So after the whole being stuck on the mountain for three days shenanigans, having our 40 minute flight delayed for 7 hours, we finally made it back to Chengdu in one piece. I seriously think we caught a case of bad luck, although a couple that was delayed with us had it even worse. They were suppose to get on the Asiana flight (the one that crashed in San Francisco) to come to the tour, but had to miss the first few days because of that whole fiasco. So they basically traveled all the way to Sichuan province for one day at Jiuzhaigou before having to leave due to the mudslides. They definitely were not happy campers.
My mom and I had to make a quick decision to join the tour back in Chengdu to see pandas or go on our own private tour to see the Leshan Buddha. The decision was very easy for me, I came to see the buddha and wasn’t going to go home empty handed. We joined a local tour that called us at 4:50 am to tell us they were outside. Talk about early!
Leshan is around 2 hours south of Chengdu and home of the largest stone Buddha in the whole world.
We started our journey with eating wonton soup at a local spot. This was the first really good meal I ate for a few days, since the mountains didn’t have the best tasting dishes. Especially because they weren’t expecting 60 people to come bombard there little town. I ate every bite with delight.
Then, we drove to the Buddha. I almost peed my pants with excitement!
The tour guide told us a lot about the history of the Buddha, which was really interesting. To be really simplified:
A Buddhist monk in 713 AD, HaiTong started collecting money to build a huge stone buddha to help with the turbulent waters. The government stepped in and asked for the money, but he gouged out his own eyes in front of them to show his determination and sincerity about building the Buddha. They were able to build only the head until his death, two generations of his disciples were able to finish the job he started.
Coming down the stairs on the left side going down. I am so fond of his smile, it is so subtle yet alluring. To me, it truly personifies the meaning of enlightenment.
Touching his ear for good luck! I just want to remind everyone it was 88 degrees with 98% humidity. It was h.o.t. and sticky.
The railing to come down was actually a little scary, there was a human traffic jam because the stairway was so narrow.
Hi Mom! Photobombing the Leshan Buddha like it’s nothing.
We finally made it to the bottom after 300 steps. (3 is a lucky number in Buddhism) It’s hard to comprehend how big this stone monument is, but to give you a hint, his nose alone is 9 feet long! His smallest toenail can hold a person laying down comfortably.
More touching for good luck, this might give you a better showing of how huge he is.
The attention to detail is amazing. I can’t believe they did this in the 700s, 1300 years ago, without the use of modern equipment, all by hand.
For those wanting to go, you have to go this year because they are going to build him a pagoda house at the end of the year to protect him. Only his face will be visible. When he was first made, he lived in a pagoda house until the Mongols burned it down at the end of the Yuan dynasty, leaving him open to the environment. He also needs serious restorations to be done, or we won’t have this wonder of the world left in a hundred years.
Afterward, we went to Mount Emei, which is one of the four Buddhist mountains in China to get my Guan Yin jade necklace blessed by a higher up priest. I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures inside the temples, but they were jaw dropping and had a feel in the air that I couldn’t put a finger on. It was so traditional; there were dragon flies buzzing around, wild monkeys that came to hang out with people (!!!!!) and ponds with turtles and frogs.
We had to use this to go up 4,000 feet.
Then walked down 4 miles worth of stairs. My calves are still hurting to this day.
At the end of my 14 hour day, my mom and I ate with another tour member at Sichuan spicy hot pot, which is what they are known for. I have been craving this meal since I booked the tickets in April.
Street food in the big city.
Now that’s it for China! I only have 1-2 recaps left, which is 6 days in Japan. We’ll see how many pictures I feel like taking, my index finger hurts from pushing the finger on my camera! I think some muscle is forming under there. 🙂
Would you of rather seen the pandas or Buddha? Could you handle the numbing spicy hot pot?