We started out our day with only one goal: to wander. It’s not as easy as you might think. We walked out the door of the Yongdingmen Hotel and set our sights on a tall stupa that we could see in the distance. We had no predetermined path to get there and since we didn’t know what was at the stupa or what the stupa was called, we figured we’d get lost along the way and there was a very good chance we’d never make it there. And that was okay.
The stupa was located at Tianning Temple and when we arrived, there were people inside chanting. On the way to the temple, we met a Japanese woman in a park who talked with us using gestures and a few English and Chinese words that we knew. She’d been displaced by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Tokyo that had happened around the same time as our visit in 2011. We spent several hours with her and her daughter in the park. Her daughter taught Lydian how to use some of the new “toys” we’d gotten at Yongdingmen Square. After that, we stopped into a music store and bought a Pipa for about $30 USD. And then, we arrived just in time to hear the chanting at the temple. Wandering definitely worked out for us that day.