Sunday, November 8, 2009

南普陀寺 (Nanputuo Temple)

To continue in the trend of doing turisty things on Saturdays, Shita, her Sister, Jolin, Jolins boyfriend, and I went to Xiamen University and Nanputuo Temple for a nice hike.

After being introduced to the new people I was asked to give them American names, which has become a standard procedure when meeting new people. I however am not a fan of it yet, since usually it is done before I know the person well. This is a silly reason not to like it, but I for some reason feel like it would be better if I could do it at the end of the day rather than at the begging. I'd hate to give out a name I like to some one I don't particularly want to see again and vise versa. The names given this time where Sarah and Steve, mostly because the "S" sound was preferred by Steve.

I took the bus for the first time, which is an adventure in it self. The limit to how many people may ride the bus is only regulated the size of the people on it. Half of the ride was spent getting friendly with a mildly smelly painter, but eventually the people thinned out and I got a little room to breath and a seat.

The final destination was a beach located near Xiamen University. We went for a little walk along the beach and ate little candied apple like things. This can be seen here.

After that we went for a walk around Xiamen University which is widely know to be the most beautiful University in China. It was quite nice, with a lake in the middle and plenty of beautiful architecture and art work surrounding.

We stopped for a coffee (which was a first) and I botched my order. I was trying to order a iced latte, instead I got iced coffee with green tea. (which is actually a thing on the menu so its not like I butchered it THAT bad, just one wrong word) It was still tasty.

Next we walked over to the Temple which is built inside the university at the base of a mountain. The story is that a single Monk made his home in a cave there. Apparently many of the locals got sick and the monk cured them, so they begged him to stay. It is now home to some of the oldest Buddhist writings in China.

Out side the entrance there was a pond with an unimaginable amount of cat fish in it. Many children where feeding them.


Here is the entrance.

Something I have noticed about many temples and tourist attractions that is different than from attraction in the US is that they are not at all set apart from the daily hustle and bustle. Many times a famous Church or land mark will sort of be out of the way of all the markets and shops. In China it is usually just a door that leads you behind all the shops, then you find what you are looking for.

It is worth showing a few close ups of some of the art work on the roof


Truly beautiful, I am a big fan of the lanterns.

One of the many gods people where praying too.

While it is all quite comical to me, I kept it inside as not to offend anyone. (Which, as I am sure plenty of you know, is a big step for me :D)

We then started to hike the mountain. There where steps all the way up! All along the way there where buildings and statues that looked like this

Many of the rocks had carvings like this

Each of the carvings where about 10 feet up. At each one you could find 5 or 6 people throwing coins up and trying to get them stuck on in the lettering. Apparently this brings good luck. This picture shows it a bit better.


Along the way many cracks and caves where filled with these little guys.



No one could really explain to me what they where. The best description I can give is that apparently you need them when you are dead. Sort of like the Egyptians, I guess.

Everything in China appears to be made to climb. Unfortunately, Chinese people don't seem to want to take advantage of this because every time I decided to climb things I attract a crowd of 10 - 20 people and get told "Its dangerous". When asked "why?" there seems to be no response. Maybe its because they have farther to fall. Questioning is not the forte of many Chinese.


The view from my rock.

The Island you can just barely make out in the back ground is actually Taiwan.

Unlike Hong Kong most of the stuff in the air is actually clouds not pollution.

Towards the top the statues and things thinned out but the people did not. Oddly the top was not filled with families and places to see the view, but had a food vendor, a construction project, and people playing cards everywhere. All very strange. We had to walk another good half mile to get away from it all and rest. Litter is also something that is a big problem here, there was a fair amount of garbage which was really to bad because everything else was so beautiful. Here is another rock I climbed/picture I thought demonstrated how beautiful it was.

We did eventually find a nice look out place.

Pollution and gamblers aside it was all still very beautiful and a good hike. If I had to guess I would say it was probably only 1.5 miles but pure elevation climbing.

Afterward I took the bus home and took a quick nap. I was then invited over to Shita's house for dinner with everyone form the office plus Steve and Sarah. Shita and Sarah's cooking was fantastic! Some of the best food I have eaten here so far. I have asked her to teach me to prepare a few things including a tofu dish and a Cucumber dish I thought Dan would particularly enjoy.

We ended the night by me teaching every one 2 drinking games we played in College much to everyone delight. (Kings and Up The River for those of you who played along with me in past years) It was very entertaining. Highlights would probably be "9: Bust a Rhyme" "Categories" for obvious reasons.

All in all a very nice day. I am fortunate to have such nice coworkers that are willing to entertain me all the time! Maybe some time soon I'll do some home work and show them some times I have discovered.

Until next time.


  1. I LOVE THIS. Pretty funny that you taught them to play kings, because I find that everyone plays differently, and I can never remember all of the things you're supposed to do, inevitably calling any friend from college who can help me assign each card something to do.

    Your pictures are beautiful, I really like that rock. And my favorite: the Brad pose. Hand on your hip, left foot out, big smile. =)

  2. I want to go back to home again one day since it is such a beautiful and amazing city.
    Extremely helpful article, please write more.