Friday, September 2, 2011

Forbidden Gardens

So, this isn't a food thing, but I think it still counts as a "vegan thing" since most of my discoveries come from my travels and this is one of my favorites! One of the coolest things about traveling is when you have a free hour or two to see something local and one of the coolest "something locals" we've seen was outside of Houston at Forbidden Gardens in Katy, Texas.

I didn't know until just now when I went to look up some details about Forbidden Gardens that it is now gone, which is a tragedy. The story, as I remember it, was that Forbidden Gardens was built by a Chinese American man who wanted to encourage a love of his Chinese culture in his children. His gardens included many buildings and models constructed in the traditional way (which were, unfortunately, not capable of withstanding the Texas sun). There was a scale model of the Forbidden City and, the most impressive, a 1/3 scale model of the tomb of the first Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, guarded by 6,000 terra cotta statues of warriors.

By the time we visited last year, Forbidden Gardens had fallen into serious disrepair and was all but deserted as we walked the grounds. The neglect made it seem even more surreal, as we saw the terra cotta warriors beaten and broken, but still standing guard under the magnificently blue Texas sky. It is not surprising, based on that visit, that the museum was not sustainable and is now closed, but it is sad to think that we'll never look on this amazing sight again. Now to see if I can pick up a piece of history for of my own.

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