In Zhangye Huachen International Hotel where me and my friend Anya got a room for free, we met Mr. Lee, local photographer with a dark black Chinese beard.. He was attracted by my beard and came to us to ask if he could touch it.. Maybe some others would feel awkward, but not me.. He touched my beard and said he likes it.. Was it another beard connection?.. I believe so.. Was my beard beautiful? I believe so, because Mr. Lee then asked permission to take photos.. He got his old film camera and together with hotel’s manager came to our room.. When the photo session was over, Mr. Lee said that in the morning he will come to take us for a tour.. We wanted to visit a local Buddhist temple and he offered himself to be our guide.. Next day in the morning we went to visit the temple.. How could we know it’s the Giant Buddha Temple, the largest architectural relic in Gansu Province of the Western Xia (1038-1227) period that houses China’s largest reclining Buddha..
We were tired, sleepy, all alone among hundreds of thousands of Chinese living in the city of Zhangye.. Standing in the middle of the square in front of the Giant Buddha Temple me and Anya were thinking of where to spend the night.. How could we know that the temple is not a temple at all, but a museum, which is closed at night.. Our chances to find free accommodation were million to one.. The Buddhist temple was closed.. Priests of the Christian church sent us away, and the internet cafe was too cold to spent the night there.. We were in despair.. I left Anya on the square and went to look for some ways to get in through the gates so that we could put our tent and sleep there.. Wandering around I came across a statue of a monk, sitting in meditation.. I don’t know why but I hugged the statue and said, “Hello old man! I don’t know who you are but…please, help us..” The statue was cold to me.. I mean it was really cold, physically.. I turned back to see where my friend was (she was at same place where I left her) when I noticed a big black car turning off the road and parking right in the middle of the square near Anya..