Yesterday we visited a huge Buddhist temple, Xichan. Several of the structures were built prior to 900 A. D. The place reeked of incense, as there were several places to give your "offering." The massive statues of Buddha were made of solid bronze and were everywhere within the temples, with places to kneel before them. There were also statues of the lesser gods, apparently of those who achieved enlightenment, that people pray to as well. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the temples. There were some monks chanting and praying over a couple that were kneeling before Buddha. We saw various people kneeling before different statues and performing small rituals as they prayed. There was all kinds of foods set out as offerings to the gods. There was also a towering multiple-story pagoda that used to house various items. Elaborate and ceremonial as these places are, I still cannot fathom how these people buy into this stuff. The grounds were lovely, with ponds of fish and turtles and old lichee and banyan trees. The oldest lichee tree had a trunk that was completely hollow yet had healthy branches growing from it. There was an enormous banyan tree that had multiple trunks that had formed from the horizontally growing branches, some even growing out of water.
After visiting the temple, we
stopped and ate at a Chinese restaurant. I enjoyed it until I accidentally ate
an extremely hot pepper. I really thought my throat was aflame. In the
evening, we took another walk around the West Lake park, but not nearly as long
as the first day.
Today we are leaving for Guangzhou, so it's been mostly
hanging out here in the hotel room. We did go down to the fitness center, where
they also have a bowling alley and played one game. We all pretty much stunk.
Billy had the highest score, in the 60's. We're convinced the balls were warped
or the lane wasn't flat or something. At least that's what we're going with.
The guys had been spending some time in the afternoons on the exercise
equipment, running off some energy.
Cora Li is doing better with us every
day. She still prefers me and cries after me if I'm not holding her, but she's
getting down to play more and more. It also looks like we're over the food
battles, although she definitely has an opinion on what she likes and doesn't
like. She's napping now, which is a blessing, since it will be fairly late
before we get to the hotel in Guangzhou. Hopefully, she'll be in a good mood
for the plane ride.
I have mixed feelings about us choosing not to go to the
city of her birth, Xiamen. Although she was in foster care, the orphanage was
where they initially brought her after she was found. We could have also
visited her finding spot. However, the trip would have been over 3 hours one
way, and we thought it would have been tough for all the kids. We've been
making steady progress with Cora Li, so it could have set us back some. Anyway,
that's some of what weighed into our decision. Certainly, if we had been able
to meet her foster family, it would have been worth the trip.