(Beijing, China. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests peeks in the distance.)
In ancient times, the Emperor of China would move from the Forbidden City into the Temple complex and personally pray to Heaven for good harvest.
The Emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, who administered earthly matters on behalf of heavenly authority.
It would be difficult to walk the entire Great Wall, but one can experience what it’s like along a portion of it.
Approaching Juyong Pass near Beijing, one gets a glimpse of the famous wall and anticipation builds up. After all, climbing the Great Wall is on many people’s bucket list!
One quickly realizes that this is not going to be a “walk in the park.” The wall served as fortification, hence they were made for soldiers and not for tourists. Still, it’s part of the experience…
The start of the climb up. If you’re early enough it won’t be that crowded.
Near the top.
The long way up is the long way down.
The view from halfway. The good thing is that you can see this twice – on the way up, and on the way down.
It’s a Quest worth doing at least once.
(More info on the Great Wall here.)
“Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you’ll see
Into your imagination
We’ll begin with a spin
Traveling in the world
Of my creation
What we’ll see
Will defy explanation”
– Pure Imagination, from “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”
The Venetian in Macau is rightly described by Google search as a “Vegas-style Venice-themed casino and resort.”
It’s got the works, from the opulent ceilings and halls, right down to the perpetually sunny “sky” and gondola rides.
Like Charlie given a “golden ticket” to the Chocolate Factory, visitors are given a sensory overload, and one can easily get sucked in. “No one ever gets out,” Charlie is warned.
One can get trapped in here too, specially in the casino downstairs. But, like Charlie who had a pure heart, one can pass the test. One can enjoy the painted “sky” and the gondolas while remembering that it is all make-believe. Pure imagination.
“The eyes are the window to the soul.”
They were fashioned out of the ground, each one unique, a life-size replica of a person.
Their eyes show one purpose — the determination to fulfil their duty, an army ready to march into battle.
Do we see in their eyes a living soul?
Can they be like man, “formed of the dust of the ground,” come to life when the breath of life was “breathed into his nostrils”? (Genesis 2:7)
The emperor had a different idea. Their purpose is in the afterlife, not in this world. They are not dust meant to be breathed into life with a soul — they are dust meant to become souls.
These souls are probably busy defending the emperor in the afterlife right now. Let’s hope they remain there.
In the meantime, we can admire these exquisite sculptures, which were made more than 2,200 years ago.
(More info on the Terracota warriors and horses.)