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If Thursday was about caves and being far from people Friday was, erm, not.
We headed into the actual city of Wuxi which was a two hour ride in a small van. These vans only have seats for seven, so two people got to perch on stools. Again there was harrowing adventure in the drive accompanied by dinosaur songs, jumprope game songs and a bit of Queen.
In the city we dumped our stuff at a hotel and got in another van to take us up to the top of this mountain where there’s this little Buddhist temple. You could see the silhouette of the temple high above the city. The building in the picture here is not that temple, but the shrine next to it.
It was a long drive up gravel roads and, again, nearly certain death if the driver made too many mistakes.
Remember how I called us an obscene little group? This trip was filled with filth. The bit about the cameras and rectums from two posts ago was Scott’s. It went further. Everything went further. There was no line on this trip. Sean would have been all “Whoah guys, hey now.”
Well the temple here was very picturesque, and right on the edge of a cliff and it was all very impressive but it was also problematic. The people up there tried to get Ginger to force us to buy incense for 110Y because we were rich foreigners, or at least make us do some prayers and pay 50Y. It turned out they aren’t actual monks up there; this whole thing is being developed as like a Buddhist-tourism business.
She got into a big argument with the fake monks, and being from Chongqing she got very angry, told them that they obviously weren’t real Buddhists and they deserved retribution for using the Buddha as a money making scam and they should all go fuck off and die.
So we didn’t have lunch there.
We did stop at a farmer’s house down the mountain and had lunch/dinner there. Our van pulled up, Ginger asked if they knew anyone who could cook for a group of eight people, a guy sitting on the road said his mom could and it was settled.
We hung out on the stoop in this six house village and shot the shit, drank some beers, smoked a bit of “picked from the side of the road” tobacco, and eventually ate an amazing meal. All the houses in this little village belonged to one family. Each adult brother had a house and the grandparents rotate through, being looked after a week at a time by each of their sons.
One son had recently been in the army but he was back to help, since his younger brother is now in the military. He was peeling potatoes (or ginger? something brown anyway) and his biceps just rippled.
That really helped get rid of the bad taste of the fake Buddhists at the top of the hill. Not the rippling biceps. The hospitality. (We did pay them, but it was a “Whatever you feel you should” kind of thing. We did eat a bunch of their salted pork)
In the evening we went to the deadest bar I’ve ever been to (and I’m a Camby man) for a depressing evening of shitty DJing and weak drinks. Can’t have everything, I suppose.