Juli cut me loose in the city today.
She was planning to go shopping with one of her girlfriends, and I didn’t like shopping, and they didn’t want to go shopping with me anyways, so I was free to roam the crowded streets…
…and dissolve within the masses:
I wasn’t planning on getting lost though – instead I was aiming straight for the Tianfu Square 天府广场, because I had been there before and I wanted to see how the old Chairman was doing these days.
There is a photograph from January 2006, when I had been here for the first time:
You know how I always love trying to find out how the people of China deal with this part of their history (idols coming to town, role models, a smile, rounding up the capital, Scandinavia, same old story: rain to drizzle) – and I clearly remember the strange feeling of an epiphany when I had noticed the laundry hanging there right next to the Chairman’s statue.
It had looked just so charmingly… nonchalant.
Now, in the summer of 2008, things had changed though:
Much to my surprise actually.
There were lots of tiny voices across the street, so I decided to take a fresh look at the whole scenario, a look from a different perspective.
I wanted to see what the Chairman looked like with the future in the foreground:
Oh, and the future was there…
…playing like crazy:
Then some dude in a uniform told them to stay away from the water:
I think it was out of concern that something might happen to the future.
Later that day, when I looked over the pictures I had taken of the Chairman, I noticed that a tile was missing next to his right foot though:
I really don’t think he would have liked that.
Then I went to the famous Wuhou Temple 武侯祠:
Yep, you guessed it – I had been there before as well, and I am not going to spare you of the pictures from the time I went with my friend Dario:
It was in February 2007, and we had dressed up as generals from the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms 三国演义:
I love these pictures.
…and I realize I enjoy dressing up (sightseeing overkill).
This time I didn’t have a friend with me though, so I wandered quietly about the place:
Very, very quietly:
Not asleep yet?
When I came to a place where I had taken a picture of myself in January 2006…
…I took another one today:
Okay, I can imagine you want me to stop rambling about myself and rather try to give you an idea what the temple is all about?
Well here it is:
No, not the pot in the foreground – it’s the grave mound in the back that’s the reason for the whole site.
The Emperor Liu Bei 刘备 from the period of the Three Kingdoms was interred here, and different dynasties after him have been constantly rebuilding new temple structures to commemorate him:
By the way, we have already seen his two best friends before on the way: there is Zhang Fei 张飞 (student day), and there is the legendary Guan Yu (misconceptions in foreign media, salt lake city, my firecrackers).
What’s interesting though – besides these three friends, each renown for their loyalty and their bravery on the battlefield, there is a certain fourth one who is probably even more revered than the three (maybe except for Guan Yu):
Zhuge Liang 诸葛亮, strategic advisor to Emperor Liu Bei. His foremost attribute: intelligence that can only be described as superior.
He’s got his own shrine in the temple…
…and interestingly enough, it is located behind the shrine of Emperor Liu Bei:
Hint: almost all of China’s palaces and temples have a certain order, ranging from the barracks in the front to the most important buildings in the back.
This would thus put Zhuge Liang in a superior position to his own Emperor Liu Bei – had it not been for the fact that the emperor’s shrine is on higher ground than the one of his strategic advisor. But then I am thinking: they could have just raised the ground in the back of the temple a few feet and then put the emperor’s shrine in the back, couldn’t they?
Okay, now maybe I’m confused.
Wuhou Temple is not a Buddhist or a Taoist temple by the way. Instead, it is entirely dedicated to these historical figures from the Three Kingdoms period who have attained legendary status in the course of the centuries.
I found one little Buddha statue though, it was quietly sitting on top of a roof somewhere:
When I left the temple after closing time, the tourist streets where still busy as hell:
Time for me to go.