Trip Start Apr 09, 2012
15Trip End May 30, 2012
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We called it an early night, travel days take a lot out of us and we knew the next day was going to be a big day for us.
We woke up early, wary of the threatening weather, we decided to put off going up Mt. Emei and head back to Leshan to see the big Buddha.
What can we say about the big Buddha. It's inside of this huge, beautiful park with many temples along the way. The big Buddha is carved into a red-rocked cliff facing the city with a river between the two. It lives up to its name, it's not just big; it's magnanimous.Again, words can do no justice, the pictures will help you understand.
The best comparison I can make is seeing the big Buddha to those practicing Buddhism is similar to taking the pilgramage to visit Fatima in Portugal to the Catholics.
After seeing the big Buddha, we took an unwanted detour and were lost in the park. The people working there either didn't understand or didn't care to help because we weren't buying anything from them. It was frustrating- but allowed us to take some pretty amazing pictures along the way. Carpe diem- ya know.
We headed back to the Teddy Bear so we could try to get to the top of Mt. Emei before it was too dark. Due to the weather and time constraints we were unable to do the 8km hike we had intended. Back on a bus we go. We took a death defying 2 hour busride up part of the mountain. We hiked for 30 minutes with monkies surrounding us with one stealing another hikers bag. In the monkeys' defense, the hikers didn't put up a fight and pretty much handed it over- what a sissy. Then we took a 10 minute cable car ride to our hotel at the top of the mountain
We walk into the hotel, the people checking us in were wearing huge winter jackets sitting on top of heaters- not a good sign. We are cold and wet and beginning to rethink this whole thing especially since we are there primarily for the sunrise. Which we thought realistically we only had a 1 out of 5 chance to see it.
After speaking with a tour guide we come to find out our chance is much less then that. It's only happens about 30 days out of the year. Which now puts us at a 1/12 chance of seeing it. Disheartened doesn't begin to describe how we are feeling.
We hesitantly follow the gentleman to our room, as he opens the door a refreshing blast of hot air it's us. Yay heat- it made a world of difference in our mood.
We get a quick (gross) bite of food in a restaurant with no heat. No exaggeration, the temperature was no higher then 38•f. After dinner, we got a show as well and saw an old man squatting barely off the sidewalk pooing in the cold weather. Giggling, we scurry back into our room for warmth to relax, readying ourselves for our early wake up call, all fingers and toes crossed that we get to see this sunrise.
The next morning we wake up at 6 for the 6:24 sunrise. It is FREEZING, at this point it was probably only in the high teens- burrrr.
When we walk outside we just see clouds, as we walk up toward the golden temple the clouds are transitioning into a light blue
And then it happens, a pinkish, reddish dot begins to rise and we are again awestruck by this ethereal opportunity. We spend the next 15 minutes freezing our tushes off, taking picture after picture. Still in disbelief that despite the odds, we were one of the lucky people.
We wander around the mountain for a little while but selfishly; we got what we wanted. ;)
We take the cable car and the scary bus-ride back to Teddy Bear to pick up our packs and try to make it make to Chengdu hoping we have enough time to make it to the Panda Reserve.
We make it in time to see the chubby pandas. The baby is messing with his mama, trying to play. But most of them are sleeping. One panda, followed suit of his fellow countryman and just pushed his tush back slightly out of the tree and dropped a couple poops. The red panda's were super cute. They looked like a cross between a raccoon and a fox.
We get to the airport and catch the red eye into Bangkok. We are elated with all we were able to accomplish in China but at the same time kinda happy to get the hell out. We always felt like we had to be on the defense with our guards up and were always trying to get hustled. All in all, the sites are amazing, dealing with the people (gross generalization, I know) not so much.
Overall, still amazing to experience a completely different culture. We would like to return, maybe with some kids ;).