Sunday, December 21st, 2003 – Day 306

Sunday, December 21st, 2003 – Day 306

I had a poor night sleep. The walls were paper thin, it was cold and I hate having a time I have to be up for. I was ready to go by 7.50am and walked to the bus station. I ate some Chinese pasties along the way. The bus to Zhongdian was full. I thought it would take 7 hours but we arrived at 1.30pm. It was very cold. We passed some snow on the way and the bus slipped and slided a bit.

Time for a bed and a bath. The Tibet Hotel would be my destination. Lonely Planet describes the Tibet Hotel as “hard to find so it’s worth forking out Y5 on a taxi from the bus station.” I must be tired or there is a new bus station which there was as I went the wrong way and wasted an hour while exhausting myself. I took a rickshaw there for 5 Yuan. When I got there the receptionist could not confirm it was the Tibet Hotel as she had no English. There were no signs to say so. Not Until I saw the receipt, that it was confirmed I was in the right place.

I booked into a room for 40 Yuan and started walking. I walked to a small monastery in the old town, overlooking the city. It was 3 yuan in. There were two child monks there. It had a nice view of the old town.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Prayer Wheel (20-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Prayer Wheel – Child Monk (21-12-2003)

I then took the number 3 bus for 1 Yuan to Songzanlin Monastery 5 km in the Northwest of Zhongdian. The largest Tibetan temple in Yunnan.

Belongs to the Gelu religious sect. Approved by Emperor Kangxi (Qing Dynasty) in 1679. Location selected by Fifth Dalai Lama. 3 years to build. Covers area of 500 mu. A total of 13 places of worship incl. the Zhacang grand hall and 8 large Kangcangs.

There’s a Y10 admission fee. I walked up the long stairs to the main courtyard but few monks to be seen. There are supposed to be 600 in this massive complex. Its like a little city with many houses, courtyards and temples. Many horses, cattle and pigs walking around.

I stayed for about 2 hours. It was nice. Not many monks about and the ones that were all using mobile phones and reading the papers. Cold weather here but dry. I took the number 3 bus back. It was now 5.00pm. I had some noodles with pork in the Tibet Cafe. It wasn’t great but it was cheap at 7 Yuan. I then looked for a NET cafe. There is one main one in town and price is only 3 Yuan per hour.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Songzanlin Monastery (21-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Songzanlin Monastery (21-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Songzanlin Monastery (21-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Zhongian – Songzanlin Monastery (21-12-2003)

On the web I read that among men, average life expectancy is 77.9 years in Australia and 75.9 in France. In China, the average man lives to 69.6, in Brazil to 65.7 and Egypt to 65.3. I also read that WHO figures show smoking kills a million Chinese every year, mostly men. More than 60 percent of adult males and between three and four percent of adult females in the world’s most populous country are smokers. China is also the world’s leading producer and consumer of tobacco

Spend some time on the Web and had a few beers in a Cafe. It got pretty cold.

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