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Day 4 - Luoyang (Longmen Grottoes, Chariot Pits & ShaoLin)

sunny 39 °C
View Beijing to Southern China by car on hammr's travel map.

Sunday, July 29

After a traditional Chinese breakfast in the hotel, Jeremy, Nicole and I drove to the Longmen Grottoes to see cliff carvings. This is a walking tour that takes approximately 4 hours ( especially in the 39 C heat ) and includes climbing a lot of stairs along the sides of the cliffs in order to get a closer view of the carvings.

We were finished by noon so we proceeded back to the hotel for a spicy Szechuan meal. We made it there just before the restaurant closed for the customary break between 2 and 5 pm. While we were in there, the table next to us was drinking a lot of beer and one of them insisted that the waitress bring them more beer. She informed him that it was a restaurant and not a ' bar ' and that she could not bring him anymore beer. When he became very agitated, the waitress told him (in Mandarin) that he was embarrassing China in front of the 'foreigners' (that would be us). One of the other fellows calmed him down and they all left.

After lunch we went to see the Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits. These pits were recently excavated and they contain the skeletons of the horses and the carriages used by the royal family. They were impressive and very well preserved.

In the evening we drove to Dengfeng to see a musical called the ShaoLin Zen Music Ritual. On the way into town, a car beeped its horn next to us on the road and tried to sell us a hotel room for the night. When we told him that we had a room, he proceded to do the same thing to other motorists. We thought this was highly unusual until someone on an electrical bicycle did the same thing.

Nicole bought some tickets from a scalper (we have pictures to prove it) for 200 RMB ($35) each instead of the box office price of 250 RMB. This was a spectacular show with state-of-the-art sound stage and lighting. What made it even more spectacular was the fact that it was performed outside, between 2 mountains, with hundreds of actors over a large area.

I experienced my first occurrence of being a foreigner. While we were waiting for the show to start, Nicole pointed out that people were taking pictures of me...the strange looking, tall foreigner with the big nose! One person turned around to take a picture , but the 2 young ladies sitting next to me were more discreet. One took a picture of her friend but when I caught a glimpse of the photo, I was in the center of the picture and her friend was barely in the picture. What a waste of a picture!

Posted by hammr 18:47 Archived in China

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