On Wednesday we stayed overnight on a rural Chinese farm in the Qingling mountains. This part of china is totally untouched from the wave of development passing through other parts of China, as you’ll see by the ‘organic’ food we were served for lunch and dinner – they don’t waste a thing!! We arrived had chicken among other dishes for lunch, headed to the lake and returned for a rabbit dinner.
It was a 5am wake up call on Thursday to return to Xian to catch the 6 hour bus to Deng Feng.
We arrived in Deng Feng, or better know has Shaolin, and while the others visited an orphanage I spent the entire day in bed with illness.
On Friday, I picked up a little as we had a long day ahead of us. We barged through the crowds at the Shaolin temple to first watch a Kung Fu Performance. We then hiked 45 minutes of stairs to reach the Dharma Cave.
Kung Fu is the literal translation for ‘learn skill’ and the cave is significant as it is where Kung Fu was founded.
The Dharma Cave was inhabited by a Chinese monk who travelled to India and founded Buddhism. On his return to China he meditated in this cave for 9 years.
To keep his muscles healthy during his time of mediation, the monk imitated animal movements and breathing exercises and thus Kung Fu was born.
On coming down from the cave the monk noticed how all the other monks had gotten fat and so he taught them what he had practiced during his meditative state. You’ll notice which animals are imitated during Kung Fu performances, but otherwise the Chinese calendar portrays these animals too.
After the Dharma Cave we browsed through the Shaolin temple which was quite a disappointment, not like Kung Fu Panda at all!
In the afternoon we boarded the 9 hour sleeper train to Beijing, leaving Shaolin at 10pm and arriving in Beijing at 7am the following day.