Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Palace-Temple of Old Mother
So today I snuck off to the Palace-Temple of Old Mother. Shantou is a seaport and appropriately they have a gorgeous temple to the Goddess Matsu. She was a sea goddess that cared for sailors and fishermen; unlike many of the other sea gods, she was supposed to be compassionate. This temple is dedicated to her. I can't put all of my pictures up here, so I am figuring out how to put them up in an album on Picassa.
I had a little trouble getting there. First, I tried to walk, but I kept getting confused. Then as I was walking back to my start point this little old begger guy started harassing me. He wouldn't leave me alone for about two blocks. I wish I could help them, but I can't help them all, how do I pick?
When I made it back to the downtown campus of Shantou University, I ran into a fifth year gentleman who was very kind and helped me tell a "taxi" driver where I wanted to go. Look at the picture, I rode in a couple of them today. My new friend also wrote out a note for me in Chinese that said "Please drive me to Shantou Univeristy Medical Center" so that I could show it to a taxi driver and get back.
Off I go, it turns out I was heading the right way. I should have trusted myself, but then the taxi driver pulls off at a Christian Church. He took me to the wrong temple! So, I was pointing on my map to where I wanted to go and the driver didn't understand...he flagged down a gentleman on a moped. This gentleman happened to be an English teacher at one of the high schools and a graduate of Shatou University. He gave me a lift to the temple. It was the first time I have ever been on a moped. I exchanged emails with both of the gentlemen that helped me.
The temple was amazing. They used mosaic tile relief to create these pictures of a sea serpent and a tiger. Everywhere was covered in ornate reliefs and carvings depicting different battles and sea creatures. I can't describe it. Each item was covered in this amazing carved and gilded artwork. There were two sides to the temple, much of the artwork was similar. There were also these stone columns with serpents wrapped around them. In amongst the sea serpents coils where different men and women. Look at the pictures.
When I was done, I flagged down another of the "taxis" and went back to the college. The only downside of my day was that I lost my notebook...the zipper on my backpack is breaking and sometime pops open...I must have dropped my notebook when it did that. This means that I lost the emails of my two new friends...I gave them mine, I hope they email me.
If this works, there should be a slideshow of my photos from today...