As I headed down the highway to Katy Texas, I made a right and traveled a ways through some dry, very flat land. I turned left and enetered the drive of a museum that was off the beaten path.
And I entered the Forbidden Gardens. I had been somewhat intriqued by the idea of a replica of Bejing in Texas! So since I was already in a new land, I traveled some more and into a faux Bejing ...in scale.
I was early, not long after the opening for the day. As I started across the bridge above, I noticed movement off the side and in the water. Turtles. Not that that is unique, but I noticed an awful lot of them. Swimming, not sunning, and swimming towards me. I stopped to watch, thinking I was wrong, but I was not. Those turtles swam up below me and looked right at me! THAT, is a first.
I crossed on over and entered the empty courtyard. The odor of age, mold, mildew greeted me first. I followed the sign to the gift shop to pay my fee. I had not really paid attention to that on the site where this hidden gem was mentioned, so the $10 fee seemed a little high, based on what I had encoutered so far. There by the register was a bowl of bags that looked like cat food. It was labeled "feed the fish $1." That tickled me - no wonder the turtles greeted the guest - they have been stealing the fish food apparently and want more! I paid and was given a brochure and started my self guided tour.
Strange small museums are not really unusual to me. There is a small art museum in our town and the other one has a train with many arrowheads displayed. It is not something we visit because every small town around this area seems to have a train on display and arrowheads come a dime a dozen in our neck of the woods. I have taken my kids to the telephone misery museum. Ok, misery by them, hilarious to me! No pictures from there, not allowed - might steal the technology. There is a cotton museum somewhere nearby - it is still on the list to hit up, too.
But this museum made we wish I had my kids with me! I would have laughed at them and they would have risked their eyes getting stuck looking upward from all the eye rolls! But the origins of this site were sincere and I am sure in 1989, when it was established, it was fresh and bright and festive.
As I entered the replica of the Tomb of Qin I was greeted by horses and a carriage.
And behind them all the kings horses and all the kings men
All these statues were impressive. I read some about Emporor Qin. He gained the throne as a child, not beginning his rule until 21. At that time China had many languages, many currencies, many individual countries. Under his rule, they all came together as one country, one language and one currency. He was so successful, he wanted all to have the same thoughts as him too. After some time, his ego took him straight to that point - if you thought different than him, you lost your life, if you spoke against him, you lost your life. He also was eager to find a way to live forever, so as his servants looked for potions to help him keep his youth, he commissioned a group to begin making statues of all his men and horse to be placed in his tomb to protect him in his after life.
All these statues were created to show Texans and all that visit what was created so long ago.
As I looked around, having read about his need for power and to be right, I saw something different about the statues. Maybe they did not just represent the wear and tear from the Texas weather heaped upon them. Maybe ....
Some got tired and their friends let them lean on them ...
Some stepped where the Emporer did not wish for them to step...
And some must have spoken their own mind...
...different from the emporer
I left the tomb and walked past a small patch of bamboo, with Texas blue skies and pine trees dominating the sky, and headed to a large covered area.
I always like to find at least one place off the beaten path when traveling, and I am glad I did not skip this. While in many spots it reminded me of toy houses that had been loved and played hard with and left to fend for itself, I could see the desire of someone to keep a part of their heritage available. A spot that should be visited by more so their roots are not lost and forgotten...
Thanks for letting me take you through this journey.
What off the beaten path unique sites are in your area?