Emei Shan

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November 22nd 2010
Published: November 27th 2010
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I travelled from Chendu to Emei Shan in the south on the morning of Nov 22. I thought I had bought a bus ticket to Baogou, the town at the base of the mountain and where my hotel was. Instead, the ticket office had sold me a ticket to Emei town, about 6.5km away. I got off the bus quite confused about where I was and how to get to my hotel. I was immediately surrounded by women try to sell me a taxi bus ticket to Baogou. They started at 30RMB, but because I stalled, saying I need to check my guide, the price kept dropping. I would rather they had left me alone but they kept circling and trying to talk to me. When the price was 10RMB and I had figured out where I was and that I need to get a ride to Baogou, I agreed to their price. But once I was in the taxi, I asked another Chinese passenger what he had paid, he said 5RMB. I complained about foreignor tax, but he said I was pretty good at bargaining because I only paid double!

I met Chris (Canadian) and Frank (German) at the hotel. We agreed to start the hike together (they had 5 days, I only had 3). We started the climb the next morning and fast realized it would be different from usual hikes. Emei Shan is one of 4 important religious mountains in China. There are a number of monestaries and temples on the mountain. The temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and somewhat rebuilt. They are linked by cement walkways and stairs that run for more than 50 km. Check the pictures!

Some people use porters to be carried up the mountain! Two porters carry them on their shoulders in a sling chair.

Because of my asthma, I had some difficulty with the steep climbs but managed by going fairly slow. We spent the first night at a hotel near Qinying temple, a room for 70RMB. I liked the fact that they put electric blankets under the bottom sheet - now that I am in sub-tropical terrain, everything is damp.

The second day we walked on to Hungchen (sp) temple, a 400 metre climb. We had to walk through an area populated by monkeys - workers feed them to draw them to the area for tourists. Then hit them when they get too agressive with the tourists! They steal food, jump on their backs and sometimes bite them.

I was walking with Chris and Frank and two Chinese hikers. An adult male monkey went for me - running at me, grabbing at my pack and gripping my arm when I tried to hit him with a stick. I was really scared of being bite, because I had decided not to get rabies shots before coming on the trip. I managed to shake off the monkey but was really offended that I was the only one attacked - it might have been because I was a woman or because I had a red jacket tied to my pack.

We left Frank at Hungchen Temple because he had a stomach bug. He and Chris decided to spend the night there at accomodations offered by the monestary. I wanted to hike further and Chris walked with me. I faced a 600 metre climb up switchback stairs and 15 km to get to the next temple and accomodations. After climbing 450 metres and being passed by two porters carrying an elderly woman, I hyperventelated - the beginnings of an asthma attack. Feeling very disappointed, I decided to turn back to Hungchen and take accomodation there. The next day I walked off the mountain to catch my train to Kunming.

It was a beautiful area and the walk was incredible. If the days had been clear, I would have been even more disappointed about not reaching the top at 3000 metres. There are supposed to be amazing sunrises at the top on a clear day.

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