into the “seen-one-seen-em-all” kind of mood and on the hunt for the more interesting details. And what do you know – look close, you see the monk sitting there on the left side of the gate?

I was like, damn that guy is totally tuned into his meditation thing, absolutely zen, doesn’t even notice me, how cool is that?

…then I got the tele out:

monk at Linji Temple

The master of zen turning out an sms-monk??

I went over to inquire: “Hello, master, what are you doing?”

The dude got really happy when he noticed me – he had somehow switched his mobile phone settings to ENGLISH and was desperately trying to change it back. Now THAT was what the super-concentration was all about! I had a good laugh and then helped him fix the problem, and besides the smile of a happy monk I got the feeling of good Karma with that. Might come in handy later on the way…

Last temple:

Guanghui Temple

Guanghui Temple 广惠寺. I know this has been A LOT of temples for you to look at by now, but Zhengding literally has dozens and you gotta appreciate them as they come.

I climbed up and checked out the road to Shijiazhuang:

Zhengding

Dusty.

I climbed back down and got on that timeworn road, walking southward bound, out of the old town gate.

Three hours later I was in the capital of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang:

Shijiazhuang passover

Big city – lots of people, tall buildings:

bag of snacks

(These are corn crackers sold on the street, I liked them as contrast to the apartment blocks and the flyover.)

Construction everywhere, looks a lot like in Beijing:

construction in Shijiazhuang

…and very different from the countryside I’ve been walking through for the last weeks:

street scene in Shijiazhuang

It’s kind of weird being in a place like this now. One thing I noticed: There are hot chicks everywhere! I don’t know if it’s because this place is really full of good-looking girls, or if it’s rather because I’ve been spending too much time in the countryside lately, but walking through the city really had me turning my head all the time, which I guess is not so good for my blood-pressure…

I’m staying in a good hotel, costs me 150rmb for the night (and the heating is working like a charm) – and I’m getting my clothes washed too.

Maybe I’ll stick around tomorrow, maybe I’ll leave.

Good night.



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