Our first port along the Yangtze was a little village with a fantastic pagoda with ninety-nine stairs to the top. The walk through the town to the pagoda was just as interesting as the structure itself. Starting at the end of the ramp to get off the boat and stretching about a hundred yards were stalls set up by locals to cater to tourists. It was all what Westerns expected to see: artsy chopsticks, kites shaped like coy fish and dragons, little statue replicas of terracotta warriors, fans painted with fabulous things, scarves, clothes, and a thousand other things. All these vendors are nicknamed “Hello People” because they would greet all the tourists as they disembarked.
Every stall had a owner that tried to sell you everything they had. We turned a corner and the stalls became less frequent but more interesting. One vendor had a large metal bowl on the ground filled with water and live shrimp. Next to it was a box with water and a live carp. Both had aerator lines in to keep the occupants alive until some customer decided they needed a snack and the fish ended up in the fryer on the car before the vendor. I declined to taste that food.
As we crossed into different parts of the town there were beautifully ornate gateways complete with carvings and painted patterns. China is beautiful. It is the product of centuries of generations working to perfect their craft.
To get to the pagoda and the temple at the top we had to cross over a bridge on the outskirts of the town. Before the bridge were animal head statues of all the animals of the zodiac. I’m the year of the monkey but my favorite was the dragon. Now, I really like signs and questionably translated signs are some of my favorite. The best of these said: The rail danger/Please do not trust in.
Red, the pagoda was a deep red with round yellow windows on each level and a bright yellow entrance gate that was decorated with gods and goddesses. The ninety-nine stairs leading to the top of the pagoda were steep and Nana decided not to climb them with me. Misty and mysterious was the view from the round windows. I loved it. The scene that presented itself before me was simple and pastoral. A gently rolling landscape of green and yellow dotted with homes here and there.
The top of the pagoda opened onto a courtyard that led to a temple. The temple was filled with painted figures. I don’t believe all of them were gods and goddess but they were bright and different to what I was accustomed to seeing in a house of worship. The differences are good to see and I wish I had learned more but I was trailing behind the group and tour guide because I was distracted and taking pictures.
Sorry for the photo overload in this post but it was just such a fantastic, beautiful, interesting day that I wanted to share as much as I could with each of you. Have a great rest of your day. If you enjoy my blog please consider buying me a cup of coffee.