My health is getting better to an extent where I can’t stay in bed doing nothing anymore.
Time to move.
I started walking south on the highway this morning, aiming at Xinzhi in a comfortable distance of about 12km.
When I saw a temple on the mountainside I decided to go up there and check it out:
This is Wusheng Temple 五圣庙, a Taoist site from Ming-dynasty – and old handsome’s name is Master Yan 闫道长.
He’s the head-Taoist in the region and a very nice and charming fellah.
Usually when I have tried to shoot Taoist monks I’ve always had the feeling that they didn’t like being photographed.
Master Yan was really cool about it, though.
He even opened up the doors to all the different halls and let me put up my tripod to shoot:
I felt it was very touching when he gave me a small copy of the Daodejing 道德经, the classical work of Taoism. And tea leaves. And little buttons with the ying and yang 太极图 on them.
He even tried to explain the fundamental thoughts in Taoism to me, but I gotta admit I didn’t quite understand all that much (hopefully a careful study of the Daodejing will help) – but we had a lot of fun anyways, and I promised to come back once I had a wife and some kids!
Then, after another few cups of tea, I had to get back on my way eventually:
I walked through the mountains:
It’s much better up here than down on the highway. Better air.
And more temples:
This is Wenshu Temple 文殊庙, a Buddhist structure originally from the Song-dynasty.
This place’s boss:
Master Li 李方仗. Very nice guy as well. Unfortunately it was already about to get dark when I got there, so I didn’t have that much time to stay.
We looked around, took some pictures and talked about the 1000 arms and 1000 eyes of the Goddess of Mercy 观音.
Buddhist statues sometimes don’t like to have their pictures taken that much, so I refrained and just shot in the courtyard:
Then, after another twenty minutes of happy countryside walking, I was down on the sinister highway again.
And there it was, another beautiful MML:
Sometimes the depressing blackness can make for a nice composition:
I found an interesting cable-car that hauls black stuff to a coal factory – and other black stuff back up the mountain:
There’s a hotel under that cable-car. Not a bad place, but their rates just didn’t sound too reasonable.
I tried to haggle with them. They wouldn’t have it.
“Ha,” I told them, “I’m just going to go to one of the other hotels outside!”
“Okay, you do that! We’re the only one around.” they replied and smiled.
Now who was I to believe that?
I looked. And I looked.
Damn. No other hotels.
Go back and embarrass myself?
I kind of just stood around unsure what to do, when a kind soul appeared, listened to my problem and asked her grandparents to give me place to stay for the night:
A house dug into the mountainside, nice and cozy. Two lovely grandparents and two grandchildren, a little dog and a foreigner.
The kids are staying in a room with Grandma.
Me and Grandpa are getting ready to share a bed in the other room.
The dog is staying outside.