Write Your God ™
The Soul's Retreat
It's been a long time...
These last few days have been spent just kicking it. Sharday and I were going nonstop all week and ended up taking a day to recalibrate. We stayed in Tuesday and watched movies. We left the house at night to get something to eat at Grandma's House/ Happy Grandma/ Grandma's Kitchen (It goes by all of those names).
Sharday and I went to one Grandma's location, but they didn't have a menu with pictures. Fortunately, the next location did. And it allowed us to go HAM. The food is served family style and it is delicious. We ordered enoki mushrooms (which I had the first day I got here and loved!), eggplant, scallion pancakes, some other type of pancake stuffed with a chile, a mango smoothie (which is more like fresh mango and ice-- like a sorbet) and black currant pear juice. Our server didn't speak any English (not atypical), but she tried really hard to understand us and we all giggled at ourselves throughout the night.
But all I know is if Sharday and I were on a Chinese charades-type game show, we would go home with only t-shirts. The Chinese do not understand gestures and acting something out! Whew! They are apparently a very literal people. Not even pointing seems to work. At another hot pot restaurant last night (not the one from last week), the waiter forgot to bring bowls for our hot pot soup. We pointed to several bowls before the waiter got what we were saying and brought over ladels. Another waiter figured out what we were saying and brought over the bowls. She couldn't stop laughing at her friend who brought the ladels. Sharday was frustrated, but I was tickled.
Yesterday, we went to the Lingyin Temple, a Buddhist temple in the mountainous part of the West Lake area. Lingyin translates to "soul's retreat" and indeed it is. It is home to two of the oldest and largest pagodas in China and is referred to as the Budhhism Mecca. The Buddhas were monumental and intricate, and in one temple, there are 500 individually carved Arhats (a perfected person, one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana (spiritual enlightenment).
Thousands of people burned incense, laid flowers on the altar and prayed. I was already present in the moment, but the smell the incense made my eyes well with tears-- all of my senses were immersed in people offering themselves to God. It was beautiful.
(BTW-- we ate at a temple restaurant, so there's the sense of taste ;-).
We are leaving Hangzhou today and going back to Shanghai. We are going to see that show I mentioned a few a days ago and try to hit up a spa. I have severe buyer's remorse, so after seeing everything there is to see, I'm going to go back to a few places and pick some things up.