Saturday, June 7, 2008

Beijing - the last stop

We left on Saturday morning from Shanghai on a flight to Beijing. Once in Beijing we had a two hour layover in the airport before heading home and we had time to explore the airport.
Top Right: On the tarmac at Beijing airport. Passengers disembark from the plane and then take a shuttle to the terminal. This airport is huge and is set up to handle the immense crowds they expect for the 2008 Olympics in August.
Top Left: View inside the Beijing Airport. When Hannah, my son, Seth, and I first landed in Beijing in 1998 the airport was just dull, gray, plain concrete. It is now a world class airport and probably one of the best in the world.
PS: This is the last entry of our Buddhist Mountain tour. You can read older posts by selecting "older posts" at the bottom of this page or you can click on the small black triangle next to "May" or "June" at your left to see any other entries.

Friday, June 6, 2008


We took the fastboat back to the mainland, followed by a two hour drive to Shanghai. Once in Shanghai we met up with some other friends at dinner, Susan Zhang and her husband David. I met Susan in the summer of 2007 when she taught an immersion class in Chinese language in Redding. Afterwards we took a stroll on the Bund and also in a shopping area.

Shanghai's crowds, traffic and lights were the total opposite of what we had experienced during the two weeks in remote mountainous areas of China but we enjoyed it just the same and it was nice to be able to finish the trip just the way we started - with friends.
Top Right: Right to Left: Hannah and Michel Czehatowski, Susan Zhang and her husband David.
Top Left: View across the river from the Bund.
Bottom Right: On the Bund. The skyscraper on the opposite side is like a huge television screen with commercials played out on the building.
Bottom Left: Mark Van Loan in a Shanghai shopping district.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Putuo Shan - Beaches

Putuo Shan has nice beaches also. We didn't see anyone swimming but the scenery was nice.

More Putuo Shan Sights

Top Right: A 1,000 year old camphor tree that is 20 meters in height and two meters in diameter. Trees of this size are rare.
Top Left: (Lt to Rt) Mark Van Loan, Hannah Czehatowski and Michel Czehatowski in front of the character "xin" or "heart" carved in a large rock.
Center: The characters for Buddha (top of picture) blending into the character for "heart" bottom of picture. This was carved in stone.
Bottom: A balanced stone.

Putuo Shan sights

As with the other areas of China that we traveled in there is an abundance of temples to see. The pictures are highlights from our travels.
Top Right: Metal bell
Top Left: Fish
Center: Characters carved in stone.
Bottom Right: Detail of characters carved in stone. Hai Tian Fo Guo
Hai means "sea", Tian mean "heaven", Fo means "Buddha", and Guo means "Country".
Bottom Left: Dragon wall

Behind the statue of Guan Yin there are temples and a huge stone wall covered in Buddhist art. Here are some of the highligts.
Top right: Picture of the wall which gives you an idea of the size.
Other photo's are details from the wall.

Putuo Shan - Guan Yin

Putuo Shan is considered the place of enlightenment for the bodhisattva Guan Yin.

For more information on Putuo Shan see this link:

Top Right: 100 foot tall (33m) statute of Guan Yin.
Top Left: Close up of Guan Yin.
Bottom Right: Statue found at the entrance to the temple.
Bottom Left: View taken from the base of the Guan Yin statue looking out to sea.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Putuo Shan

Putuo Shan is known as the place of enlightenment for the Bodhisattva Guan Yin. It is a small island in Zhejiang Province whose main industries are tourism and fishing.
Top: Scenic Island views
Bottom Right: Temple.
Bottom Left: Detail of stonework window at a temple.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Leaving Jiuhua Shan

We left Jiuhua Shan in the afternoon and headed to Tongling. Once there we had lunch and then headed to the train station. We took a soft-seat train to Shanghai. Fortunately for us the boarding wasn't as crazy as in Beijing. The trip was uneventful but did take a long time. We arrived in Shanghai late at night and taken to our hotel. We got up early the next morning to drive to the harbor where we could catch a fast boat to Putuo Shan Island.
Getting on the boat was a little crazy also. People like to get on all at once even when the boat is bouncing heavily at the dock. We found our seats and got set for a three hour trip to Putuo Shan. Unfortunately the ocean area was misty so there wasn't much of a view.
We arrived in Putuo Shan and were met by our new guide, Michael, who ended up being a very fun guide.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jiuhua Shan turtles

Top Right: Other temple scenes.
Top Left: Constellation of turtles and fish.
Bottom: Turtles sunning themselves.

Jiuhua Shan, ganoderma, and other sights

We spent the morning in going through a market and touring more temples.
Top Right: Wild Ganoderma drying in the market square.
Top Left: Unusual brickwork.
Center Right: Locks and stairs.
Center Left: Temple.
Bottom: Trio of incense burners.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jiuhua Shan, Mingyuan scenic area

We returned to the base of the mountain, had lunch, and then headed to the Mingyuan scenic area. Wu Han was very familiar with Jiuhua Shan and took us through side alley's to enter this nature reserve.
We also got to see a restored teahouse that was very beautiful.
Top Right: Man carrying heavy sacks.
Top Left: The beauty of bamboo in the forest.
Center Right: Bamboo growing in the forest.
Center Left: Michel, Wu Han, and Hannah Czehatowski touring a restored teahouse.
Bottom: Detail of the construction of the beams in the teahouse.

Jiuhuan Shan, Monk Wuxia

By now we had been in at least 30 different temples and though similar in layout they will have unique features. One of the temples on Jiuhuan Shan has imprints of the feet of a monk in the stone. The temple is built around the stone. It is said that a monk meditated there for quite some time and his footprints were left in the stone. Believers will take off their shoes and place there feet in the footprints. My shoe size is 12 and I stood in the stone footprints and they were much bigger than my feet!

We also saw the gilded body of Monk Wuxia. My understanding was that when a monk died they were put in a large jar and after three years the jar was opened. If the body was intact they were considered a saint. This was the case with Monk Wuxia. When they opened the jar his body was intact. It was later gilded and placed in the temple. We were able to see the gilded body.

Top Right: View of the other mountain we were on the day before.
Top Left: Inscriptions in stone.
Bottom Right: Locks.
Bottom Left: Mark Van Loan on the backbone of Jiuhua Shan.

Jiuhua Shan Temples

Once off the cable car there was plenty of more stairs. Supplies for the temples is carried up by laborers.
The other amazing thing about the temple, stairs, and walkways is that everything was carried up on the backs of men.
Top Right: Wu Han (left), Hannah Czehatowski (right) and Mark Van Loan in front of Hannah, ascending stairs on Jiuhua Shan.
Top Left: View of a mountain temple.
Center: Porter carrying up a heavy load of food up the stairs.
Bottom Right: The same porter going up another set of stair.
Bottom Left: Two laborers with a granite suspended between them carrying it up stairs. These granite blocks are used to make the walkway.