Shaolin Temple near Luoyang
15.07.2009 - 15.07.2009
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Shaolin Temple near Luoyang
Yesterday we walked down to the bus station area and made arrangements for a tour company to drop by our hotel to pick us up. We were to join a tour to visit Shao Lin Temple. The agent stated plainly that this tour was to Shao Lin and covered the bus trip but not the entrance fees. We were paying for the convenience of not taking public transportation and we were a bit tired from running after buses. A nice respite, we thought
The car came right on time at 8 a.m. and took us to the agent's building where we climbed onboard a very crowded bus. There were four other foreigners on the bus and a lot of Chinese. I sat next to two lovely Italian students who had finished their classes in Shanghai and were traveling around before returning to Italy. We all relaxed for what we expected would be an easy hour or so trip to the famous monastery and temple.
Within around thirty minutes we made a stop at a cultural site that I never heard of. It was the tomb of the third wife of the fourth emperor's cousin who lived in the area after his first two wives had been killed by the emperor. Not really but it was a newly hatched cultural site that we were not interested. We began to complain to the tour guide that we had not signed up to stop at every temple along the way to Shaolin. He got testy! Eventually he said it was not his problem but several others in the bus had the same reaction. He eventually gave our money back and sent us to the main road to catch the public bus to Shaolin Monastery. The other foreigners stayed with the tour.
Tickets were 100 Yuan for everybody, so we paid our money and entered the world-famous Shaolin Monastery.
On the bus we sat next to a couple of students from Beijing so we decided to visit Shaolin together. I believe they were engineering students.
As one enters the complex, on finds an open area for shows. Indeed, there was a show be presented by a bunch of baby monks. After watching several martial arts shows on and around Emei Mountain, this was in comparison "cheezy!"
This Shaolin Monastery was enjoyable and worth the effort. The Monastery, IMNO, is not real - a commercial venture where they are selling the Shaolin Brand. Capitalism at its best. Even though it was very commercial, we enjoyed the visit and the monks played their parts perfectly. We did visit with a few who seemed to enjoy their acting parts and were really friendly. I think the Emei Mountain monks who do martial arts would wipe the floor with these monks but who knows. Wutang Mountain also is well known for its marital arts as well. Shaolin has got the name and the star power behind it and is a very successful tourist attraction. We both liked it very much.
Returning to the entrance at around 4 p.m. we met the foreigners who had been on the bus with us. They had spend a lot of money to get into five different sites on their way to Shaolin. None of them was happy about their current lack of time to enjoy Shaolin. We visited awhile about their adventures then rented a taxi back to our hotel and much needed rest.