Saturday, October 18, 2008
Su Zhou: Day 15
snack on the bus (a long bus ride)
NTNB (New town, new beer)
ADAF (Another day, another fish)
Xiao Tong Ren
Maria LOVES XTR
I think these are fried taro cakes.
Feng Qiao Lu. The sign does not lie.
The pagoda on Feng Qiao Lu
Which must make this Feng Qiao. "Qiao" means bridge.
The town of Feng Qiao? Some random road.
Waiting to enter the Pagoda temple grounds.
So there are these dudes called the Four Heavenly Kings. This one is particularly awesome because he has a guitar. His name is Dhṛtarāṣṭra but I call him the Guitar Hero of Buddhism.
You how you burn all those red candles inside the church? Being that Buddhism predates Christianity by some 600 years, I willing to be they came up with this tradition first.
"Let us out!"
Similar to the Hall of 1000 Buddhas, but these ones are not only 10x bigger, each one is unique and probably based on past monks. No cheating here!
Some over rambunctious worshipers start a fire. That gardener looks like he does this way too often.
Yet another famous piece of carved rock with famous words. I guess it would have been cool if the Declaration of Independence was carved into a giant rock or even fashioned into a giant bronze monolith.
Did Buddhists start the Christmas Tree tradition as well? Red and Green?
At the base of the pagoda.
From the 2nd floor of the pagoda (higher floors were close). Man, those were some steep stairs. More like a slanted ladder.
In a different room, you have to pay to enter this one where there is a bell and I was sent as the family representative. You are told to ring it exactly 3 times. I secretly wished to see what would have happened if I just continuously rang the bell. Like 33 times! Would they storm the building and drag me out? Under the bell is a golden buddha. The ringing must make him deaf.
Our next town is just as the sign reads.
Mudu, the town of rich people.
Enter: home of rich man 1.
More rock tunnely things.
"Where is my tea servant?!!!?!!?"
back onto Mudu road.
and to another rich man's house.
This was actually a summer home for one (or many) of the Chinese emperors.
Here you can see some of the rocky tunnel paths.
A royal skybox.
OK, surely that was enough rich dude homes.
And surely I was mistaken.
Behind this place, there was a giant court of rubble and modern day poverty.
OK, back to ancient luxury.
Check out this building.
I wonder what greatness is up there?
Uh... boxes? This ancient building is a stockroom?
Here is a dude selling fresh made sesame crackers. Aunt Polly try to get this guy to sell her the recipe and while she was able to charm much information out of him, we weren't able to get the real McCoy. We got a list of ingredients though and between those, Aunt Polly, and Ba the food scientist, a plan was formulated. Unbelievably, we were supposed to see yet another rich dude home but that plan was aborted due to the absurdity of the notion.
It's getting dark so that means...
time for food!
Some stupid strong white liquor. Chinese grappe but not nearly as enjoyable.
Another MEAL, another fish.
This was pretty cool. Lotus root stuff with sticky rice in the holes. Sweet and very good.
Whole goose soup.
So this must be Suntory like "for good times, make it Suntory time" and I guess they make "special beer." Still tastes watered down.
and then something unfortunate happened.
Fortunately, Maria was able to lend me her camera. Actually she got that new James Bond Sony Ericsson phone from her phone company for free (w/ a 8GB mem card!) and that phone has a 5 mega pixel camera on it.
in Su Zhou.
There was a nice promenade, although the occasional vehicle was seen illegally passing through. Many pretty girls out at night. Unlike all the other towns we visited. Strange?