Daniel Thompson is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A sociology major at Lebanon Valley College, he is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.
In this week's post, Daniel shares his weekend adventures in Hangzhou to see the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon and explore a Buddhist temple.
My friend Conor (who's also in the CAPA program) just turned 21. Many friends and I celebrated his birthday at Club Mint which is known for its elegant dress code and nightlife. Famous DJs from around China and the UK play almost every weekend at Mint.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Hangzhou. Seeing Hangzhou's way of life reminded me of shanghai but a smaller city setting. We went on a boat ride to the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon. This area is famous for the splendid view created by the moonlight when it hits the water at night. It's located in the southern water area of Xiaoyingzhou Isle. We did not have the opportunity to go at night, but the view during the day was very peaceful as well. The misty view of the water with the reflections of the sky and clouds on its smooth surface created a picture of mystery.
Before we left Hangzhou on Sunday, we visited a Buddhist temple on the West Lake, located at the southern foot of the Northern Peak. It is full of many historical Buddhist statues - a total of 390. The first one was carved in 951, the first year of the Later Zhou period of the Five Dynasties. When walking though the temple areas, the smell of fresh incense consistently flowed through my nose and peaceful prayers of men and women surrounded me. You can feel the peace and love sounding you.
I had the opportunity to meet and talk to a well-known monk. He said a blessing for me and asked to take a picture for memories. I honored his request. Usually, I would be the one to ask for a picture from a man like him. Going to the temple was the highlight of my weekend. It brought peace and a new understanding of the Chinese culture in terms of religion.
Daniel's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.