I’m the first one to pick on Wuxi, but if anyone else talks smack about this city, I swear, I’ll totally punch that person in the face. At least in my imagination. I mean, I’m not really into violence. Or confrontation. Or really even disagreeing with people because arguing makes me anxious. So if we’re in public, I’ll probably just be like, “Yeah, you’re right. Wuxi totally sucks.” But later when I’m remembering the conversation in my head, I’d be all like, “What? Wuxi doesn’t suck! You suck!” And, then, bang, right in the face.
Sure, Wuxi is no Beijing. There are no impressive historic monuments like the Forbidden City or the Great Wall here.
The closest thing we have is this replica of the Great Wall at one of the local theme parks. I dubbed it the “Not-So-Great Wall.” And then I took this picture:
And, while Wuxi may only be a short, hour-long train ride away from Shanghai, it is no Shanghai. There are no fancy European buildings and fancy European restaurants where you can get fancy European drinks that cost expensive European prices.
But you can get a heap of noodles and a beer for less than two dollars.Even though it may not be the most exciting place to live or visit, Wuxi is a good place.
Even the posters say so.
And it’s not as if this city isn’t totally devoid of exciting sights.
I mean, we have Taihu Lake, which happens to be China’s third largest lake. Third largest, people! (Don’t ask me where China’s first and second largest lakes are. Wherever they are, I’m sure they’re totally lame.)And Wuxi is home to the Lingshan Wonderland of Buddhism.
As the name suggests, it’s kind of like Disneyland.
That is if Disneyland had more incense.
And, instead of everyone clamoring to get their pictures taken with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, people clamor to get their pictures taken with Buddha statues.
The main attraction at the Lingshan Wonderland is this big guy right here:
And by “big,” I mean really, really big. Like eighty-eight-meters-high-and-seven-hundred-tons-of-bronze big.
Granted, the Lingshan Buddha is not the biggest Buddha statue in the world. Someone told me it’s like the eighth or ninth largest outdoor Buddha statue. Or maybe the tenth or fifteenth. I don’t know. Whatever. It’s big. Let’s leave it at that.
I don’t think it’s even the biggest Buddha statue in China.But, after spending all of last Sunday at the park, I’m pretty sure the Lingshan Buddha is the most razzley-dazzley Buddha statue in the world.
Because, seriously, people, not to brag or anything, but I’ve seen a fair share of big Buddha statues in my day. But I don’t remember any of those other big Buddha statues being accompanied by a musical fountain show complete with a lotus giving birth to a golden baby Buddha.
And, while most of the other big Buddha statues I’ve seen have come equipped with perfectly lovely temples, this Buddha had two massive, brand spanking new palaces.
Two of them.
Because if you’re made out of seven-hundred tons of bronze, that’s just how you roll.
Only one of the palaces was open to the public as the other is still under construction.
Before we could go inside, we had to put these shoe covers on our feet. That’s how I knew it was going to be a real high class kind of place. You just know you’re going to some place ritzy when even your shoes have to get dressed up.
The inside of the palace was all marbley and shiny. It looked a lot like a cathedral. Or maybe like a really high-end hotel in Vegas.
There was a sparkly, light-up ceiling.
And a gold, filigreed Buddha hovering in front of a sea of stained glass, which according to the sign was made out of precious gems. I didn’t even know you could make stained glass out of gems. See, I told you this place was all razzle-dazzle!Oh, and, there was a multimedia stage show.
Yup. You heard me.
I said stage show.
I’m not sure what the show was called, but I’m referring to it as “Buddha: the Musical.”
The show focused mainly on Buddha’s early life – you know, back before he was a Buddha and was just a prince hanging out in a lavish palace with lots of belly dancers and stuff.
They kind of glossed over the bit where he leaves his life of worldly pleasures to pursue asceticism and then enlightenment. Probably because that kind of thing doesn’t really make for very good song and dance numbers.
I think I watched the entire production with my mouth gaping open. It’s possible I got hypnotized by all the sequins. I did manage to snap out of my sequin-induced hypnosis long enough to take this short video, though.
I know, right?
I’m totally showing this video to the next person who talks trash about Wuxi. That should prove to them just how special Wuxi truly is.
And, if not, it should hypnotize them long enough for me to punch them in the face. And then I’ll run away before they can catch me.Do you love where you live? Was it love at first sight? Or one of those slow growing loves?