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Day 40 Beijing

July 7, 2011

July 5, 2011 (Tuedsay)

Fortieth day in China, eighth day in Beijng: 恭王府 Gongwangfu, 妙应寺白塔 the white tower at Miaoying Temple

I got sick, and slept badly. In the morning I changed to a direct Beijing-Lanzhou flight. I chatted with the travel agent at the front desk again, and he suggested I see Gongwangfu, the former residence of the last emperor’s father. I walked Gulou Street from the hostel, and back to the Houhai bar area I visited with Haofan last week. I wandered through hutongs, and saw a couple in cream-colored wedding dress taking photos. From a street side window I bought a cake filled with delicious garlic greens. The “Gong Mansion” was full of tourists, and certainly renovated. The buildings seemed to me little different from the Kong Mansion in Qufu. On display in some of the halls were 唐卡 thangka paintings from Qinghai. Thangka are intricate and colorful illustrations of Buddhist philosophy, a part of Tibetan culture. A few old paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties hung, but most were very new. Many had been painted in the last few years, and were clear and bright. Behind the main halls sat nice gardens, so thick with tourists I could not pass through. I left and took the bus to Miaoying Temple, perhaps better known as 白塔寺 “White Tower Temple”, as a Yuan dynasty (very old) white dagoba sits at the center of the compound. This, unfortunately, was sheathed in scaffolding, but the doorman was friendly. A red-robed monk argued with the ticket-taker. It seemed they had not charged the monk any entry fee, and in the interest of fairness he demanded they sell him a 30 yuan ticket like everyone else. The chamber before the white tower contained golden statues of three Buddhas, and 具六神通 written in gold by Qianlong, a display dating back to the Qing dynasty. Two lay people and two monks poured libations by the tower, chanting.

I got my ticket delivered, took dinner in the hostel, and slept early.

KM

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