June 14th – Grottos

Got up at 6:30, I’m mostly adjusted to the time zone now.

Answered email, and showered, and left the hotel at around 7, to go to the grottoes. Sadly, the road that the bus travels on was no longer in existence – it was totally torn up, and just a big patch of dirt that had lots of people but no cars. On the other side of it I did find the datong park, which I hadn’t been to before. The park seemed like a hotspot of activity on a Sunday morning, and was really filled with people. Lots of taiji exercises. Lots of synchronized dancing. Lots of families with children – there was also an amusement park component that was beginning to open when I got there.

I walked back to the hotel to try to figure out an alternative route, and decided that I’d take the 17 from my hotel to the xinkaili terminus, and then switch to the 3. It worked out without a hitch, and I found myself at the grottoes about 40 minutes later.

The caves were amazingly impressive. Some of the sculptures were huge (50 or 60 foot high buddhas). I don’t have pictures of the largest couple since they were under no-photograph protection, and also indoors so that they’d keep their color and not bleach as much as the others.

I think this alone validated the trip out here – really amazing stuff from a thousand years ago. (there are pictures posted)

Came back at 1, and fiddled around with email and uploading photos some more.

I tried to go out to see another temple in town, but it started raining, so I didn’t get very far – stopped in at a grocery store to get some food instead and then hurried back to the hotel so I didn’t get too wet.

Hung out for the afternoon – it didn’t really clear up, and there’s not that much more to see.

The plan for tomorrow is to hopefully see the coal museum, although there’s nothing online with a firm address for the place so I’ll need to rely on finding a cab driver.

I also started thinking about what I’ll be doing for next week, and roughly sketched out a plan. It looks like it’ll be raining for the first couple days (and there’s a ‘feels like’ of 56 Celsius to boot) so that’s probably best spent in doors.

One more day in datong, and then it’s back to beijing on the 16th.