We went to see the Confuscious Temple.

It was in a very touristy district, lots of foreigners and when I stepped off the bus I saw a Chinese woman who was wearing what could only be hijab! She was so cute! And I felt incredibly homesick.

And despite all my qualms at being photographed by my paparazzi, I took out my camera and snapped a shot of her. Then I waved.

This is the only Muslim woman in the country, I saw, beside myself wearing hijab.

She was sitting on a bench in the island of the roundabout, looking kind of tired. I smiled and waved but I did not go over. The traffic was busy, and every time you cross a street in China,  you take your life in your hands. Besides, what could I have said to her that she’d have understood? Plus I had to keep up with the group so I just left it at the enthusiastic wave. We were sisters in faith. The cloth on our heads showed it.

To our left we saw some old Chinese Muslim men, with scraggly beards hanging off their chins, wearing kufis, and they were greeting each other in the traditional Muslim greeting, where the man shakes hands with his right and clasps his left on the other person’s arm. It’s a very friendly gesture! But I didn’t feel right taking their picture.

We had to rush because the group was crossing in to the Confuscious temple area.



Walking into the area beneath the big ‘gate’ entrance, you know the kind you see announcing the beginning of a Chinatown or something, we walked down the crowded street, past shopkeepers many of whom kept throwing this rubbery pig-like toy, smashing it on a flat surface so it became an amoeba-shaped mass of jelly, then picking it up to see it reformed in its pig shape. If it hadn’t been in the shape of a pig, I might very well have bought it for the grandkiddies.

But how these people do love pigs!

Pork and ham and bacon and lard. 70% of their food contains it!

We’ve been so fortunate. The people we’re travelling with have been so good at warning us what not to eat!

Anyway, got into the inner courtyard of the area and saw the Confuscious Temple.

Basically every city in China has a Confuscious temple.  Nanjing being a city for scholars was particularly loyal to him. Our tour guide wasn’t that enthusiastic about this one. He said it wasn’t ‘original’. And it wasn’t even that significant because Confuscious was born elsewhere. Basically it had been rebuilt and was like the Yu Garden temple we’d already seen.

It cost 30 yuan to enter the temple so we passed. Instead we wandered around the complex area.

Opposite the temple was a dragon wall. I mean a red wall with two brilliant gold dragons embossed on it and to the right was a small bridge.


And here’s the bridge.


Apparently this side of the bridge housed the scholars and on the other side lived the prostitutes.

For convenience I guess.

Apparently the saying went that if you were a gentleman you stayed on THIS side of the bridge!

The bridge was also famous for the death of a famous Chinese poet.

One night he’d been so drunk he’d seen the moon reflected in the water and thought it needed saving or something. He jumped in and drowned.

We had some free time so we wandered down the other way, past the McDonalds and KFC that seemed sacrilegious within the context and down a tree-lined road to our left where we found a man selling shoulder bags.

While we were haggling with him over the price–I must say I’ve gotten quite good at that! This dumpy lady was sitting in a lawn chair watching us.

Next I looked over at her and she had stood up, still watching us, while picking her nose, thoughtfully.

Then she came over, hand held out begging, saying “Sheh sheh” Which means ‘thank you’ even though I hadn’t given her anything.

She followed us a while till she eventually realized I wasn’t giving her anything.

I felt relieved when we lost her.

And it’s one of the few times I haven’t felt guilty not giving something to a beggar.

Making sure my new shoulder bag was in front, safe from pickpockets, we left.

Driving, on the way out, we did see a flash of a masjid.

I saw the kalima, Muslim creed in Arabic on the front wall, “La ilaha illalah Muhammadur Rasullallah” written clear as day. Which means There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger.

No doubt about it.

And it made me incredibly happy!