Saturday, 8 August 2015

Asian Adventure - Datong

This hotel had a wonderful range for breakfast, and I was able to have bacon and eggs with chipolatas. The only downside was the disgusting coffee, so I had to have that back in the room.

This is what the Chinese put outside a Hotel when a wedding is being held there.

The smallest real car I have ever seen.

Load 'em up!

These are the brooms used to sweep the streets.

3-wheeled multi-purpose vehicles are everywhere.

There was a drive to the Yungang Grottoes, where there are handmade caves in the side of a cliff with Buddhas inside. The tallest was 17 meters, and the smallest 2cm. The outside walls were once decorated with 1,000s of Buddhas, but many have eroded away. Cave no5 or 6 had the most beautifully decorated Buddha but no photos were allowed. Also, above the cliff face was part of the Great Wall which was made of clay. We were also lucky enough to see some Buddhist monks who were making a pilgrimage and were taking photos of themselves as well. The temple leading up to the cliff face is all fairly newly constructed, but done in traditional ways, and from the air is in the shape of a turtle. 

Click to play the Slideshow (1min 41s)

Back in Datong we visited the Huayan Temple, which is the largest and most well preserved temple of the Liao (916-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) dynasties in China. 

Lunch was at a restaurant inside the old city walls. We had kung po chicken and pork, potatoes and mushrooms which were both very tasty, but uniquely was delivered by a robot. 

It was a short walk past the 5 dragon screen/wall to the Shanhua Monastery. Inside was very quiet and peaceful. The dates from the Tang dynasty (618-907). A lot of these temples are still places of worship and photography is not allowed. Next stop was a Pagoda, and we climbed up very steep steps to the 2nd floor. My legs and feet were protesting too much for me to go up further, but Darryl and Peter went. There were good views of the city from there. Last stop for the day was the Nine Dragon Screen/Wall which had been relocated from the palace across the road. 

The palace had previously burned down, but is now being rebuilt as a tourist attraction. In fact, the whole old city wall is being re-built, and all the modern buildings inside are going to be replaced with traditional buildings. After Peter and Yao dropped us off at the Hotel, we went for a walk (despite my protesting legs and feet), to do a little shopping at Walmart. I needed to buy a new cap, and also bought an umbrella and a few groceries. Darryl waited outside and found a stall selling a delicious sounding cold drink called Mango Multi Bacterial drink, so of course he had to have one! Luckily he didn't get sick from it (I also had a tiny sip, but it had too much sugar for me). 

The people here are very curious about us, they look twice at Darryl, and we have had teenage girls practising their English on us. Back at the hotel we had a light snack for dinner.

A bad fire somewhere in the city.

Inflatable Chinese Lion (this is the male as it is playing with a ball).

Ancient remnants of the City Wall, built from clay, and now protected by cement bricks.

Another 3-wheeler loaded up.

Statues in the garden of our Hotel, which seemed completely out of place in China.

Our Hotel.

Beautifully carved crab chair in the lobby of our Hotel.

Table and Chairs.

Embroidered silk screens (above and below).

Datong Hotel lobby chandelier.

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