12 September 2015

One Day In Wuhan, China...

A new school meant a whole lot more Chinese National Holidays for me to enjoy, with that said it was time for me to embrace Victory Day! Having three days off for that heroic National Holiday I was up for another beautiful day out in Wuhan, China. Finding solace in another fine temple and being beside one formidable lake, I was feeling victorious for sure! Let's go!

Along with a friend who's special to me, we found Baotong Temple without a hitch because the first time I got a bit stuck. Paying our entrance it was time to zone out from the crazy that is Wuhan, she's a crazy thing! Having an epic history that has spanned over 1500 years I was ready to learn from this wise Buddhist Temple. Catching the aromas of the burning incense brought back familiar memories from my visit to the nearby Changchun Taoist Temple. Baotong Temple welcomed us with a feeling of calm and chill that was in supply for us all to learn from. Having my Chinese friend with me it was easy to understand why Buddhism is a respected religion, let's just say he prayed before the figure of the great Buddha several times during our temple visit. Leaving a special and confidential message on a red piece of material I offered something to gods. I'm not religious, that temple had me under a spell! 

What's Victory Day? It's a celebration endorsed by the Chinese to rejoice the overthrowing of the Japanese during World War Two. Getting back to the solace of Baotong Temple I was at one with the peace and outstanding architecture, respecting the rules and the almighty Buddha I refrained from taking any photos inside of the temple shrines. I must admit that the flawless figures of the Buddha looked amazing, that depiction of the wise god had eyebrows that were on fleek! Climbing what felt like one hundred steps to reach the top of the temples highest shrines we were reminded that this Buddhist Temple stood within a bustling and ever-changing Chinese city, I was truly amazed by what we saw that afternoon! If I was to choose principles from any religion it would have to be from Buddhism, there's just something that makes sense? Offering my messages to the gods I found a deeper sense of peace during our visit to Wuhan's timeless Baotong Temple. Oh yes, Wuhan! 

Ni Hao Donghu! Oh, Donghu is Chinese for 'East Lake', a lake that has got to be Wuhan's most famous beauty spot! Following the Wuhan Metro from Baotong Temple we took a bus from some station I cannot pronounce or even write, finding ourselves at the gates of Wuhan's East Lake. Doing my research before arriving in this Central Chinese city I had my eye on this natural hangout. Like Baotong Temple, seeing the waters of East Lake took the stresses of the city away for a short while. The first installment of Victory Day was shaping up just fine. Chilling out to a healthy state we took some time to sit by the lake to appreciate the view, it was my first visit to I was blown away to see so much nature because Guanggu, Wuhan is one big concrete jungle! Taking the title as the largest lake in China within a 'city limit' its only right to declare that East Lake serves Wuhan Realness! Get me back to East Lake now Wuhan! 

Captured above is one of the lush views of East Lake with some of the underlying Lotus ponds, a sight that was a welcomed change compared to my Chinese concrete home. The local Wuhanese people were out in their droves, taking time out to chill out during that Victory Day National Holiday. Part of the East Lake High Technology Development Zone this Wuhan scenic spot is home to a theme park called 'Happy Valley' and many other amusements. We shunned those parts of the park in favour of a chilled walk along the causeways, admiring the view and keeping away from the blazing heat. I wanted nothing to do with roller-coasters! Wuhan keeps showing me more, with each day out I am astounded by the treats I'm being showed, East Lake impressed me! Dodging a raucous group of tourists and a few others we followed our own path during our time beside the waters of Donghu. Oh, I was promised that we would go to the Hubei Provincial Musuem soon! I'm thirsty W!

Saying goodbye at the metro I had no clue what my evening would have in store, making some enquiries I called up on some friends through WeChat. The day must have been long because I accidentally took a short nap, thankfully my friend called me before 9pm. Hopping back on the metro for the thousandth time that day it was unclear to me where he would be taking me, but I knew it was one of his friends birthday? Getting off at Wangjiadun East, I met with my friend, he had kept one of his cans of cider from Marks & Spencer that we had bought at Han Street a few weeks before, it was a treat for me! Marrying the night I didn't have a clue where I was going!? Finding a bustling waterfront strip of bars I was fronting 'West Lake' it would be a day of temples and lakes? We stopped at Beer Barn, a Hipster looking hangout with off license style fridges full of beer and strong drinks. So, Samuel Smith sells to China?

Picking a six pack of Corona I noticed a familiar selection of British products made by Samuel Smith's! Recognising those craft brewed beers from a familiar Shad Thames London pub. The Anchor Tap may have been a few thousand miles away but the fridges of Wuhan's Beer Barn presented a slice of something I recognised! Retailing at forty-eight Chinese Yuan those Samuel Smith's brews looked pricey compared to the local beers, nevertheless it would cost over six British Pounds back in Blightly at one of Sam's establishments for a bottle so not to shabby when that's taken into account. Purely the facts, I'm not throwing shade! Messing about on the lake we rented a pedalo boat to join the rest of the birthday party on the water, it was a great night all round I tell you! Getting back to dry land we hit Brussels Bar for a pint of Vedet or two, meeting new people gives me life! From the spirituality of Baotong Temple to the quietness of East Lake and loving Beer Barn, I loved it! 

Stay Victorious Wuhan! 

Joseph Harrison

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