One Big Buddha

Trip Start Aug 27, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chengdu, China - We (Lauren and I) arrived into Chengdu at midday after sleeping most of the way from Xi'an. A quick metro stop and we found the stylish and laid back Mix hostel. We signed up for the bike tour, settled in and grabbed a spicy soup lunch.

The bike tour was FREE! Arranged weekly by hostel owner Mix, he loves the city and enjoys the ride to see what is changing in Chengdu. Lauren and I both agreed, China is under construction! Cranes tower above the skyline and construction sites are located frequently around most cities!

The bike tour was fun and a chance to experience the crazy Chinese roads first hand. We cycled over to another hostel Mix owned and found out that we would be cycling for three hours! Oh man, forgot to have dinner! We cycled to a temple, to the backside if the chairman Mao statue, over to the university, along a couple if rivers, next to the football stadium, through the western shopping area and back to the hostel. Frequently one had to avoid pedestrians, cars, motorcycles and one guy on our tour after setting off cycled into a parked car. I felt more safe behind Mix than I did this random guest of the tour.

On the tour was a couple on their honeymoon from Taiwan. I spent the whole tour talking about food and how hungry I was. This couple wanted to go to a local hotpot placw and then so did Lauren. So when the tour finished, I said I didn't fancy hotpot, but she didn't want to be a lemon on a couples honeymoon. I did the dumb thing of joining them but not eating hotpot, even though I was very hungry. I just didn't fancy it, but they found me a bowl of fried rice. The conversation went onto Indie music for a while and it was pretty cool talking to two Taiwanese people about the Stone Roses reforming. My hunger came and went and I went to bed a little hungry but made up for it the next morning.

We were due to head off the next day but Lauren was applying for a Thai visa to study so some problems came up with that. Not an issue, I was happy to rest my butt after more cycling and hiking.

Our plan was to head to Emeishan and climb to the golden summit. It would take two days.

We hung in Chengdu some more, went to a FREE Tibet street called Ji Ling, nice place, little shops and cafes, pretty laid back. We also hung out in a FREE temple and got lost following little kittens and looking at ponds full of Turtles.

We left the cool, less polluted town if Chengdu and headed to Lashan to visit the big Buddha. We took local transport and met a cool Canadian from Calgary called Jeff. He was on holiday for a couple if weeks and for his last two days, booked into a hotel. Talking about his buffet breakfast almost had me in tears, haha!

In Leshan (two hours by bus from Chengdu) one jumps onto bus 13 for a ten pence fair to the entrance. But, we were taken to a more expensive entrance. Another seven pounds to look at gardens. We walked back to the correct entrance but sadly, our driving licenses' were no good to the English speaking ticket lady. Nuts!

There's a small hike to the Big Buddha but when you look upon him, boy, he is big! Originally carved into the rock to help ships navigate the dangerous sand dunes of the river in Lashan. It stands 71 meters tall and no doubt the biggest Buddha I've seen, although the one on Lantern island in HK is pretty big too!

After seeing it, not much else to do except wander back to find a bus for Emeishan. Jeff went back to Chengdu but got his number to meet up with him next time I'm in Calgary to see bean and family.

Next stop, Emeishan and twelve hours if steps!!!
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