Monday, June 3, 2013

Absent without leave

I am sorry for the silence. I have been having difficulty getting to Blogger. I have to use a VPN service, a Virtual Private Network, to get to Blogger, Facebook, Youtube and other sites that are blocked here. Anyway, the time when internet was cooperating did not jive with my availability. So I have been silent.

And I am going to make up for it now.

Last Sunday week we went to the Jing'An temple. It sits on top of its Metro station so it is easy to get to. As soon as you walk out of the Metro station, you can see it.
Once you walk inside, you are in a large courtyard with a metal tower in the middle.
The faithful light incense sticks and bow down with them to the 4 compass points before putting them on a stand to finish burning. We were there on a windy day so there was incense smoke flowing in all directions. There are bells on that tower and they were tinkling in the breeze. People also throw coins and try to get them into one of the levels of the tower. Many miss!
The roofs have these animals on them that are called guardians of the roof.
That is a view of the courtyard looking down from the steps leading to the temple.
The steps have these lovely decorations on them.
Inside there are many halls with Buddha statues in them. This is the one at the top of the steps.
At the back of this shrine, there are some lovely murals of the Buddha. The red items in the foreground of the photo are kneelers. Devotees kneel and prostate themselves to the Buddha on these kneelers.

We also saw this old bell in the shrine. It is really beautiful which is hard to see since the light was dim and I didn't want to use my flash in the shrine.

The temple is a working monastery, I think. There are many levels and we were only allowed in the courtyard and the sections that adjoined it.
Behind the first shrine, there is another one with more statues.
And then, as you walk around the courtyard, there are 3 other shrines: one on each of the sides.
Finally, there is the section directly opposite the steps. There are two corner buildings: you enter below one at the corner of the courtyard. That corner building houses the Peace Bell.
It was closed so I took a photo of the sign. You can see the bell through the glass in the walls but it didn't work well from a photographic perspective. The other corner building houses a giant drum and it is called the Drum Tower. In between the two is the building in the back of the courtyard picture. It contains 3 statues.
A laughing Buddha is flanked by two standing statues.
The courtyard is a lovely place to sit and people-watch or contemplate. It isn't quiet but it is beautiful. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the complex before leaving. I found it extremely well maintained and full of devotees as well as tourists. What surprised me was that people were taking photographs and there were no signs prohibiting it. Also, no one took their shoes off. In Thailand and in India, you can't wear shoes inside a temple and you also cannot take photographs inside the shrines.

We are going to Beijing next week to do some sightseeing so there are more photos to come.

And now back to mundane fiber-y things...
I have been spindling away on my Tibetan spindle
I finished plying and setting the twist on the Fiber Optic Autumn Harvest gradient. It is a nice fingering weight yarn.
This shows the gradient better. It is from when the yarn was on the niddy noddy.
And I also started spinning the second half of a Fiber Optic Blackberry to Raspberry gradient. This was spun a bit finer than the Autumn Harvest.
I hadn't been knitting very much till today. But I took the shawl out today and I will be taking it with me to Beijing. So I expect a lot of progress soon.

Lastly, I am going to end with a few photos of fish that I took in the hotel where we had our conference. These fish were in pillars with glass columns behind them. The glass columns kept changing colors. That is why the background on the fish is different in the different pictures. The fish don't move much so it took me a few days to even realize they were live fish!
And that is all. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment at having caught up!

I am also happy that Knit Addict is OK, but my heart goes out all those people in Oklahoma who have suffered loss of life and home in the tornadoes.

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