Trip to the Bamboo Temple

The Bamboo Temple is way, way cool, incredibly beautiful. However, there are "no camera" signs everywhere, so the pictures are limited to a couple that Sue sneaked before she got yelled at. Perhaps it's because this is an active temple with monks praying and people coming to honor the Buddha?

Still... if you can find any info on this place you MUST see it. There are six rooms full of these incredible carved figures, depictions of every sort of Chinese person doing everyday things... eating, playing music, talking. They are lined up on shelves, three rows high, on every wall in each room. In the center room of each section there is a Buddha... one is riding on a peacock... and people would come in and place incense in an urn in front of them and say a little prayer. Although my first impression was that these figures were crammed in there for storage (it feels like a 14th century garage), upon closer inspection it appears that they were intended to be situated in this manner; many of them are sitting on the edges with their feet hanging over, some on the upper shelves appear to be peering down at the people peering up at them. It's truly astounding, and I hope I can find a picture book on this place.

So, these are the photos we got on this visit, most of which are of the surrounding area and not the temple itself. The three characters depicted below are not the same as the ones I've described above; these are larger traditional characters, and, while they are really cool, they are not nearly as fascinating as the figures on the shelves.

The temples are just fabulously ornate, with giant Buddhas in lavish surroundings, with paintings and gilt and lacquer and filigree everywhere. I expect at some point I will get to temples which I can actually photograph, but until then these tourist snaps will have to do.

I have no idea who this guy is or what he's doing. This guy and the one below flank the entrance gate to the temple grounds. If I ever find out where to get these clothes, I'm going to be in trouble.
Well, if that reincarnation thing truly holds water, I'm pretty sure this is an early incarnation of Elvis. In fact, the last character on the sign in front of him is the Chinese character for King. Hmmm.... "I'm just a hunk'a hunk'a burnin' wood..." Thankaveramuch. Elvis has left the temple.
This is me on a suspension bridge over a ravine between the Bamboo Temple and a park. No matter where you go in China, someone wants to sell you a ticket. Here we are in the countryside, wandering around, and when we crossed this bridge there was a girl standing in the woods selling tickets. We couldn't tell what they were for. It seemed like a bizarre version of the bridge scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except that Tim has figured out how to cash in on his position. "NONE SHALL PASS!! (unless they give me 5 kuai)."
I had to have my picture taken with something Chinese. This is a random gate on a small road out on Long Pan mountain, about 5K outside Kunming. These things seem to be everywhere! We couldn't tell if the building within was a private residence or had some more official function.
From a distance we could see that the hillsides surrounding the area were dotted with these odd structures. When we climbed up there, we discovered that they were graves. It seems that you are supposed to plant grasses and plants on top of the tombs. I couldn't tell whether the things that look like doors were indeed doors, or whether the tops are open and they are simply burial containers that you fill from above. The one to the left in this picture has recently been used.