Could You Say ‘No’ to This Man?

Near the top of the chair lift leading some 500 meters up the slope of Dahei from Dali sits a small temple. After making it through some harrowing bus rides unharmed we had the intention of making a small donation thanking the spirits for their kindness. Curiously we peek into the temple and observe the two monks blessing a Chinese woman. We are invited in with friendly gestures and asked to kneel in front of the gilded Buddha statue and receive a blessing. We are lead off to separate guest books, suspicions rise as we see the entries: Pierre, France – 200 Yuan, Peter, Holland – 100 Yuan, etc. 100 Yuan, that is 20 noodle soups or ten days of lunch for us. Needless to say, Cranky parts with a big red Mao of 100 Yuan but he is able to skip the additional 100 Yuan fee for the little fake Jade Buddha and additional spiritual guidance with polite but sturdy ‘Bu Yaos’. Katja is much tougher and gets away with 50 Yuan on her end of the room. Her monk yells across to Cranky’s monk in disbelieve: ’50 Yuan do you know?’

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