21st May – Thigh killer (more calf killer actually)

Today, after brunching with all ‘tha laydees’ who are Mum’s old mates (and what a racket they make eh) we headed off to the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It’s not totally definite whether there are ten thousand, but I’m not going to bother counting. To get up to the monastery you have to climb up a shit-load of stairs in ~30°C and be mozzer fodder. My cousin was the biggest mozzer casualty, with the usual victim (moi) only suffering one bite. Huzzah! It’s taken a record-breaking five days for me to mention evil mozzers. Ah, the joy of hotels.

Anyway – so you climb up loads of stairs until you reach some golden figures and you think it’s the end. But look up and there are MORE stairs. Cue exclamations of exasperation from Aunt and Mum. There were also few places to stop for a breather, not to mention that my cousins usually hike up mountains for fun on a regular basis (so this was a leisurely saunter for them) and trying to keep up was totally knackering. There were a bunch of golden figures all the way up, but I was too busy trying to put one foot in front of the other to pay much attention.

So after finally reaching the top, we saw there were more buddha figures arranged around the perimeter (I’m beginning to notice a pattern here…), a pagoda in the centre and mausoleum rooms and prayer areas around the edge. There were also big soil/sand-filled cauldrons for placing incense sticks as is the norm, and you could queue to wash the Guan Yin figure with water as is the tradition at this time of year. We decided to go up the pagoda, seeing how much we love stairs and all. Every window has a buddha figure sitting in meditation position in it, so you have to look around him to see the view. Each floor also has a buddha figure in the centre, to whom people had offered things like monkey nuts, small change and Sugus sweets. How they are spoiling them.

All the buddha figures have plaques with ‘sponsors’ names on – people who have paid for their good fortune to be bestowed upon them. If you have the money for that it’s unlikely you need that much more luck, but such is the way of the world.

This guy doesn’t need a selfie stick

The main hall was packed with people praying to huge figures of Guan Yin and other buddha statues. The walls were all lined with small figures about the size of the palm of your hand, and went up to the ceiling which was ~8 metres high. Maybe, am poor at estimating. Tiny figures adorned six prayer wheels which could be spun. The genuine body of a monk had been encased in gold and was sitting in a glass cabinet, which was interesting and a bit creepy.

None of this was air conditioned, so we were so happy when we went up yet more stairs and found a mausoleum with air con! There was also a huge buddha statue in the middle, complete with funky flashing dot in the the centre of the forehead (don’t know what it’s called!). Bro donated money in thanks for the air con. After seeking refuge there we went down to the bottom again.

Calves ached a bit the next day. Our aunt said the aching gave her a sense of accomplishment. I suppose it does! No pain no gain. As long as the pain goes after a bit.

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