The very last stop on this trip to Anhui was a place called Dayuan Garden. Which i'd assumed would be a waste of time.
It turned out to be the most surreal destination on the itinerary. Featuring a 99 meter tall golden Buddha as its highlight, the place was a science-fiction interpretation of Buddhism, justified to the tune of 2.2 billion yuan. Special shoe covers had to be donned before entering the opulent indoor halls, which were probably as close to Mr Trump's mansion as i'll ever get. One polished white buddha sat surrounded by glowing LED lotus flowers, with a circular LCD display hovering just over his head. The place and magnitude were just oozing money, which both fascinated and disgusted me, though by the time i acutally got to the foot of Mr 99 metres, i'll admit that there was a feeling there that i didn't really expect to have.
i was the only guy who made the full trek out to the foot of the giant Buddha, and it was already a weird transition to being solo, after elbowing for room at the best photo spots. It had just turned to pitch black night, the way lit only by glowing lights along the sides of the winding staircase. The Buddha looks not unlike the giant blue Zen character from Immortal Combat, wearing a robe which revealed his muscular chest. He was epic in more ways than one, but i had to admit that despite him being brand-spanking new... it was pretty powerful to be in his presence. Not sure if that's the power that money can buy or not, but that's what i felt.
Then i had to rush down the mountain, 'cause i got a phone call. All the other buses had left and mine was wondering where the hell i was. That's the price to pay to get in touch with your inner Bodhisattva, i guess.
I'll def post some pix soon.