Slept in this am and awoke to Young Son bearing breakfast of tea, fresh fruit, bread, a toaster, cakes, peanut butter, jelly and yogurt. I left almost all of it. Just not hungry.
English language news annonced that a sandstorm had swept in from the north making it advisable to stay indoors. Oh no!! Decided on a visit to the Lama Temple. Delight of delights. With bells tingling, prayer flags flapping in the wind, incense wafting around and Tibetan monks eyeing a stream of worshippers, this was a living, breathing hommage to Tibetan Buddhism.
And on to the 10 Surprises:
1. The spare-no-expense approach to restoring this 18th-century mansion-turned-temple. (China to Tibet: “You see! We like you! We really, really like you! Why do you want to leave?”
2. Ummm…SANDSTORM? WTF?
3. So many extravagant, over-the-top Buddhas.
4. A 25-METER high Buddha carved out of a single piece of sandalwood.
5. Two exquisitely carved conch shells.
6. Veggie options everywhere!
7. Szechuan dish of paper-thin omlette wrapped around assorted finely-cut vegetables cut into crescents and rolled in crunchy stuff (cahews?) Wow.
8. A 40-minute taxi ride to the train station (see previous entries about immense Beijing)
9. That said taxi ride cost about EUR4.
10. That I actually managed to find the platform, car and berth of my train in reasonably short order despite a train station that makes Grand Central look like a little village whistlestop.