Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day Out

My favorite thing to do on these kind of trips, has always been the early morning hours.  The precious time before the sun comes up and awakens the world that I am temporarily inhabiting.

Here I can go out on the smooth wet sands of the beach and have it all to myself, or nearly so.  Usually just a handful of late night partiers or a man digging in the sand for some kind of seafood.

Yesterday 2 of my Slovakian friends invited me out for a road trip, and since a full rich day is composed of more than a few solitary hours of the predawn, I joined them in their rental car.

Our first stop was the big Buddha, which probably has a more divine name but to the locals it is most often referred to  as such.  And it is big, spectacular, and still under construction.  Admission is surprisingly free but donations are requested and kindly suggested at almost every turn.

Of course the great Buddha is all curves and smoothness from a distance, but this is deceptive for it's surface is almost entirely composed of flat square pieces of marble.

There is a large hall at the base of the statue in which the monks bless tourists and also trinkets can be purchased.

You approach the monk across a series of foam mats.  Once you are before him you place your donation in a bucket at this side.  What this young Russian boy is about to soon learn is that besides removing your rubles you must also remove your hat.

The little blessing and special moments will never be forgotten.  As Long as you remembered your cell phone or pocket camera.

And of course another faux pas that one should never ever do is "Going" on the Monks seat

However if you should not decide to take the Monk's blessings than the temple advises a relatively swift route to happiness and contentment.....though not likely enlightenment in just 7 minutes.

After leaving the small temple you can walk to the summit of the mountain and enjoy the Buddha.

Sweet incense is constantly burning and the tourists .....or pilgrims touch the bells that line the steps and make them ring.

Of course the bells are for sale and you can inscribe a wish or a prayer on it and hope that its voice will call out to God for you.. Even when you are back in Moscow or Queens.

There are many interesting if not curious sights in places such as this.

This is a place as much for the monks who prayed and meditated here for generations.  Long before bus loads of Russians rolled up to the summit.

You can easily see why both monks and tourists come.  The view is spectacular and perhaps even this brings you just a little closer to God.

 It is also the highest place on the island.

Down below there is a large gong.  I noticed many people coming up and stroking it, attempting to get it to sing.  Picture the task like rubbing your finger around the edge of a wine glass.  Only this little girl managed to do it. The surface bright and smooth from both those who succeeded and failed.

It was an interesting place most certainly.  A place both serene and chaotic.  Sound swirling within the silence.

And real monks.  Both in the in this world and trying to go beyond it's grasp.

Soon we are back on the road.

Technology and hungry stomachs as our guides.

This sign caught my eye but did not completely convince me.

You can eat pretty much all that your stomach could bear for one buck.

I was too timid to try.  Sometime today when I meet these two I will learn if I was wrong.

We then drove to the southern most tip of the island.  A place that draws hundreds to watch the sunset.

At times the people taking pictures interest me even more.  Because of the Chinese New Year many have come.

Two Italian girls each taking turns at looking beautiful.

The point is truly spectacular, which makes it obvious why so many come.  Maybe even for a moment one can forget to make sure the camera is in focus and just enjoy the view.

Most certainly it was nice to share the place with not just strangers but also those I call friends.

As great as Buddhas, and temples, and rocky coasts are I really enjoy sampling the local world I travel in most.

We went to a night market on the way home.

A simple bare place, where the floors are dirt and the locals come to shop.

To get inside you cross a ditch using a slab of concrete as a bridge.

It was nearly closing time so many stalls were packing up.  The whole family pitching in.

The moon is growing larger in the sky.

A little boy learns what it means to work hard.

A slightly older boy enjoying having no work at all.  Except for taking pictures and telling tales.

No comments: