We through caution to the wind in our pursuit of the Jiming Temple and went by feel rather than keep checking the map. And hour and a half later….. And we weren’t actually sure where we were. We’d managed to find the high stone wall that surrounds the temple fine but not the actual entrance. Luckily along came a pies piper of sorts- an old man carrying a radio playing sweet Chinese music laughed when he saw us and motioned for us to follow him. Like sheep we followed closely behind until he brought us to temple gates.
After paying the entrance fee we were given three sticks of insence to burn in the centre of the main square. We observed and then repeated what everyone else appeared to be doing: light the incense from a room in the corner of the main square, bow with your incense to certain points of the temple and then place the incense on a pier with the rest. We probably looked a bit silly emulating them but we thought it would be better than just standing there disrespectfully.
After we’d disposed of our incense we went on a lone tour around the temple grounds. We looked in all of the rooms where the statues and shrines that were set up. People have brought gifts of fruit and other foods to be placed at various shrines as well as putting money in a collection box which was usually manned by monks. There were lots of monks walking around the temple and we got to witness a service.
After visiting the temple we wanted to walk along the high stone walls to check out the views but got there too late as it was closed for the evening. Instead we went for a walk around the lake gardens which neighboured the temple grounds.
The lake was huge! We walked about a quarter of it in over an hour getting distracted by the various boats that were on the lake. Because it was such a nice day the lake was packed and so was the surrounding grass and seating areas. We found a little spot near the edge of the lake and sat drinking fresh orange juice from a vendor near by.
After a while the weather changed and its started to rain. Everyone headed for the park exits and we made our way to the metro station and home.
When we got back to the hostel we were so tired from all of the walking that we’ve done since leaving England. We laid on our beds, put our legs in the air and just didn’t say anything for over half an hour. Recouping our strength before dinner.
We headed out for dinner quite early and where as the past few nights we’d avoided the dinner rush (6-8pm), most restaurants were pretty busy. We chose one that had been constantly busy these past few days and got a place in the queue- we were given a ticket number. We still don’t know any Chinese numbers so wasn’t sure when our ticket was being called but we chances our luck on the second round and got seated really quickly.
When we sat at our table lots of people in the restaurant looked at us as we went by (something that we’re getting used to now) but some took photos of us. One man even circled our table twice, took a photo of us with the flash on and then took another from a different direction! The whole situation was pretty weird!
Dinner was ok food wise although I’d ordered shredded tofu thinking that it would be vegan and it came up with dried shrimp on top. I had a little freak out because I could see the eyes on the shrimp still and it actually made me heeve a little. I knew when Leah and I planned to come to China that vegan would be pretty difficult so I said as vegan as possible. With this in mind I picked off the shrimps (leah helped) put them on a different plate and ate the rest of my meal.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and collected the washing that we’d hung up to dry earlier. Everything had been moved around and Leah was missing a pair of underwear. We found it really funny this time but I can imagine in a few months that underwear will be in short supply!