Our time in Zhengzhou was packed full of paperwork and visits to official locations to finalize the adoption and passport. In addition to visiting her orphanage, I felt convicted to visit more than the mall and Walmart in the province of Little Li’s birth. I want her to look back on the photos and know that we made an effort to experience the culture and heritage of her province, Henan. When the opportunity to take a day trip to Shaolin Monastery, we jumped at the chance (even though it meant a late return before packing up to head to our next stop in Guangzhou.)
The monastery (also the birthplace of the ancient martial art of Kung Fu) is located outside her hometown of Luoyang and was established in about 420 AD. Kung Fu is an interesting blend of religion and martial arts. The evolution of Kung Fu and its survival through several dynasties is a fascinating historical journey. Our guide ‘Tiger’ was a young guy just a few years out of college who spoke fluent English. He helped our group to navigate the traffic, temple grounds and Kung Fu demonstration show in order to maximize our short time there. (It was a 1.5 hour drive from our hotel.) The heat was sweltering, although I’m told it wasn’t too bad for this time of year.
We viewed the burial grounds of the honorable Kung Fu masters. The oldest site was built in 751 AD and the most recent was 2004. Note the etchings on the photo below. This was a modern Kung Fu master and his students wanted to ensure that he had all the modern amenities in the afterlife. (See the lap top?)
The kung fu show was my favorite part. Young students and instructors demonstrated power and agility by doing back flips with knives in hand and throwing a pin through solid glass to pop a balloon. Simply amazing! (Little Hulaloo has since been demonstrating her own Kung Fu moves and we have had to have a few discussions about ‘don’t try this at home!’)