The day came when we were scheduled to go to one of the Buddhist temples in Nanjing. This temple was around 1,000 years old, and was the most famous one in the city. Out of all the sights we were going to see, this is one that I was most looking forward to. The best way to get there was by bus, so we all boarded the bus and headed to the temple. The bus dropped us off after about a twenty minute drive, and we walked the rest of the way. The walk was nice, even in the 95 degree heat, because it allowed you to see the downtown city area. We ran into a man from Chicago who was in Nanjing for business. He told us he was alone and just planned on wondering the city, so we invited him to come with us to the temple. There were hundreds of people there when we got there, but we managed to climb our way up the stairs and to the main courtyard of the temple. You are given incense and you light them in a room full of candles, after that you walk them across the courtyard to a large fire pit. Here, people gather around and pray, then stick their incense into the fire pit. It was a very interesting ritual that I enjoyed taking a part in. I could imagine the millions of people who have visited this temple over the past 1,000 years and preformed this very exact ritual in the same spot. There was a large structure that towered over the temple. It has lasted hundreds of years and the fact that people were able to build it with such basic tools was impressive. The best view took a little exploring to find. After seeing some people standing on the outer wall of the temple, I knew I had to find a way to get up there. I went down some side stairs and around one of the buildings and found a staircase that led up to the top of the wall. The view from this location was breathtaking. You could see the entire city and the large skyscrapers in the distance, a bridge that crossed a lake, and behind you the temple. The tower stood over the temple and it could be seen from outside of the walls. At one point, this was the largest structure and was the center of an ancient city for hundreds of years. The huge skyscrapers now towered over the temple, and it looked like a child’s toy in comparison.
During the second week of the trip, we visited some companies in China. China Unicom was the first company we visited. This company was the leading developer of 5G technology. This theology is able to download data 10x faster than 4G. This company had many great ideas for the future of 5G and they were planning on implementing it the city within the next couple years. China Unicom was interesting, but I was more excited to go to the incubators in the afternoon. These incubators were small startup companies that all shared a common building. Some of these companies were funded by Amazon and were working on many various products to help improve daily life. We took a tour of one of the offices where everyone was busy working in a company that focuses on shipping packages much like UPS. The man leading us through the tour was wearing traditional Chinese dress, a shaved head, and looked similar to a monk. He lead us out of the building and to his tea house that he was an investor in. There was just on single long table in the shop that we all gathered around. He sat in the center of the table and invited us all to join him. Behind him was a wall full of tea pots that extended all the way to the ceiling. He began to brew tea the traditional Chinese way and taught us along the way. Through a translator, he explained each precise movement and why it should be done this way. He was very calm and I could tell that he had a true passion for tea. He explained that he had spent a lot of time in the mountains visiting temples and learning the correct way to brew tea. I was sitting across from him and he asked me to brew a second pot of tea. I had just watched him do it, so I tried to mimic his actions. The process was to be done in a very reserved and delicate manner. We then discussed different business ideas and the future expansions of his tea house company. I could tell he was a very wise and knowledgeable man by the way he talked and carried himself. The experience was one of my favorite so far on the trip.