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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Enlitenment Made Easy

As they say --was it the Chinese?--a picture is worth ten thousand characters. Been working too hard recently, have little energy to write, but ideas and observations about China are still rattling around in my monkey brain. So I'll do the easy thing and just post some photos.

On our way to Wudangshan, where I knew what to expect, the less informed of our group may have been heartened by the truck stop convenience store. Not just 7/11, but Easy Joy to go.

Our trip was easily done even if we didn't arrange it through the easy company's apparent subsidiary.

I easily got a good meal at this restaurant near the Lama Temple in Beijing, where the Chinese food/English menu drew character-weary travelers. If you look closely at the photo, you will see, in the upper left window, signage that offers "characteristics cuisine" along with its assurance of a bilingual menu. Not that an English menu in a Chinese restaurant is comprehensible. I still don't know what "trepangs with elbows" might be.**

Across the street, leaving the smelly smoky Lama Temple (too many Buddhists, too many Buddhas) and seeking the Confucius Temple, (much more civilized), you might find what you're looking for without the effort of all the old-age meditation, temple incense, mountain stair-climbing and qigong exercise. Chinese signs in English being notoriously inaccurate, someone might have pointed out they should have spelled it "Lite." I might have checked out the easy enlightenment on offer, but the huge lapis geode in the doorway kind of scared me.
But China's modernization has, perhaps, overcome the traditional ways of seeking wisdom and personal development. When you're feeling up against the wall in life, just go to Jinshanling and stop complaining! I imagine Cultural Revolution-era political study sessions with PowerPoint. I just love the camel caravan in the logo (upper left).
**Well, I have actually learned that "trepangs" are sea cucumbers. The elbows still escape me. I am imagining slugs with macaroni. In hoisin sauce.

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