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Pankeng Scenic Resort

Meizhou, China
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Pankeng Scenic Resort
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Douglas M wrote a review Dec 2018
Guangzhou, China1973 contributions205 helpful votes
It was not yet 10 o’clock on a chilly Boxing Day morning and we’d already ‘done’ the 1000 Buddhas Tower when SWMBO and I, along with 50 other intrepid travellers were deposited in the car park of the PanKeng Scenic Area. Our tour guide pointed towards a path and told the throng us to be back in an hour. We trooped off along the unmade path past a small stream by which a few locals were filling containers with the little water flowing there. A common practice even when there’s signs forbidding it. There’s a couple of path-side shrines, probably to ward-off the effects of drinking the un-treated water. I wouldn’t be surprised if the restrooms empty directly into the stream! We didn’t cross a Qing dynasty foot bridge, I assume the bottom is Qing because it has ‘Gui Qing Bridge’ carved in the balustrade which seems to my untrained eyes, a later addition. We soon came to a few stalls selling tourist trinkets which attracted nearly everybody. There was, however, a large fishpond packed with goldfish which attracted me, while SWMBO reckoned there was a temple further on. However, SWMBO stopped to buy a large bag of fish food and three goldfish to release into the pond. Apparently giving fish their freedom appeals to Buddha. I suppose a few small fish are pulled out of the pond every day and sold to tourists. I don’t reckon the vendors care one jot about what Buddha thinks! One we’d released the fish and fed their friends we continued up the hill. Eventually we came to a little shrine where a woman was selling joss-sticks and candles. The woman was wearing a black hat. I remembered seeing this style before at Tao temples. Everything then fell into place, this was a Taoist shrine, where taking money from believers and tourists is the name of the game. Anyway, SWMBO bought joss-sticks and candles and offered prayers. Then it was over a small bridge, the inscriptions showed it was built with donations from local lads who’d made good in Hong Kong and elsewhere. In fact, everything around us seem to have names inscribed and importantly, how much they’d donated. SWMBO bought even more joss-sticks and candles from black hat wearing vendors who assured her that these were the real deal, not like the ones from the charlatan down the valley! I even bought a ¥20 package of ‘holy’ paper to incinerate, I was assured that the god of wealth would look favourably on my munificence as my daughter’s inheritance went up in smoke. There’s a couple of magnificent wall panels. One, SWMBO told me, was the 24 stories of filial piety expected of a son or daughter. SWMBO was engrossed in reading them and translating them to me when her mobile rang. It was the tour guide wanting to know how long we were going to be as everybody else was on the coach and anxious to get onto the next attraction. the Co-op for shopping. We retraced our steps, stopping for relief at the remarkably clean toilets near the fish pond and to feed our three fish and their friends the last of the fish food as I reckoned, correctly as it turned out, wouldn’t be fish to feed at the Co-op. We reached the bus with about two minutes to spare of the allocated hour. Faces almost as black as the Taoist hats greeted us as we boarded the coach for the ten-minute drive to the Co-op temple. I must admit we only saw a small part of the resort, another couple of hours would have seen us explore a lot more.
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Date of experience: December 2018
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