Saturday, August 09, 2008

China Part Seven

So our final full day in Beijing we decided to try and scope out the Olympic stadium. Last night was the opening ceremonies and I haven't seen it (since we were working/we don't have TV) but I imagine it was pretty impressive. The entire time we were in Beijing we really noticed all the pains and efforts they were making to prepare for the Olympics. Between only allowing certain cars to drive (if your licence plate ended in an even number you could drive on even numbered days), renovating everything, having volunteers on every corner to help people, new bilingual signs. Well, it was pretty cool and sometimes a little creepy. Like you would go up to talk to someone and you could see the gears moving in their head. "Must smile like a crazy person so that we can show how friendly and helpful Chinese people really are!"

So we took the bus out to the Bird's Nest. It was a really hazy day (worse than the previous day even) so the pictures are a little weird. Of course we couldn't get in to see anything that interesting but we didn't feel too retarded since we weren't the only people hanging out and gawking at the building. We weren't able to figure out where the Water Cube was unfortunately.

Since we toured the Olympic stuff in record time we needed to figure out what to do with the rest of our day. We settled on seeing the Lama Temple because it was close by to where we were. I have to admit I was underwhelmed and wondering why we bothered (since we'd seen so many similar things through the week) until we stumbled upon the coolest thing ever!

Apparently the Lama Temple houses a 26 meter tall Buddha statue. And not just any statue, this statue holds the Guinness Record for being the largest statue carved out of a single piece of sandalwood. It's so massive! I don't have any pictures of it (because you weren't allowed) and even the online ones I found don't do it justice because you can't get the whole thing in one frame and show perspective of it's size. Matt and I stood there for at least 10 minutes with our jaws on the floor looking at it. The statue's baby toe was bigger than my pillow! Worth the admission price just seeing this.

It was interesting to watch the prayer rituals with the incense. There were tons of incense vendors lining the street up to the temple. The incense came in a big pack and you were supposed to offer 3 sticks of it to each Buddha statue. I'm glad we stopped by the Lama Temple after all and you can see the rest of our pictures here.

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