Dazu-Chongqing--September 2, 2004--Dazu, Chongqing Flower Market
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Today, we made a day trip from Chongqing to Dazu, about 52 miles west of Chongqing. A spectacular collection of Buddhist cave paintings, sculptures and carvings are here. Carving of the works began in 1178 and continued for about seventy years. Although primarily Buddhist in character, the carvings are said to show influences of the philosophies of Confucius and Daoism.
As we entered the site (240), several vendors were selling fireworks which are utilized by Buddhists to celebrate the occasion of visiting Dazu. The reclining Buddha (242, 256) is a centerpiece of the display--the torso is sunk into the cliff. Near the Buddha is a gold figure of Avalokitesvara with over 1,000 arms, each reaching towards the sky (255). Each hand has an eye, the symbol of wisdom. Given their age and open air conditions, the figures of Dazu (241-269) are remarkably well preserved.
When we left the grotto, we encountered a variety of sites in the small town including the elderly couple (270), who where quite proud to have their picture taken. We also saw a Chinese pharmacy (271) that several tour members employed to cure minor ailments--all seemed satisfied with the herbal remedies. We saw attractive bamboo sculpture (272) and card playing with unusually shaped cards (273). Finally, we reboarded the bus and proceeded back to Chongqing.
On the way back to the city, several of the tour passengers prevailed on the driver to stop in the countryside to see some of the rural life (274-283). We were amazed that many of the farmers used a portion of the busy road to dry their rice (277). Drivers on the road seemed to take this in stride and merely changed lanes to avoid hitting the farmers.
Once back in Chongqing, we saw a power plant immediately adjacent to some nearby housing (284) and then a sports diving complex (285) which will be utilized during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. We were surprised to learn that not all of the Beijing Olympics will be in Beijing and a few events, like diving, will be in Chongqing and other cities.
Once back at our hotel in Chongqing (this time a Marriott), we ventured out to the nearby flower market and noted the unusual packaging on flowers sold to customers (1-4).
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