Day 45

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Where I stayed
Teddy Bear Hotel

Flag of China  ,
Sunday, October 29, 2006

Breakfast was an Egg and Bacon roll, an apple and a drink of water. Our packed lunch was also an Egg and Bacon roll, an apple and a drink of water! Still the hotel gave us all walking sticks and off we went. The mountain range is pretty big so we had to take a local bus for two hours right up to where the best scenery can be found. At that spot (around 2000m high) you get the choice to walk, or you can take a cable car right up to the summit. We had done no hiking at all yet so off we went. The hike was a tough 1000m ascent to the summit, but the weather was really good and it didn't rain at all like we had feared. The views of the rest of the range were amazing and we took regular breaks during the few hours it took to get to the summit. At the summit we met hordes of tourists who'd taken the cable cars, some folk had even taken sedan chair lifts to the top! Mount Emei is one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, so at the top there is a temple and a giant golden monument. We took the cable cars back down in pairs and me and Mark enjoyed shouting "Ni Hao" to the Chinese tourists in the upward-bound direction. I think we got about 30 shouts back which is not a bad return for the 15 minute ride.

We trekked down to another base where Audrey and Arjen left us. Audrey had been struggling with the walking and wanted to get back to the Teddy Bear Hotel. The four of us that we left picked a tough route through the lower regions which would finish at a Buddist Monastery where we intended to stay the night. That trek was against the clock as we didn't want to be on the side of the mountain at nightfall. Although we were conscious of the time, we still took plenty of time at the most beautiful spots - look at the pictures this part was really stunning.

Mount Emei is famous for its wild monkeys, and we caught a glimpse of them in the trees as we neared the monastery. We had been prepared to use our walking sticks to fight them off - I'd heard they can be aggressive to tourists back at the hotel. At the hotel there were many messages and lots of advice from other hikers all written in ink on the walls. One message read "Don't hit the monkeys too hard - we did and that poor creature just died in front of us"!

It was getting dark as we found the monastery so great timing. Just before it was a small restaurant called the "Hard Wok Cafe"! It was a tiny place built from wood and sitting just below the monastery. The couple that run it are great and you can see them cook your order through a large window. Their restaurant is also their dwelling and they have a ladder leading up to their single private room.

The monastery was eerily quiet and we couldn't see any monks or much of the inside, we talked to a guy at a sort of reception desk and he led us to a room just off on of the internal courtyards. Our room was simple but we had four poster beds complete with mosquito nets! We found the loos in the dark and got some well earned shut-eye.
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