Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 28, 2008

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, January 27, 2008

The train trip to Luoyang was an experience in itself. It is at Chinese train stations that you realise that 1.3 billion people is a lot of people and no public transport system could ever cope with such a demand. You are lined up in human style cattle pens with the other 500 or so people that are just trying to catch that train at that particular station!

Once aboard we caused great fascination, in particular Kim reading her book who was the subject of much photographic exposure! Knowing when to get off was an equally great challenge as no one in the carriage spoke a word of English - in the end a man next to me wrote on his newspaper "STOP GO"!?!?! An insightful comment, we thought...our translation was at the next stop we had to get off - fortunately we were correct!
Our visit to Luoyang was to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Longmen Caves. This is an extraordinary collection of Buddhist cave art carved into the rock either side of the Li River valley dating from around 500 AD. The damp, murky cloud cover gave the caves a rather mystical charm. Once again the scale and attention to detail is something to behold.

The highlight was the 17 metre Buddha that dominates the rockface with its towering presence. Sadly some of the statues have been stolen or defaced over recent decades, but thankfully security seems to have been tightened so that this wonder will remain a treasure for everyone to enjoy.

Before leaving we dropped in to Dr Lee's restaurant for a bowl of warming noodles...unfortunately Rob's careful selection off the picture menu ended up with a dish containing an unknown meat substance! After a thorough inspection and poke with her chopsticks, Dr Chrystal declared that it was officially "forehead tendon"...strange is perhaps being a little polite!!?!
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