Knowing that I needed to get caught up with work in the afternoon, I started the day early so I could visit the Temple of the Jade Buddha. It turned out to be more of an adventure than I had thought it was going to be.
I have been skydiving, bungee jumping, diving with sharks, race car driving, held up at knife-point twice, and had a multitude of other dangerous encounters throughout my life. But all of those pale in comparison to taking a taxi through the streets of Shanghai. Especially when you get a driver with a death-wish. Taxi drivers aren't supposed to smoke, play the radio, use their mobile phone, or spit... mine did everything but smoke and, given the ride I had, I kind of wish that I was the one with a cigarette. It was especially disturbing considering that he didn't know where the temple was (despite being a famous landmark) and had a map in his face a good portion of the time.
So there I was, bouncing around in the back seat with LOVE RADIO blasting so loud that my eardrums were bleeding, all while we were tearing through the city at a reckless pace... laying on the horn the entire way and watching the map instead of the road. There were moments where I was thinking to myself "so this is how I'm going to die is it?" And then watch helplessly as the taxi skidded around a corner, narrowly missing a mass of bicycles and pedestrians.
By the time we got to the temple, I was ready to shave my head and become a monk so that I wouldn't have to go through that again.
But the temple itself is pretty sweet, and well worth the dangerous journey to get there. You are not allowed to take pictures of the actual Jade Buddha (which is exquisitely beautiful), but there are plenty of other sites to photograph...
I particularly like the little lion guardians that are everywhere around the temple. Many of them had red "wish ribbons" tied around them, which made for a cool photo subject...
On the way out, I pass through the gift shop so I can get me a wooden "Happy Buddha" statue to take back with me. Given my luck with taxis, I can use all the luck I can get.