Sichuan-Style and Big Buddhas

Trip Start Feb 24, 2006
Trip End Dec 31, 2007

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

After a day from hell of traveling - late and delayed train which caused me to miss my flight and sit in the Shanghai airport for 6 hours - I finally got into Chengdu.  I did get to ride the worlds fastest train, the Shanghai Maglev which tops out at 432 km/hr!  Enon and I eventually hooked up at the hostel after a bit of searching around.  The next day we toured the city, walking around getting travel info and stopping off at the People's Park.  The Park is really nice and has many great teahouses where people sit around playing cards and mah-jong all day.  We witnesses a nice Chinese jam session and went to some underground cave to this snake show - it was crazy with these girl wearing leopard skin dresses kissing snakes and dancing with snakes and actually one girl put the snake up her nose and pulled it out through her mouth (the cave lighting didn't allow very good photos)!  Definitely one of those "must see in person to understand" situations!  After the park and some tea we continued walking down some traditional architecture street and then an antique market.  A pretty good day and we made travel plans for the rest of our time in Chengdu and getting to Tibet.

The following day we headed out of town to Leshan, about two hours south of Chengdu, which holds the river and cliffside Giant Buddha, the world's largest seated Buddha.  The Buddha is 71 meters tall (like 225 feet)!  We hiked up to the top of the pavilion and then down the cliffside to the base of the GB.  Unfortunately, the pictures don't really do it justice, as neither can my description.  So, we hiked around some more and back to the top and eventually made our way back to Chengdu - after having our bus break down and our bus co-pilot attack some guy with a 2X4 for not servicing our bus promptly!  We ended the day by walking around town and having dinner near the Wenshan Temple before heading to the hostel to catch some sleep before going to the Giant Panda Research Habitation tomorrow! 
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