We saw the temple from the tower and decided to find it. It was worth the little effort and would have been worth more. It is a working monastery that we couldn’t really go in unless we wanted to pay to light some incense, but we could gaze in the front door. This is where a big happy Buddha sat (the happy Buddha is the fat one that smiles). On either side of this entrance hall were Goliath-sized guardians, each of a different color.
Outside the front door were three large incense burners and a stone wall with some inscription on it. The temple doors were guarded by two kylin, mythical Chinese beasts made up of various animal parts. The temple was painted a brilliant golden yellow and other bright vibrant colors on the eaves and rafters.
As we were finishing our tour we walked along the river and heard singing. We investigated and found a dinner boat, similar to one in San Antonio on the river walk except this one was man-powered like a gondola. On the boat were two opera singers performing traditional Chinese opera in traditional costumes. It was a fun thing to see and added to the ambiance of this little town. It was a moment when we all said to ourselves, “hey, we’re in China!”
We also found a giant Christian church under-construction and had the chance to let Melissa play dress up in some traditional Chinese robes for pictures. If this is what most of the little towns in China are like, I can’t wait to visit more.
Our adventure wasn’t over yet. We still had to get back to Hefei. At the bus depot in Sanhe, we found tons of people and lots of commotion. There was a long line that meandered all the way around the parking lot waiting to get on buses back to Hefei. We watched as each bus was loaded far beyond capacity like sardines in a can. We feared that we would end up getting crammed into a bus with no seat and no moving air.
When our turn finally came, after a little more than an hour, we found out our tickets were for seats and we got to rest our achy feet. They still packed our bus though. It wasn’t as simple as that. Our bus driver seemed to have had a bad day because when our bus was loaded he got out and something happened we aren’t quite sure of. What we do know is that our driver was being chased around the bus and then we heard screaming and flesh hitting flesh and more screaming. Yeah, our driver got in a fight right when he should have been leaving with us. We didn’t really see anything but could feel the tension.
After a few minutes, someone else got in the driver’s seat and drove while the driver played conductor with blood on his hand, literally. It was a little more than unnerving especially since there were a few women who decided to get into a very heated argument on our bus. I only wish I could have understood everything going on around me. Someday.
We made it safely back to Hefei and decided McDonald’s would be a good ending to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Who knows what the next adventure will be? I did start teaching this week though and will share that with you soon. Until then, go have an adventure of your own. Like this old man we found fishing with a long bamboo pole in the town moat of Sanhe.