Xindu Skyscraper
Zoe and Molly's apartment. The view from my room!

Baoguang Vihara Temple

I packed up all of my belongings, which despite getting a laptop, surprisingly fit into my bag still. I boarded the metro and got off at Tianfu Square walking past the big dictator statue and into the back parking lot full of buses.

Xindu Skyscraper
Zoe and Molly’s apartment. The view from my room!

The booth completely empty, but an old Chinese woman waved me over from the bus. My feet squeaked due to the holes that formed on the bottom of my shoes from all the walking and hiking. I boarded and handed her 7 kwai hoping that I picked the right bus to Zoe’s university in Xindu. My head nodded in and out, but I stayed awake the majority of the trip due to the continuous “beep” sound coming from the front of the bus.

Pray to the Gods
Where I lit the incense for each member of my family to pray for them!

Abandoned buildings and construction sites filled the area. I began to remember passing certain landmarks from my last bus ride to Xindu. As we progressed further into the trip I realized I picked the correct bus. We passed the same lavish stores and turned down the same winding roads. For some reason I assumed that the Xindu District was many miles outside of ChengDu, but after mapping it on Strava I realized the truth. Just under 20 miles covered, but the China traffic makes trips longer compared to the USA.

I phoned Zoe upon my arrival and waited patiently for her to arrive at the Xindu campus bus station. After a few minutes she showed up on a bicycle next to Molly. They walked me back to their apartment on the 18th floor of a beautiful skyscraper.

Tree Xindu
Some of the beautiful trees and plants that lined the temple.

Zoe showed me my room and then we hit the road again for my next adventure. She took me to Baoguang Vihara temple and Molly studied for her exams Saturday. She’s studying Russian and takes eight classes seven days a week. Everyone in China is so smart and working towards at least a master’s degree.

We walked into Baoguang Vihara temple after a short taxi ride through Xindu and Zoe gave me a brief tour of everything. She bought incense for the Baoguang Vihara temple so we could both pray. I practiced Chinese tradition despite being atheist. The monks in the temples talk and use cell phones. This blew my mind! For some reason I thought Buddhist Monks just ate vegetables, couldn’t speak, or use technology, but not all of that is remotely true.

We walked through Baoguang Vihara temple looking at all the intricately trimmed trees over hundreds of years old next to bright purple and yellow flowers. The clouds stormed in upon us bringing on a colder temperature. We wandered through each section of the temple barely seeing any people. I loved it! Normally tourist attractions suck because of the crowds, but this groggy day made for the perfect temple visit. She snapped many photos of me praying, and standing in front of the beautiful temple architecture.

Temple
Intricate Chinese tower in the middle of the temple!

In one part of the temple hundreds of gold colored statues lined the perimeter of the room and its hallways. Zoe said the statues symbolized a tribute to all of the legends from that time period. Gold colored statues with a cornucopia of folded and half-folded arms perched in the center of the room with their heads inches under the ceiling. Clear plexi-glass boxes full of apples lined the tables as if the statues must give them out to people.

Zoe could not translate in English the significance of the arms or the apples, but this theme followed many Buddhist temples in China.

After touring the temple Zoe needed to go back to class and then pick up groceries for dinner. I decided to doze off and take a quick nap. I think the mono might be coming back so I want to rest as much as possible to be ready for my trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Dinner
All of us eating hotpot together.

A few hours passed and Yezi, Molly, Zoe and their roommate whose name I cannot spell, all joined me at the dinner table for the delicious hotpot meal Zoe prepared for us. I only ate hotpot once prior at a restaurant, but Zoe’s cooking far surpassed it. The delectable shrimp rolls, juicy little sausage, tender pork, mouth-watering tofu and chewy strands of mushrooms all filled me up pretty quickly. It gave me the energy I needed to get my ass kicked by a few Chinese girls in ping pong later.

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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.