Our last day in Chengdu and up early to bus out to the Giant Buddha near the town of Leshan. The 2 hour bus trip there allows us to see some of the Sichuan countryside and it really is quite beautiful with tea plantations and green rice fields and terraces aplenty. The giant buddah or Dafo, as he is known locally, is the largest buddah in the world at 71 meters high. He is carved into a cliff face overlooking the confluence of two rivers and was the brianchild of a Buddhist monk in 713AD in an effort to calm the rivers and protect fishermen from the dangerous currents.
The kids are really excited about seeing the Buddah 'with toenails bigger than Dad'
as are we and he doesn't disappoint. We are dropped at the East side of the Grand Buddha Scenic Area and to get to the Giant Buddha need to walk past many others including the Buddha with a Thousand Arms as we go up and up with few other people - now already we know this is rare in China and enjoy the peace. We know we are near Dafo as we hear the voices of many
and then catch a glimpse of the curls on top of his head. There is a small crowd already gathered and this quickly grows as tourists emerge through the other gate however by the look of the barricades at the entrance - think sheep or cattle yards - this is a quiet day!
Dafo really is magnificent and after a look around at the gardens, temples and a cave where a monk lived during the building of the buddah we take the plunge and head down the steps. Now these are steep and narrow and so one would think that it would be impossible not to 'queue' well one would be wrong as still people try to push past each other in an endeavour to get there quicker? The walk down is spectacular as the massive proportions of Dafo become obvious from different perspectives and from the bottom looking up the view is worth the effort.
We leave the park with Ged saying that he thinks the Buddha is one of the best things he has seen. Lunch is a huge steam basket of dumplings where we see the women making them. The filling is 'unknown' and after
And this is a quiet day
Photographers on hand with assistants to position tourists for that 'just right' photo. Nice
a moments hesitation we decide who knows what goes into a dim sim back home so let's go? They are delicious and we all devour them - the kids are really having a go at different food and loving using chopsticks, their attempts bringing smiles from the Chinese and normally a rush to get a spoon!
Our bus trip back is not as pleasant as the one out as we make the mistake of not specifying which bus station in Chengdu we want to go to. As a result after a rough trip on a dirty bus sitting on broken seats andwith the kids asleep on our laps we are dropped at a big bus station in an unknown location. We switch to a local bus with a driver who shouts and yells at each and everyone one of us as we get on and blasts her horn and abuses the other drivers with a ferocity that she maintains the whole trip - we wonder if she has a beer and chills out when she gets home. The next half hour is one of great interest as more and more people get on this bus, we think it is
On the way down
Big toes 8.5 metres long. See the people below
full but oh no it keeps stopping at bus stops and on get more people and then more and then more and we decide that there is obviously no such thing as a full Chinese bus as when it is full there is still room for more! The final thing for me is a prerecorded announcment that come over in English - the only English we have heard all day - 'In the interests of the safety and comfort of all passengers please refrain from carrying or using weapons while on the bus'
. Mmm safety, comfort, let alone the logistics of being able to move your arm to get your weapon - time to get off this bus!
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