Monday, 28 September 2009

Confucius in the wee hour

The alarm clock rang at four in the morning. I was supposed to call Eric when I’d grab the taxi so he could tell the driver where the temple was.
But he didn’t pick up the phone. Certainly over-sleeping he was. The thought of going back home to sleep passed my mind but I discarded it. I was up now; I would find a way to go there.
I asked the driver whether he could speak English. He couldn’t. Then I tried to say the name Confucius in various manners so he could perhaps eventually understand what I wanted…
I mimed a praying person, the ceremony, the temple, the drums… It was four thirty in the morning, the only time of the day when the streets are really empty save for the Seven Eleven and I was standing in there miming words to a driver who was scratching his head to understand what I meant.
‘Ahhh! Kong Fu Zu!!!!’ I jumped into the taxi and was at the temple a couple of minutes later. I actually could have walked there! It was so close.
In spite of the early hour, the place was packed. People yawning, but patiently waiting in line, eating some snack or drinking coffee to wake themselves up. I was surprised to see so many young people. It felt more like waiting for a pop event than a religious ceremony.
The ceremony itself was naturally a rather solemn affair. We were all craning to catch a glimpse of what was going on. Luckily it was still early so the air was fresh. We would have all died, had it been afternoon.
I had no clue what was going on, but I was glad to be there. 

As I rightfully guessed, Eric didn't wake up. He met me much later, for breakfast.

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