Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend in Wuxi

I spent the day fighting crowds and traffic in Wuxi -- in the cold and rain. Now I know why people stay home for the national holiday - and that's what I'm doing for the rest of the week! I'm actually kind of excited -- I'm getting a permanent wave tomorrow (besides cutting it, I've never done much with my hair, so this is BIG), and I need to do some shopping for my inappropriate winter wardrobe. I underestimated how early (or late) it would get cold, as in, not this weekend. It looks like a lightweight jacket is not going to get me through until the 20th, but no worries -- another trip to the tailor's is in order.

Anyway, Wuxi is a 2 hour's drive by car to the northeast of Shanghai, where Tai Hou, a huge lake, is located. We went and saw the lake and this huge amusement park of a Buddhist temple. I'm not kidding you -- you pay about $30 USD per person to get into this walled religious complex where there are lots of gilded buddhas, temples and places to throw money and burn incense, except unfortunately, there are no rides. You are supposed to spend more money on food, incense, and luck, namely in the form of huge fountains/pagodas/bins they strategically place around the place so  you can throw all sorts of spare change in there. The pinnacle of the experience is trekking to the top of the hill, where the huge buddha is (think the Statue of Liberty) and then you're supposed to wait an hour and a half in line so you can rub her big toe for good luck. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was a place for the church (monastery?) to make money off tourists. And it is living proof that if you build it, they will come -- people were lining up by the hundreds, possibly thousands, to get in here. I had lunch in the most ridiculous, ostentatiously decorated building that reminded me of the Vatican. I mean, it looked nice and everything, but then you realize how much money it probably cost to build it and all the other better things they could have done with it.

It was a cold, wet and dreary day, but way better than sightseeing on a hot and humid day. I was so cold though, by the end of the day all I wanted was to go home (the one in Los Angeles), have a hot shower and curl up with my ridiculous pink fluffy robe with some hot chocolate and a puppy. Sometimes I ask myself, if I have all those wonderful things at home, what in the world am I doing here?  I need to get my head checked.

Also, I don't think I'm usually this pessimistic in my posts, but it might be the minor head cold and exhaustion from my religious pilgrimage today talking.

*note: I'll update with pictures when I get home and have access to my camera cord! I'm currently at my relative's house for the weekend.


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