Photo of the Day: Laughing Buddha statue in Dalian, China

Photo of the day

Today’s Photo of the Day is of this lovely happy Buddha. Although, I’ve done some research and discovered that this figure is not actually Buddha, but a 10th century Chinese monk named Hotei. Apparently he carried around a sack of candy (it shows) to share with young children.

Just looking at the photo of this statue lightens my mood. I also really like that the photographer, Flickr user Bernard-SD, captioned it “A Work in Progress.” The statue may not be finished, but I like the idea that our lives are also a constant work in progress – which seems kind of Buddhist, or at least a little spiritual, right?

Have any photos of your travels that might solicit spiritual musing, or at least just make us smile Upload them to Gadling’s Flickr pool and we just might choose one for our Photo of the Day feature.

Is Shenyang, China worth a visit?

I recently spent a day in Shenyang, a huge metropolis in northwestern China above Beijing. It has been far overshadowed by superstars like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and even upstarts like Chengdu.

When it comes to Shenyang, I think there’s good reason why you haven’t heard of it. For a city of this size, there’s not a proportionally impressive amount of cultural and sightseeing outlets. Of course, that’s not to say forget about Shenyang.

If you’re on your way to the northern playground of Harbin, for instance, it might be nice to drop by Shenyang. Same if you’re off to the beach resort of Dalian. Here’s why: there’s the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is in the same style as the Forbidden City in Beijing, and has much less foot-traffic (definitely worth a visit); a 2,000 year old pagoda right outside of town (look in Lonely Planet), and the “Strange Slope,” a bump of a hill on which gravity takes you uphills if you’re driving a car.

Of course, there’s also the ridiculous giganto monument of Mao in the center of the city that’s worth a look. Neil has the gallery below as well as a post about Mao in Shenyang.