I know you are all itching for the breakfast report. Additions to the menu: duck neck and “Mexico Chicken Book” which seemed to be a merging of spring roll and a burrito. There were also chicken nuggets available.
Sun Li came to collect me, and we went to the Lama Temple which is a very beautiful Buddhist temple. As we got out of the cab we could smell the incense and indeed, inside were many burners where people were burning incense and praying. The colorful decorations were amazing, and in each section the Bhuda was elaborately decorated and there were offerings of fruit and flowers.
It reminded me very much of what happens when you go to a cathedral in Europe. There are tourists mixed in with people praying, and the building itself is an elaborate statement about devotion.
After this temple, we went to the Confucian temple where the names of people who had passed the civil service exam were carved on stone tablets. There was a little museum about Confucius, and I had forgotten what a good philosophy of education he had.
We had hotpot for lunch which is a pot of boiling broth and you drop in thinly sliced meat, vegetables and noodles. Sun Li said this is a simple lunch. Simply huge. I mean, we all know I can put away some food, but this is some sort of crazy endurance challenge. It was very tasty, for sure.
My second request for a visit had been to see the Chinese national museum. We cabbed to Tiananmen Square, which is enormous and walked up to the museum, which is enormous. Once inside, it was even bigger than it seemed on the inside. We started by looking at the Mao art gallery, which had many complimentary portraits of of the man (I can report the Mao TV show seems to be a series as it had been on every day.). After, with our strength beginning to flag as we negotiated the gigantic halls, we agreed we would just look at the ancient China exhibit. Our forced march through thousands of years of history was long, but very interesting to see the various pottery and other artifacts, though the spaces are so big, you really are dragging your self across so yardage to see stuff. We finally made it out, walked back through the square, and took a cab back, where, still full of hotpot, I begged off dinner and have been alternating napping and working on my final presentation ever since.
Tomorrow, the final class, another lunch (!) and I’ve been invited to the theater as a final event in the evening.
When I am a little more awake, I will cover cab rides and public service announcements.