Henan Trip – Shaolin Temple and Luoyang

Posted by Jill,
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[Written 10/10/2011, published 11/8/2011.]

We started our day early (at 7:30am) with our Chinese tour. We loaded our “little” American family on the bus and, to the surprise of the guide, were not a Chinese family.  She had spoken to “Jia Wen Bin” (aka Todd) on the phone and didn’t realize he was a foreigner. :) Our kids were also the only children on the tour.  Thank goodness we’re in China where everyone loves kids—even noisy ones.  (Actually, the kids behaved quite well.)  The tour bus wasn’t too bad. The driver drove it like it was a motorcycle—flying down the highway along the center stripe between oncoming traffic and the lane going in our direction. Oh, and there was smoke. I forget that all the no-smoking laws have yet to make their way to China. People—men especially—smoke everywhere. Restaurants, restrooms, elevators…crowded tour buses with children aboard.  On a positive note, the kids were great, the company was friendly, and we made it to Shaolin in record time. :)

We visited Shaolin Temple with the girls last year, but it was the boys’ first trip there. It was neat to see hundreds of young boys in formation and practicing all over the grounds. We saw groups of them everywhere we walked. We really enjoyed the scenery, the pagoda forest, and the Kungfu show. I think the kids’ favorite was the Kungfu show. There were some younger boys, maybe 6-10 years old, that performed. Impressive! (Sorry, will have to get the Shaolin pics from Todd!)

Fancy lady serving our fancy lunch.

We headed out to lunch at a very showy, traditional Chinese restaurant with our tour group. They rang the gong as groups entered the room, and all the servers were in traditional Chinese clothing. As is customary, way more food was ordered than we could possible eat. So we stuffed ourselves silly and saw that half the food was still on the lazy susan in the center of the table.

Next was Luoyang. We visited the Longmen Grottoes—a series of caves, carvings and statues–both big and small–on the side of a cliff along the river. Amazing! We saw the first set of carvings and were so impressed!  Then, wondering what could be further down the walkway we continued on with the group.  To our astonishment, more caves, more carvings, more statues.  They went on and on and on.  I cannot imagine how long it took to carve every intricate details on hundreds of feet of cliffs, sometimes many feet up in the air.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  On a sad note, many of the statues have been defaced–literally.  Over the years people have removed the faces to try and sell them. :(

- Jill

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