I was just going through my blog and I saw that I have lost focus of what I came here to do. My blog has started to look like some travel journal. China has cast its spell on me. But, congratulate me my friends, for I have managed to break that spell (or so I think!). Maybe it is all part of the plan. China’s plan to keep me hooked. Maybe it wants me to think that I have snapped out of it. Anyway, irrespective of the status of the spell, I am going to get back to writing as usual. About life, kids and everything including but not limited to travelling.
Now, where do I start? Well…we went to Hongzhou during the New year weekend. Beautiful place. But what was more exciting was the high-speed train, the CRH. The fastest train in the world! 352 km/hr! Can you imagine that? It was so fast that every time we crossed another CRH going in the opposite direction, it was like a flash of lightning. In fact, I have seen flashes of lightning that lasted longer! It was only after we crossed any small-town railway station that we even realised that we just crossed something that could have been nothing but a railway station. And this conclusion had to be drawn from circumstantial evidence only, because what we actually saw looked nothing like a railway station. Just a blob of white that had been smudged into a blur against the black backdrop of the night. It is simply amazing, the rate at which these guys are progressing! No matter what the rest of the world says.
So, coming back to Hongzhou, it’s a beautiful city. Full of old world charm and grace. The city itself is some 2000 years old and then there’s the 1600 year old Lingyin temple (meaning Temple of Soul’s Retreat, although not so much ‘the soul’s retreat’ anymore owing to the crowd) tucked away in the bamboo forests on the mountains. There’s also the Feilai Feng (literally meaning “The flying peak from afar”) which is supposed to have ‘flown’ to Hongzhou from India ‘overnight’ !!! Anyway, this mountain is dotted with some 330 stone relief sculptures of Buddha dating as far back as the 10th century and needless to say, all of them are extremely beautiful. The temple itself has a few HUGE statues of Buddha, the biggest of which (also the biggest in China) is carved from camphor wood and coated with gold.
Then there are the pagodas and the Xī Hú (West lake) and the islands in the middle of the lake and the causeways and the this and the that but again, all that is travel related. And though I did get caught up back there in doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do, I just came to my senses about 53 seconds ago. So, here I am, back to being myself and realising that if I write anything more, this blog will get too long (by my own standards) and then I won’t have the patience to read through it myself. Says a lot about my attention span, doesn’t it? And Appa always said that after I write something, I must, must, totally must read through it at least twice. That advice hasn’t done me any harm yet. Except when, back in school, all my friends left the exam hall early while I sat there all alone reading through my papers over and over again. But again, that helped me know where I had made mistakes. But then, I never corrected those mistakes because striking the mistake off would make my paper untidy. So, in the end, I came home knowing I had made a few mistakes and felt helpless because I couldn’t get myself to correct those mistakes. But, at least I knew how many marks I could expect. And my calculations were usually pretty accurate. So, that way I was never disappointed when I finally got my mark-sheets and I always knew where I had lost marks. So, I guess that was very good advice after all. Anyway, those are just stories from the past. Coming back to the present, I strongly feel that this is a good time to wind up this post. I will be back with more later. And although this post has ended up being about travel (again!), don’t lose heart. We haven’t travelled anywhere else after Hongzhou and so, my next post will be more like the ones I usually write (when I am in total control of my senses) rather than like when I am smitten by China and its history.