Shanxi Province - Da Tong Trip - Hanging Monestary

it is mounted on the side of this mountain. it has been rebuilt a few times over history, i think because the river below would destroy it and then they would build it higher each time.

now there is a huge dam so this monestary will never have to worry again.

its so convenient that some of these statues look like they are asking for money and then oh look there is a little pot for money.

this looks pretty shady. I don't trust chinese construction. I don't even know if there are building codes or laws (that are upheld and not discarded by some RMB in the palm).

why does everything have to be so creepy

this is a thing that carries over to modern times in china. they like putting crap on steps that make it harder for you to walk rather than easier, like those bumps on the stairs in the subway.

these were the "3 deities" the third one didnt fit in the frame

this was the worst food i've eaten in china. just kidding this pink thing is the fuel that burns to cook the worst food i've had in china. again i am a little weary of what this pink thing is made out of and how safe it is.
the worst train ride ever was going back to beijing. it was 6 hrs. small seats, no dividers, you're crammed right up next to the next person. the ticket was $4.50 if you can believe it. it was also impossible to slee because there were people with carts selling fruit. another selling beverages. and other carrying a huge kettle of warm milk and paper cups, 1 cup 1 rmb. so about every 2 minutes you would have someone coming by loudly proclaiming what they were selling, and it goes on and on for 6 hrs. also there was one guy with a broom like stick that just swept a disgusting pile of sheit the length of each car, all while everyone is still on the train. i mean just pushing the pile from one end of the car to the other getting bigger as it went along, with no regard to peoples feet or clothes or watever, he would just jab his filthy syphillis covered broom thing into/on/over/under/across your shoes, legs, belongings, bags to get garbage and whatever else. also this would kick up a cloud of dust with who knows what kind of yummy microbes in it. his job would not be necessary if Chinese people did not throw all of their sheit on the floor! i'm talking about rinds from fruits, shells from nuts and sunflower seeds all over the floor. then to top it all off towards the end of the trip a guy came with a wet mop slopping it over peoples feet. Anyway Datong is the grossest city i've been to in China but it is worth it for the hanging monestary and the yung gang caves.

Shanxi Province - Da Tong Trip - Yun Gang Caves

I have been sampling some Chinese beers as of late. This can looks cool and I was pleasantly surrised to find that it is a dark beer!

rode the over night train to Da Tong. 6 hrs. Da Tong is a coal mining town, it has a couple mines around it. 3 million people. 2 power plants. 1 powers Beijing. Tons of coal everywhere. As soon as you step outside you can smell coal. Pollution is super bad there. Da Tong is on a list of cities to get cleaned up by the govt. It is the dirtiest and most ghetto city i've been in China and probably the world so far. There was just garbage everywhere, overall people's knowledge of sanitation is a lot lower. But we didn't go there for the city!

much to my dismay I found that the over night trains are not like the ones to Shanghai. there is no compartment door. everyone can just walk by and watch you sleeping. also the turned the lights off on the whole train immediately. So we had to read books standing up in btwn the cars where there was light.

sometimes in china they just put the pinyin and the chinese characters. the only people this helps is people like me who haven't studied characters but know speaking and listening. all others are out of luck and you can kiss your fingers goodbye.

reading books inbtwn cars. Lily runs two book clubs in Beijing and we got them to read "guns, germs, and steel" I have wanted to read that book and now I have the motivation to. It is the first book i have read since "jonathan livingston seagull" in 6th grade 15 yrs ago.

this is the only pic i have of the phone numbers all over the walls in Da Tong. this is not a good representation by far. Walls all over are litterally covered with big numbers, little numbers, everywhere. We asked one taxi driver and he said they were advertisements and said no one really uses them. we asked but then why are there so many everywhere if no one uses them and how do you know what they advertise? an unaccepable anwer was given and so it is still a mystery. if someone knows please do tell

across from our hotel.

next to the hotel. probably from the "snack" cart nearby. Don't they know that you don't Sh!t in your own backyard? there were also people urinating on various walls about town too. didn't get to take photos of all the grossness everywhere because I was in a taxi most of the time driving by. I am hating on Da Tong but it was a good experience to see a "real" chinese city.

at the Yun Gang Caves. another example of why i like Asia so much. the designs and aesthetics of their art, characters, mythology, religion, etc... are so different than the west. and that is what i am seeking out in my life i guess.

The Yun Gang caves are home to the "grottoes" i don't know what grottos means but they are these enclaves with these carvings of buddah. there are something like 1000 niches, 53 caves and 51,000 scultures the smallest are 2 cm high. The whole thing is sandstone and has been around or 1500 yrs. Interesting thing is they have indian, and greek influences. Indians and other foreigners were brought in to carve these. In one cave they had either vishnu or shiva riding on a chinese dragon holding a chicken and the sun.
It's kind of like a big eastern religion party because there are also images of hindi gods all over the place too.

there is a guy sitting down in the lower right corner for scale of how big these were.

i didn't know they had gorillas in China in 500 AD

here is Bi Xi again, 1st of 9 sons of the dragon, a turtle with a dragon head carrying scripts on his back

lots of the carvings are weather worn and their faces are blown away, doesn't help that they are made out of sand stone

back in the city there is a 9 dragon screen. they believed that evil spirits could only travel in straight lines so they installed this screen in front of the Prince's house to deflect them. the dragons only have 4 claws instead of 5 showing that a Prince lives there.

this local beer named after the caves was pretty good actually

Mutton hot pot, one of the things you're supposed to eat in Shanxi province.

Was able to get in a lantern festival afterall. Not a very good one but at least I got one in and amazingly it was free.

this looks pretty creepy and looks like it is a story just like all of the other displays. If Angel were there she would probably be able to tell us all the stories.
this looks like some story about a Koi fish jumping over some gate. I will probably never know