E'mei Shan


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November 23rd 2010
Published: November 23rd 2010
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This weekend, on Saturday at 9:30 in the morning, our usual PLU mishmash group got on a bus to Leshan and E'mei Shan.

First we visited the Leshan Buddha. It was a lot more crowded and touristy than I remembered. After we took pictures of Buddha's head, we had to wait in line for a long time. The whole while I kept hearing "laowai, laowai, waiguoren..." and cameras snapping. (foreigner, foreigner)

We pushed and shoved our way to the railing to take pictures all the way down. Then, when we got to the bottom, we had to climb back up. But we didn't have to wait in line for that. And it wasn't as tall as I remembered either.

We walked around the temple at the top, recently remodeled. The next day they were choosing a new temple leader, so it was really busy. They were passing out big bags of stuff to all the people attending the conference the next morning. There were monks and comrades with comb overs all over the place. We took a group picture with a monk with sunglasses and his friend who stroked Ryan's beard. Chanting played throughout the temple.

We drove another hour to the hotel. It was a resort-type place with hot springs. We ate dinner at the hotel, then Clare, Maria, and I went to the spa to get pedicures. No luck with pedicures. I didn't know the word, so I had to ask for the massage place and then point to my feet. We ended up getting "foot repairs." Foot baths, and then they scraped all the dead skin and calluses off with scary metal tools. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the girls in our group came in and got a variety of different procedures. Then we had some makeshift massages: face, back, shoulders. Not completely sure how I felt about that. Some of it was painful.

The next morning we had wake up calls at 3:30 in the morning so that we could meet at the lobby at 4, wait 15 minutes for Robert to show up, then hike up a dark path to a monastery nearby. Our guide knocked on a door for fifteen minutes straight until someone answered and told us we had the wrong building. Then we tried a few other places, found out that we weren't supposed to be there until 5, and sat at some long tables and benches for a long time. A few people passed with toothbrushes and paste on their way to the bathroom.

At 5:05, some bells started clanging and a light turned on. We all crowded around to watch a couple of monks chant and light candles. Soon, more monks and nuns filed in, along with a few Chinese tourists. They knelt and prayed, and we watched. And they chanted, and we watched. And they snaked around the prayer cushions, and we watched, for more than an hour. It was cold, and I was tired, and it felt terrible. I felt intrusive and voyeuristic, and I didn't understand why we were there.

At 6:45 we went back to the hotel and had breakfast. Then we took a 2 hour shuttle up E'mei Shan. We got off and walked up a lot of stairs. Then we took a cable car to the very top, which had snow. Beautiful!!! And cold. There were locks all over the railings. When a person locks a lock on the railing, they make a wish. Most of the locks do not have keys.

At the summit, there was a giant golden buddha with many heads, sitting on elephants. There was also a golden temple, and other marble statues. The same chanting was playing on speakers. We met the same punk monk we had the day before, with the sunglasses. And his friend stroked Jeff's beard this time.

After E'mei Shan, we ate lunch on the mountain. It was not very good. Every meal we had throughout the weekend had a whole fish as one of the dishes.

We took another shuttle back down the mountain, which made me feel a bit sick. Then we changed to our other bus and had another three hour ride back to Chengdu.

Luckily, the guide, a student from the international students office, had a good taste in music. He hooked up his i-pod to the speakers and we were all happy.

We dropped Adam off next to a tire store, and then we stopped for dinner on the way back. The guide promised to order anything we wanted because lunch had been so bad. So we ordered up some kungpao chicken and sweet and sour pork.

We finally got back to the dorm, and I was so happy to be back. We have been traveling too much!


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no pets allowed

someone didn't get the memo


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