We spend a few days visiting old friends before the next leg of our Holy Mountain Tour
23.03.2011 - 26.03.2011 55 °F
With Sunee's family gone, it was time for us to go to Southwest Jiaotong University at the foot of Mt. Emei to relax and visit friends and students. It was nice to be able to relax for a few days before we set out to visit the last two mountains on our agenda.
Welcome back to Emei City on the way to Southwest Jiaotong University!
The first group get together, of course, was that evening with friends and associates joining us for dinner. A wonderful dinner I might add.
The next morning our friends from the pharmacy store dropped by and we went over to Baoguo Temple to meet with our friendly monk, Xing Ming. We had a great visit and, of course, I took a lot of pictures.
Here we meet a visiting American monk who lived in a monastery in Hubei province. He had come to Baogua Temple and was staying for about a week. Fu Xing, I thing he said his Buddhist name was. He was a very interesting character.
See, I told you I took a lot of pictures. Baogua Temple always delights.
Our group around the blooming rose tree in one of the courtyards.
After the candles were lit, we went to visit some friends near the river. We had been there before for dinner. Xing Ming came along for the visit as well.
We then went to visit where Xiao Lin"s (Chinese pharmacist) husband worked. He is the director for one of the local retired folks housing developments. It looked to be a very nice place for the seniors to live. The ones we met seemed to be happy.
This was one of the friendliest cats I have met in China. It also had beautiful green eyes and very bossy, not wanting us to leave.
We then traveled to look at some peach blossoms that was now in their full beauty. While there, a bunch of students came by and I got to pose with them. They all seemed to have a good time with the visiting Laowai. It is always fun being around Chinese students.
Finally we visited the bridge in Leshan which was several hundred years old. The day was topped off by another dinner that evening with our good friends.
Today we spent with our friends from Leshan. Yan Miao (our nun friend from FuHu Temple) met us in Leshan and took us to a wonderful vegetarian restaurant overlooking the river. Her friend was a local government official and we had a marvelous time visiting and sharing stories about the past year.
YanMiao and our wonderful host for the lunch.
Just another great vegetarian lunch with at least seven courses.
Sunee's teacher, Mr. Ai, came by and picked us up after lunch and took us to his village where every one was named Ai. From my understanding, during the early years of the Qing Dynasty, a son of a wealth Manchurian family in Beijing fell in love with a local Han Chinese girl. Such things were unacceptable to the ruling Manchurians so the couple had to flee south in order to start a family. Thus the village of Ai was established and the people are all related from this original couple. Most of the people are, in fact, ethnic Manchurians. Mr. Ai, took us for a tour of the town, one of the most interesting experience we have ever had in China. The people lived a simple life with only the bare necessities. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I did taking them.
This is the bathroom in the house where Mr. Ai grew up. Basically it was a basket in a darkened room off the kitchen. Pretty rustic!
A couple of shots of the buildings next to Mr. Ai's house.
Mr. Ai had brought his father a new map of Chengdu. His father used to live in Chengdu and was always interested into looking at maps to see how much had changed.
This was one weird looking cat. Not friendly and quite dirty. Nice eyes, though.
The following pictures are of Ai village as we toured around the tiny hamlet.
That is Mr. Ai, one of the finest artists in Leshan and Sichuan. Sunee spent three years studying under him. He was my favorite instructor of all the instructors Sunee had in the three years we lived in China.
That is Mr. Ai's brother.
Time to go back to the house and get ready to eat.
Sunee helped by stoking the fire in the wood stove.
Our chef was also an Ai who was a cousin or some kind of relative. He is a very good chef.
The above are some pictures of Mr. Ai's family. The lady on the left is Mr. Ai's wife.
Time for dinner.
And eat we did. Such a great time we had visiting authentic rural China. The people we met were as friendly as any group we have met in China and in the world. Our trip back to our hotel in Emei was uneventful but we were tired.
Another trip to Baogua Temple and quick visits to Southwest Jiaotong University pretty much took up the day. We caught the evening bus to Chengdu where we would meet Enliven and Arthur. They would set up our trip to the airport early in the morning for our flight to Hefei. Another adventure was waiting for us the next day.
A final visit to Baogua Temple to have our farewells to our monk friend.