Today we headed out the door too late to make it to the Terracotta Warriors. And so we headed across town to see the Wild Goose Pagoda. Our taxi dropped us off on a delightful street just behind the Temple and so we stopped to eat lunch. We had roast corn with pine nuts, lamb kabobs and a “crispy shrimp” dish. All of it was really good, except that we couldn’t peel the shrimp very easily!
After lunch we headed over toward the Pagoda and after wandering through some gorgeous gardens we purchased tickets to what we thought was the entrance to the Pagoda. It turned out that we had just spent five bucks to go into the underground palace. It was a long (smelly) tunnel lined with linen paintings of buddist stories. (Sorry, there was no explanation in English and I have searched the internet high and low and can not find a better description.) At the end of the tunnel there was one monk in a room with a statue where you could pay to pray and three monks reading I Ching (Zhou Yi). Because we were not interested, we quickly left.
After walking around the wall of the Pagoda temple we found the entrance. It cost a little more to go in, but I only paid for three people, not the little kids. Inside we found many incredible photo opportunities. I only wish I was a little more brave and took photos of people actually praying to the idols. I don’t really have an understanding of Buddhism, but it seems that people pray to Buddha and to several other Gods and even priests or leaders who have died (??). I guess I need to read up on it!
We spent about 2 hours walking the grounds of the pagoda. The gardens are spectacular and I think we’ll make a return trip when it is warmer in hopes of seeing some of the peonies they have planted there. I love the roofs, doors and windows of old China and took lots and lots of photos!
When we exited the temple gardens we decided to mingle with the “New Year’s” crowds that are everywhere at the moment. We purchased tiny Chinese kites for the girls (four to play with and four to save. Y20 total.) On the other side of the square, we found a pizza hut, a dairy queen and a Papa Johns. That was just the beginning of the “Mall” area. We did not actually enter the mall area, but stayed on the walking street where we found New Year’s decorations and lots of vendors. These vendors were not like the vendors in the Muslim Quarter as they had booths like any we would see in the U.S. at a carnival. We also saw the Xi’an Art Museum (which we plan on visiting later), a movie theater and the Xi’an Concert Hall. The size of these buildings is immense and I continue to be flabbergast at the commercialization and Westernizing of China!
We are home now and running out the door to eat hotpot with Coco. Yum! I love hotpot!