Saturday 5th December was meant to be a big day. My first organised trip taking the InternChina interns out to do some fierce Dragon boat racing on Doumen lake. I had it all planned down to a tee.Meet at 11.30am at the bus stop; 12.30pm arrive at Doumen Lake; allocate exactly one hour for lunch; then get on the lake and play some team games.
There were whisperings of potential rain over the weekend but I ignored them. Being from England, it rains ALL THE TIME and a little bit of rain never hurt anybody. However it did have the potential to cancel our Dragon Boat Racing plans…
Half way through the journey, we received a call from the company saying that Dragon Boat Racing had been cancelled because there was torrential rain and it was too dangerous to go out on the lake. This was so unfair. In an effort to make the best of a soggy situation and still have our day out, we made a detour to the Jintai Buddhist Temple which was close by.
Located at the highest peak of Huangyang Mountain in Zhuhai, over looking Yamen seaport, this was everything you imagined a Buddhist temple to be. Surrounded by tranquil waters and picturesque scenery, all that missing was a Chinese Erhu playing in the background to our exploration.
Under reconstruction after being destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, Jintai Temple was slowly being restored to it’s former glory. Brightly coloured with intricately painted designs and spiritual figures, it was growing into a memorable piece of work.
For me, however, Jintai’s highlight was it’s unassuming restaurant located near the entrance. We wondered in, damp and hungry to be greeted by an old man with a beaming smile.
We asked him if there was a menu, he said “No”.
We asked him how much the food was he said “Any price that you want to pay”.
To say that we were confused, was an understatement. After 5 minutes of translation between us we realised that this was exactly how this restaurant operated.
There was no menu, only a vegetarian buffet available and we did only need to pay what we thought the meal was worth.
The food was homely and comforting and the staff were so friendly and helpful, despite our cluelessness. When it came to paying the bill, not being told how much to pay definitely made me more generous than I would be otherwise. This is a very good business idea.
While my initial plans for Dragon Boat Racing may have been swept away to sea, our trip to Jintai Temple was certainly a successful alternative.
Until next time for another InternChina Zhuhai adventure….. apply here to join us!