Shenyang reception, tombs, watercaves, jade Buddha
After finally getting our China visa approved, we headed over to Viv's parents home in Shenyang. Her parents were preparing a wedding reception for us there. Since her mom, aunt, and a couple of family friends were the only ones that attended the ceremony in Greece, we needed to hold a reception for the rest of her family and friends.
Viv's dad invited 500 people! From relatives, to old school mates, to coworkers, it was a large reception to say the least.
The reception went by really fast and clocked in just under two hours. Its different than the Cantonese style receptions we're use to going. We were introduced to the stage and the emcee pretty much did most of the talking. We just stood there and looked pretty for the crowd, barring a few words here and there 🙂 They put up a slide show of us afterwards and heard a couple of speeches. Then dinner begins. All the dishes come out at once, whereas in the Cantonese reception, plates would come out one by one.
While dinner commenced, we'd follow Viv's parents to every table to greet and cheers everyone. We didn't have to drink as her parents did all of it. I had the responsibility of lighting up cigarettes to his dad's friends. Apparently that's a tradition for the groom to do for the guests. Also, this is where the red envelope collection is done as well lol
People literally eat and leave right after (not before we greet them of course) so it feels like everybody is doing the dine and dash! But that's the way they do it here which is fine by us! 🙂
We can now relax again and get back to some traveling. There's not too much to see in Shenyang but the most popular is probably the Zhaoling tomb located in Beijing Park in the center of the city. The mausoleum houses the tomb of Huang Taiji, who was the first emperor of the Qing dynasty, as well as his empress. Admission was rather expensive as with most tourist attractions. 70RMB for a ticket into the park plus tomb.
About an hours drive from Shenyang, the Benxi watercave has the largest karst cave with an underground river that can be visited by boat (almost 3km long). It's a fairly large cave and was highlighted quite well with the multi-colored lights. The cave was pretty cold so in the beginning they give you a long coat to wear. The boat ride lasted about 45min. It was difficult to take crystal clear photos as the boat was constantly moving and lighting was dim.
Entering the underworld of Skittles!
Entering an area with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. Some were so low we had to duck when the boat went through.
Largest opening of the cave
These look like snowy mountains
Image is a bit blurry. Doesn't it look like an elephant?
Almost back to the beginning
Jade Buddha Temple
The next day, Viv's parents took us to Anshan to see the largest Jade Buddha in the world. It weighs a staggering 260 tonnes! It was a two hour drive from Shenyang to get there so not a short ride.
Inside this first temple is a 'smaller' jade laughing Buddha, the 4 heavenly kings, and erlang shen
Hey there happy Buddha!
The 4 heavenly kings
I think this is erlang shen but not completely sure since I don't see the third eye here?
Drank too much last night…I'm gonna hurl…
Wow, this jade Buddha statue is amazing when you see it with your own eyes! On the front side is carved with the Buddha and the back with the god of mercy, Guanyin. What's even more impressive is when the carvers were sculpting the face, coincidentally they managed to do it on a location where there was just one colour of the multi-coloured jade. Was this meant to be?