I got up late and started walking through the fields and the little villages with the colorful propaganda murals on the walls:
“love your fatherland, love the people, love work, love science, and love socialism 爱祖国，爱人民，爱劳动，爱科学，爱社会主义”
It seemed very complete, and very ultimate.
I was on my way to Dafo Temple 大佛寺, the home of the Great Sitting Buddha:
And great in size it was, this Sitting Buddha, maybe about as large as the ones in Jishan (massive buddha, heavy snow) or Binxian (revenge of the prime target), though something was different about this one:
This temple was entirely remodeled, so brand-spanking new it was almost disturbing.
…here’s what had happened: the large Buddha had been sitting here in his temple for hundreds of years, ever since the Ming-dynasty. It had survived warlords and warfare, dynastic changes and the abolishment of the Ancient Silk Roads. Then, in the 1960s and 70s, the cruel mindless mobs of the so-called “Cultural Revolution” decided that this Sitting Buddha was part of the “old” and needed to be taken care of.
So they took care of it.
Today the government is doing what they can to take care of the reconstruction of this temple – and of other things that have been lost forever.
I made a friend on the temple grounds:
This is Zhao Jinyang 赵锦旸, a high school student from Shandan, and a good kid – we had a fun time that afternoon!
…and here’s the tacky picture and the tacky line you’ve always been waiting for in this blog:
The world belongs to the ones who enjoy walking on it.
…or some shit like that.
You can see on the map that there’s a little lake I had the pleasure of walking around.
Artificial or not, it was actually quite nice to look at:
The air was very hot, the highway was very far, and the water was just laying there like a gigantic mirror.
There were even some animals to look at, some of which seemed totally stressed out:
…while others looked at ease with themselves:
…like a little family should be.
Stupid frogs, I thought, why can’t you take care of your younglings like the ducks do?
Later that day, I sat down for a break in a little village called Qijiadian. The name Qijiadian roughly translates into “home of the Qi-clan” – but there was not a single person with the name Qi around. “I don’t know why this place is called Qijiadian,” this old guy told me, “almost all of us have the last name Wu 吴.”
The people from Qijiadian whose name was Wu were very eager to show me the temple they had just recently built on the south side of the village:
Like the rural church (watch my back, Lord) and the mosque (Angus) I had visited a few months before, this Taoist temple had also been funded and constructed entirely through efforts of the community:
I liked the place, took some pictures. Then I realized that I was very tired.
“I am tired,” I said.
“Why don’t you spend the night here?” they answered.
I looked outside from the main gate which opened to the South – for better Fengshui 风水:
…the snowcapped mountains in the distance, a lady watching over her flock of sheep in the foreground:
I knew I had to stay:
…little did I know I wouldn’t get much sleep that night.
It wasn’t because I was scared of the dark:
It was something else. Actually, it was two things:
The first sleep-depriving mechanism started as a humming sound next to my ear. It appeared right after I had made myself comfortable, and then turned into the indifferent sensation of dozens of little wings and little legs, looking for good places to penetrate my skin and start drinking from my precious blood.
The sucking-feast only stopped when the temperature made a considerable drop after midnight, driving even the hungriest of them away.
I went to sleep.
Then the second thing started, causing me to wake up time after time, rolling from side to side, and curling up in my sleeping bag.
It was too cold for mosquitos.
My winter gear was already in Xinjiang.
It was too cold for me.