Today went to a couple historical Confucius sites, the graveyard of Confucius, the temple of Confucius, and the mansion of Confucius’ descendants. First we took a bus ride to a hotel where we were dropped off and we went through a street with a bunch of vendors selling a bunch of different things like statues of Confucius and different posters. A lot of the vendors would say things like “hello” or “you want” and then point to something, but that’s all they would say. Then we made our way to the Confucius temple which was really big. I noticed that a lot of people in the temple would look at our group and or take pictures of us, and I wasn’t really sure how to act about this, whether I should pose or hide my face. I decided to pose in the pictures and the people seemed to find that amusing, which I thought was pretty funny as well. I also noticed that almost all of the statues and rock carvings were damaged, but recently repaired, it makes me wonder how much was lost in the Cultural Revolution.
We then left the temple and went to the mansion of Confucius descendants, which they lived in for thousands of years, until in the past one hundred years when they went in search for a better life, to Taiwan. The mansion was of course big and very cool and I wish they could have shown us more of the mansion. Once again our group got a lot of stares and some people even came up and asked for a selfie.
Eventually we made our way out of the mansion and ended up on the street with all the vendors again. We went to the hotel where we parked and we ate lunch at the hotel. Personally my favorite food from lunch was like a fried dough stick, it was delicious and was a little reminder of home. We then left and walked to get on a shuttle which took us to another shuttle and then we went through the grave yard. There were piles of dirt for each individual person and the more important you were the bigger the pile was. We started out going past the smaller ones and as we went along we started seeing bigger and bigger piles. Then we made it to Confucius’ and his son’s graves. Their two piles of dirt were the two biggest in the entire grave yard, and while we were here they had places to pray and donate.
One thing that I noticed on the shuttle ride was smaller trees in the grave yard had ropes tied to them and older trees that were leaning had rock supports under them. After we all prayed and some donated money we all walked back on a shuttle, rode it to go take another shuttle and eventually we made it back to our bus. As we were exiting the grave yard we passed hundreds of middle school aged children who had most likely never seen Americans before, many took photos. It was like we were rock stars even though we did absolutely nothing.
Finally we arrived at the campus and we had some free time on campus and I went to a store and found it quite easy to purchase food even though the cashier didn’t speak any English. I felt very odd just roaming around campus in the night but I also felt a new sense of freedom.