Buddha House (Shenzhen) – 30th April 2001

Popcorn at the Buddha house
Everything for sale
Rubbish piles up mountain high
Incense blows away
There seems no peace
Outside this house
Can you find peace inside yourself
It’s hard for me to say

27th Aug 2021 – Vivian had a day off work and took me to a Buddhist temple, at least I presume it was Buddhist. I have no idea where it was or what it was called. Maybe the Hongfa Temple? We got a taxi there and it felt like the area was a little less developed at that time. From what I’ve since learned about these temples I’m guessing it was on a hill and facing the water. The temple was big and the incense smoke cloying but obviously what stood out most was the trash, both for sale and as rubbish piled in plain sight. I would come to understand this garbage phenomenon a little more into the trip. I also quickly learned the Chinese word for rubbish (垃圾) having to tell every walking talking hawker that I didn’t want to buy theirs! I was still quite a lot in culture curiosity mode, rather than culture shock. It was obvious to Vivian that I wasn’t interested in being her ticket out of China though I’m not sure if I told her directly.

Anyway, I decided it was time to arrange to leave Shenzhen and I asked Vivian to help me book a plane ticket. We went into the city, or somewhere suburban at least, and she took me into a hotel foyer. I thought this was a little odd but I was learning new things. In my closeted western experience, buying plane tickets was an officious affair carried out in expensive storefronts. Now here I was in a hotel foyer buying them from some guy set up at a table in the corner.

Strangely, again, Vivian decided she wanted to visit a friend near Beijing and booked us both on the same flight. Perhaps she also wanted to make sure I was set once we arrived there but it was a little surprising to me that she suddenly made this decision where before she wasn’t even sure if she had time to hang out in Shenzhen. In retrospect, I can understand it a little more.

pic: Ivan Herman (chosen as a representation, as I couldn’t find a modern picture that didn’t look like it was from a brochure)

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