Monday, October 24, 2005

Zhang Fei Miao

“I’m sorry, did you just say Miao?” ~Super Troopers (quality film)

I am not going to talk too much about the time spent on the actual boat, because it really wasn’t that interesting. The food was lousy, room was small and smelly, I saw a rat the size of a small cat, and a cockroach the size of my cellphone. Needless to say, I spent most of the time bundled up on the outside deck reading a book or playing my new guitar. It was nice also because ze germans that I met also would hang out on the outside deck, so I got to talk to them quite a bit.

So, moving on…. The next stop was Zhang Fei Miao. From what I gathered it was the site where calligraphy first started. Other than that I don’t know much about it… let’s consult my book again:

“In the city of Yunyang, the Zhang Fei Temple is dedicated to a Three Kingdoms general renowned for his honesty.”

Hmmm... mentions nothing about calligraphy, but there was a very large statue of an angry looking general. Well, we arrived after dark around seven o’clock. The temple itself was a good ten minute walk from the boat, taking you through another street market, flanked by many restaurants and stores. Here I bought a huge folder of stamps to put into my stamp collection at home, but I think I got ripped off. I couldn’t bargain the guy down below 250 RMB ($30) because he kept pointing to his “price list” for each stamp. According to the list, one of the stamps I bought it worth 160,000 RMB (approx $20,000)… yeah, and I’m the Emporor of China. I also bought an old wooden face mask, carved to look like a Chinese warrior. That was not cheap either, although I am thrilled with it… it is clearly very old indeed (you know how old wood gets a strange smoothness to it that tools could never give it… you can also tell that it was painted at one time and almost none of the paint remains), and it is ridiculously heavy. I’ve grown up seeing my Dad’s wooden masks from Africa hanging on the wall. Now I have one of my own J

We got to the temple walked around for ten minutes and started the trek back to the boat. Along the way I also stopped in a store to purchase some beer and rice alcohol to drink with ze Germans. Turned into a resonably fun evening back on the boat.