A Dream of Red Mansions is a famous, classic novel written by a Chinese author in the 18th Century. You may know it as Dream of Red Chambers as it is sometimes translated. Me? I’ve never heard of it, but I was excited to visit the garden this weekend that was modeled after this apparently famous novel turned into movies and recently into a TV series here in China.
Greg and I visited Grand View Gardens on Saturday. Kenny picked us up and drove us west of Shanghai to the Qingpu district to see the Gardens. It is beautifully located on the banks of Dianshan Lake. We spent a couple hours walking the park, viewing the many pavilions, crossing the bridges and exploring the different paths throughout. We happened upon a small temple hidden inside a group of pavilions and we’re invited in by a man handing out incense at the front gate. He helped us light the incense and then led us in to a statue with a kneeler placed in front. As he motioned for us to kneel, I was tempted to share “Hey, I’m Catholic. I’m familiar with the kneeler” but I locked up my thoughts, knelt in front of an alter and bowed my head a couple times and placed the incense in the big, iron burner.
When we got up, we were offered a small red envelope from a large glass container. It reminded me of the barrel you would chose your BINGO or lottery numbers from. We reached in and selected an envelop. Next, we were escorted over to a small table where a holy man was sitting. I say holy man because I know he wasn’t a priest and I’m not sure he was a monk, but he had a holiness about him. I sat down in front of him. He had me put my hands together in a prayer like position. He placed his hands over mine and muttered some words. He picked up the envelop and held it over my head. He opened the envelop, read it and gave me a thumbs up sign. Greg’s turn. He did the same thing with Greg who also got a big thumbs up.
As we were walking out with our red envelopes in hand, another man from the temple came up and acted out that he wanted to see my hand. I turned my hand over and he viewed my palm. He smiled a big smile, and gave me a thumbs up. When he looked at Greg’s, his eyebrows crossed a bit and with no smile and no thumbs up, he walked away. That’s when we both dismissed the whole thing as a hoax and continued on our walk.
We met up with Kenny outside the gates and showed him our 2 cards. He read mine and said it read that I will be surrounded by money and wealth and will always have good luck. I was back in. No hoax for me. He read Greg’s and said he was also very lucky. He was much like a King, protected by the 8th Dragon. We agreed that the palm reader was just intimidated by Greg’s sense of royalty.
Hope you enjoy the photos we took while walking the paths of the Grand View Gardens.