Today we visited Manjushri monastery which is one of the most precious places of worship for the Buddhist people. The ornate buildings were really extraordinary and it we were all rather surprised to see a wooden fish which we estimated to be worth £100,000 but was actually worth £15,000,000 due to the very unusual and valuable wood from which it was carved.
We saw many Buddhists lighting incense and praying to the Buddha statues which, Buddhists believe, contain living souls. We were advised not to photograph the statues as it is believed that the power of the pictures is greater than that which can be contained in a picture. Buddhists also believe that old people shouldn’t be photographed as each photograph steals some of their already dying soul. It was also a privilege to hear the moving story of how our guide had become a Buddhist and compare what we believe as Christians to what he believes in his faith. We both agreed though, that faith can really change people’s lives.
Our next stop was People’s Park via ‘Wide and Narrow Alley’ which was a hub of tourist activity and boasted a plethora of unusual foods from rabbit skull to pig brain- I may hasten to add that I did not partake in any of these culinary delights! However we did have some delicious sesame donuts, pictured below!
Arriving at People’s Park was rather mind blowing; hundreds of seemingly ancient Chinese people absolutely slaughtering each other at badminton- it’s no wonder the life expectancy is so high when Chinese people are so fit and active!
One of my favourite experiences was in ‘Dating Corner’ where parents take their children’s information to match them up secretly with other youngsters. Many Chinese Mamas were trying to poach me for their sons as white skin is so desirable here- one lady stroked my arm continuously as she was so entranced by my white flesh!
We soon stumbled upon a dance group which is very common in People’s Park, and even though they had just finished a performance they put on some music for us to join in with. We had a fabulous boogie to ‘gangnam style’ with a nice man in white trousers and shoes as our muse- we attracted quite a crowd and burned off a fair few calories in the midday sun. I felt like a local celebrity.
Our guide suggested a little game of Rock Paper Scissors in order to win one of the ornate sugar sculptures which the ladies in the park sell on. I got all the way to the final but was tipped to the post by Connie- she did share though so everyone was a winner in the end.