Continuing our story from my last post…After we left the garden, we went to Yunxiang Temple and Nanxiang old street.
This is a lovely wooden building you see when you first come in to town
The town's canal
This is all that is left of the original Buddhist Temple which burned to the ground. This is dated 600 AD.
This temple was originally built in 505 AD. It burned to the ground at some point. They rebuilt it in 2000.
This is a female goddess who sits in what westerners might call the first "sanctuary". There are 4 sides to her and many hands because being a woman she can hear all and has great wisdom to help you. People would typically pray to her if they needed help with getting pregnant or with help with their children or families.
These fearsome warriors were in the same room as the female goddess. There were many of them scattered around the temple. Those are evil spirits that they are standing on, victorious.
These two people were outside the temple burning paper money to their ancestors. We all felt there was a certain amount of impropriety, no matter what your religion to be talking on your cell phone during a religious act!
The Buddhas. It is the monks who mostly use this room, for prayer and chanting.
Here the monks were chanting a funeral service. We felt kind of bad about taking a picture of this but we were assured that it was ok.
This is a house that can be purchased at the monastery store along with the paper money and fire sticks used for praying.
This house is elaborately decorated with pictures of rooms on the inside and comes complete with a doorman. Any guesses what it’s used for?
It is burned at the grave of relatives. I’m thinking it is for the newly departed, so that they will be assured of having good accommodations in the afterlife. (we weren’t really told the purpose: I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants on this one)
All right, finally, the food part, as promised. This town is famous for xiaolongbao, or steamed dumplings with soup in them. It’s still a mystery to me how they get the soup in there.
We were there the day before the start of a month long festival celebrating these dumplings. In fact, they are hoping to break a world record and have 10,000 people eating dumplings at the same time! This should be interesting–it’s a tiny place!
This lady seems pretty happy that she's going to be making millions of dumplings over the next month.
This guy just wants to get on with it. He's got a big pile of mystery meat to get through.
The mystery meat before it's ground up. Would have preferred that it wasn't sitting on the floor, out in the open, right where all the customers traipsed past it on their way to their tables, but I did live to tell about it.
The final product--steamed in a bamboo steamer. We'd devoured most of them before I remembered to take a picture!
The dumplings are dipped in a special chinese vinegar, put in the spoon and poked with a chopstick to release the soup.
Releasing the soup is a very important step! These are extremely hot. Hot pizza cheese on the roof of your mouth does not compare!
There were other things to eat in town:
Itty bitty birds on a stick
Deep fried cakes of "something"
This one's for you Andy--stinky tofu (the black ones)
These guys were bashing away at peanuts to produce a candy similar to the inside of a Butterfinger candy bar
And finally--caramelized crab apples on a stick. Amazing!
This is something you see quite often here--men wearing pajamas during the day outside. Usually it's older men though.
That was it for that day. Meredith is now back from her epic trip riding horses, peeing with the yaks, and sleeping with the nomads.
A natural nomad and horsewoman, don't you think?
Sunday we are heading to Kyoto for the week. It is the mid-Autumn Festival here in China. Basically everything shuts down and everyone gets the heck outta Dodge. So we are too. Not sure how much I’ll be posting next week. We’ll see.
One more thing–I have a link on the right to a blog written by the son and his wife of a college friend of mine who is living in Uganda. Thought you might be interested in checking it out.