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Anna’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 15 Jul 2007

Location: Luoyang, China

MapIn Luoyang we were almost conned and led astray by some little old ladies pretending to be from our hostel but we managed to get rid of them and found the way.
That afternoon we caught a bus out to The Longmen Caves and spent a few sweltering hours looking at the thousands and thousands of buddahs carved into the rock - the massive ones after a little climb up were definately the most impressive (and we very nearly missed them cause it was so hot).
We had a short, but nice ride on a boat back down the river to where we had started and then found the nearest place with aircon for our lunch. This is where our friends became hooked on Ba Si Xiang Jiao (fried banana chunks covered in thick caramel - mmmm delicious).
The Lonely Planet lied to us that evening (not the first time, nor the last - no surprise as everything in China is changing so fast) and we travelled across the whole of the city ready to sample the delights of a proper night market, only to find they stopped doing the market last year!! Some locals directed us to a small restaurant which happened to serve some weird and wonderful dishes (not weird by chinese standards though). Amongst other things we ate grubs (quite tasty), some creepy lobster-ish looking creatures (tricky to eat, but also very tasty) and a few local specialities that they gave us free of charge (not exactly sure what they were). All in all, it turned out a great night.

The next day we got up at the crack of dawn (a common occurance during this fortnight) and caught a bus to the famous and sacred Shaolin Temple. It was the second time for Neill and I, but definately worth the return visit. The others loved it there too. We watched two different displays of the Shaolin monks doing a range of very impressive kung fu moves and tricks. We walked around the temple and the forest of stone pagodas, then caught a chairlift up one of the surrounding mountains and climbed to the lowest peak. The weather was gorgeous.
On our way back to the entrance we passed all the martial art students out on the yards practising their moves. It is the largest school in China (18,000 students) so as you can imagine it was an impressive sight to see.