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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trip 14: Fujian to Guangdong (January 17-22, 2012)

This is a record of my fourteenth trip to visit the 142 Key Temples of China. Links lead to articles on the temple (or other site) named.

There is also a FaceBook album of this trip, referenced in each article. You can see the whole album here.



Regrettably, I did not write this account at the time of my journey. I am reconstructing it from notes a over two years later, so there may be some gaps or even inaccuracies. I will improve it as more information (or a better memory) becomes available.



Tuesday, January 17:
Nanputuo Temple
7:45-8:50 flight to Xiamen; taxi from airport dropped me at the Home Inn, so I walked quite a bit, took a bus a ways, and walked some more, seeing ome of the beautiful city of Xiamen. Bus to Nanputuo Si (2:00-4:10, my #82). I tried to get temple food, but everything was closed early; so I walked to the front gate of Xiamen University, across from which was a good Buddhist veg restaurant. Bus back to hotel (in a crappy location, BTW, stuck behind buildings).
  • Stayed Home Inns (Xiamen Guomao)



Wednesday, January 18:
Kaiyuan Temple
I took a train to Quanzhou, then a taxi to beautiful Kaiyuan Si (8:50-11:20, my #83). He dropped me at a side gate, as the front area is heavily impacted--a narrow lane with a lot of traffic. The two pagodas are gorgeous. But I tore myself away and taxied back to the station. Train again to Jinjiang, and a nightmare taxi ride. The station was so new that only black taxis were serving it, and bus service hadn't developed yet. The driver was obnoxious (smoking, etc.) and had a fake meter plugged into his car's cigarette lighter. He tried to overcharge me, claiming "Shi Happy New Year." I didn't have change, and went into a store across from the temple gates to get some. He wanted 80, I figured 30, but the store owner encouraged me to give him 40 (maybe to get him to stop shouting). In that frame of mind, I entered Longshan Si (12:55-1:30, my #84). It's historically important, but today it's a Daoist temple in transition back to Buddhism. My cab home was a little mini thing; the driver even pointed out that I'd dropped my pen getting in. Price was "as you like"; I offered 40 and he seemed very pleased. Played with teen volunteers in the station as I waited for my train, then back to the hotel (walking distance from train station).
  • Stayed Home Inns (Xiamen Guomao)



Thursday, January 19:
Nanshan Temple
Walked to station, then bus to Zhangzhou Station, taxi (I think?) to Zhangzhou Nanshan Si (11:20-1:00, my #85). This is a beautiful temple, in a large, park-like setting. Lots of new work in it, but plenty of old remainders/reminders. After, walked out on a long village street and caught a bus back to the station, then a bus to Xiamen and a walk home, getting ready to leave tomorrow.
  • Stayed Home Inns (Xiamen Guomao)



Friday, January 20:
I traveled by bus to Chaozhou on the Friday before the Monday Chinese New Year. The bus station was predictably a madhouse; I was lucky to get a ticket at all! (I bought it, and the one back to Shenzhen, when I arrived in Xiamen. The airport has a ticket office for buses and trains, and I did it all at once.) I got to my hotel (I don't remember how) and made plans for my two temples in eastern Guangdong.
  • Stayed Home Inn (Shantou Zhuchi Road)



Saturday, January 21:
Lingshan Temple
It took me four hours--twice the usual time--and four times more money than it should have, to reach Shantou's Lingshan Si (1:50-4:45, my #86). I passed my stop, bussed back, and finally took a cab. On the way out, the local bus worked fine! I missed a few things in the temple, too: like the pagoda behind it, which I only spotted on my way out, and had to trudge back up the hill to see it (then it turned out to be just cinder block anyway). But it was a fairly interesting place, so kinda worth it.
  • Stayed Home Inn (Shantou Zhuchi Road)



Sunday, January 22:
Kaiyuan Temple
A terrible, cold day-before-New Year's. I suspect Chaozhou's Kaiyuan Si (1:25-3:15, my #87) is a [retty nice place. But the weather was terrible, there was construction going on, and the atmosphere was sort of like the calm before the storm of New Year's visitors. There was practically no one in sight. But the new Guanyin Hall was swell, and there was a nice little hall for Bodhidharma surrounded by the 24 Devas ("Zhu Tian"). I had trouble getting a bus back to Shantou; the clerk in the station said "no buses." So I started walking toward another station, flagged one, and--it pulled into her station to pick up! Thanks for the help, sister? Anyway, it was New Year's Eve; when I got back to Shantou, the one good restaurant I had found was closed, and I ended up grazing in a convenience store. Oh, well.
  • Stayed Home Inn (Shantou Zhuchi Road)



Monday, January 23:
Happy New Year! Travel day by bus back to Shenzhen. Nothing was crowded--I think everyone was hung over.

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