Beware this Taoist temple. A part of it was undergoing renovations when we visited a few days ago (23rd dec 2013) but it was still open. When we entered, a man immediately handed my father and I joss sticks to pray. After praying, he gestured toward the donation box and my dad put 10yuan in. The same guy then pointed at the boxes flanking the donation box with red envelopes/ hong bao containing ''fu", asking us to take one each. As a Buddhist, I thought the "fu" referred to the triangle-shaped folded paper amulet, so we took it thinking that was it. But he then pulled my father and I to opposite sides of the prayer hall to separate fortune tellers. The fortune teller then took out the "fu" from my red envelope and it turned out to be a piece of paper with Chinese words written on it, he then gave me the interpretation of the words on the "fu", telling me general things like my horoscope was that of the monkey, thus I should avoid or beware of people with tiger horoscopes (this bit of info can be found in any horoscope book -.-), wear the colours black/ white and avoid wearing red clothes on special occations. He also asked me if I was lacking sleep and that this year my health has not been too good, which happened to be on the spot for me (I have huge obvious eyebags though.. and i've been having chronic tension headaches this year) however, these are both really generic questions. He also said things obviously pleasing like you are a person blessed and guided by the Buddha.. At the end of his "fortune telling", he pulled out a book asking me to write my name down. I immediately saw a list of names in that book with monetary amounts written next to their name and to my surprise, not a single amount was less than 100yuan. I guess I was feeling kind of pressurized then, as he asked me to donate for myself, thus I wrote 50yuan next to my name. He then asked me to write two chinese characters next to the 50 yuan and next to the two characters, he asked me to donate a certain amount so that my family would be blessed. Exasperated, I told him my father was there at the other end of the room donating as well and he said he knew but this was for the rest of my family. So I wrote another 20yuan next to that. My father also ended up donating (more like being pressurized to donate) a total of 200 yuan. In fact, he did not realize that I had been pulled to the other side of the hall to get my fortune read as the guy had pulled my father aside to his fortune teller first before leading me to mine, thus while my father was having his fortune read, he thought that I was next in line and was prepared to stop them from scamming me as well. Ohwells, I know it's stupid for us for getting caught up in such an obvious scam but these are professional scammers. However, as this is one of the "legitimate" attractions that the ticket we bought at zhujiajiao gained entry for, such a blatant scam should not even occur. My advice is, while in zhujiajiao, if you buy the ticket which includes access to this chenghuangmiao temple, do not accept the joss sticks if offered.
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