The Alternate Route to Chendgu
Trip Start Dec 05, 2010
34Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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We could have stayed a bit longer but we wanted to get somewhere with an ATM so we took a bus to Xicheng in Sichuan province
Xicheng doesn't get a lot of tourists so we were a bit more of a novelty. We went for a hot pot (kind of like a spicy fondue) which took a while to order as the only English speaking waitress couldn't stop giggling. As it is both hot in temperature and spice the rest of the men in the restaurant didn't have their shirts on. Pat wanted to join the no-shirts party, but I wouldn't let him as we were already enough of a spectacle and drawing a crowd in the window outside the restaurant!
Chengdu was the next stop and we couldn't believe how modern it was. We even managed to find a Dairy Queen so Pat could have a blizzard for his birthday! After some difficulties again in getting a train ticket (which resulted in lunch at KFC as we were mad at China), we went to the spiritual mountain of Emei Shan a few hours outside of Chengdu.
Emei Shan is a very steep mountain covered in at least a dozen monasteries all linked by kilometers of stone stairs. We really underestimated how many stairs it would be! The Chinese are quite lazy when it comes to physical activity so they had put in cable cars to the major monasteries and even had porters that could carry you on a stretcher the rest of the way. It made some of the spots impossible to walk in, but the path in between was very quiet and enjoyable.
Other than monks, the main inhabitants of the mountains are monkeys. They line the trails waiting for unsuspecting tourists with food and jump on them to steal the food. They even ran into the monastery that we were staying at to try to steal food until one of the monks chased them away with a slingshot.
On the second day we made it to the 'golden summit' which is supposed to offer a fantastic view over the clouds, but the fog was so thick that we could barely even see the giant gold statue at the top let alone any view. Next time I guess?