All are well, present, and intact. Today, we visited the Famen Temple, which was an hour ride from Xi’an. The temple is best known for its possession of a part of the Buddha’s finger bone, a holy relic which has become an object of pilgrimage for Buddhists globally. The temple also houses a collection of treasures from the Tang Dynasty, which were buried underneath the temple for centuries and recently discovered in the late 1980s. The Tang treasures and the Buddha’s finger bone had been buried at the end of the Tang Dynasty when dissolution and upheaval appeared imminent in an attempt to preserve the treasures of China’s golden age. We wandered the temple’s grounds, exploring both the outside and visiting the indoor museums housing the unearthed objects.
After a vegetarian lunch within the temple compound, we boarded the bus and made our way to the Tomb of the Qianlong Emperors. The tomb contains the bodies of the final emperor and empress of the Tang Dynasty. The property in its entirety spans not only the tomb itself but much of the surrounding countryside and contains great deal of Tang Dynasty sculpture. Once we returned to the city, we had a hot-pot dinner. Hot-pot is a common Eastern Asian dish which consists of a large bowl of boiling stock (everyone either has their own or there is a communal pot) and meat, vegetables, noodles, or dumplings are cooked in the pot at the table. Condiments are then put into a personal bowl and the soup and cooked food are mixed into the seasoning. Tomorrow, we depart from Xi’an to fly to Dunhuang. We’ve all had a great time in Xi’an and are excited for what is to come.
-Kiley and Caroline
P.S. Hi Mom, Dad, Sarah, Joe, and Suzie! -Caroline
P.P.S- Mother, my luggage broke. We are never buying suitcases there again. I had to haggle to buy a new suitcase and then proceeded to carry it through the streets of Xi’an. Everyone here knows me as the ‘White Suit Case Girl’. Also, I have way too much peanut butter. I know I only have one jar, but still.