Today we ventured away from magical Mount Emei toward the biggest Buddha in the world (since those in Afghanastan are gone). Leshan is only about 40km from Baoguo where we stayed again at the Teddy Bear Hostel; the bus ride took about 40 minutes and dumped us right in front of the Giant Buddha park. Literally, it pulled up onto the sidewalk and we got out.
After paying our entrance fee we followed along between to huge tour groups and their flag-carrying leaders to the big Buddha. He is HUGE! Our approach led us to his head where is ear is apparently 8 meters tall. The place was a bit crowded and definitely a tourist spot. We got irritated with the Chinese folks pestering us for pictures with Zoe. Elsewhere they have been a bit more tactful, or at least they have been in small groups. Here it seemed like we were the attraction instead of the Buddha or the temple. We marched down the stairs with the hoard, were amazed at the size of the carving with the hoard, and took pictures at Buddha’s toe just like the hoard. Eventually I got into just saying a harsh NO to folks who wanted a Zoe pic. After walking down to Buddha’s feet, we got to walk through a cave and back up to see other carvings in the local rock plus a very nice temple.
We found a noodle stand tucked back in a corner and got some lunch out of sight from the hoard, then ventured out of the park the long way so as to avoid he tour groups. Upon exit a man offered us a bus ride to Chengdu and we hopped on; this wasn’t the regular bus but a private owned rig. His price was the same as the book says from the main bus station, and saved us a cab ride to said station. The bus ride was uneventful except that it dumped us a block from the Xinnanmen station so we were a tad lost at first. It worked out fine and we were close to the city bus we need to take back to the Mix Hostel.
We stopped in a big department store on the walk back to the hostel to get diapers for our Tibet journey tomorrow. We also grabbed a couple 2.90Y beer; they are 5Y at the hostel…80Cents…so we saved some change. Tonight we are back at the Mix, Zoe and I took a looooong shower, Bryan is doing laundry so it can (hopefully) dry on the line overnight, and we just got some dinner on the nice outdoor patio. It’s starting to rain with lighting and thunder… it’s very nice and cooling under the patio. Tomorrow morning we are hoping to walk over to the local Wenshu temple, see a teahouse for which Chengdu is famous, then grab a cab to the airport for Lhasa! Our trip in Tibet is guided, so it will be no hassle but I’m really hoping we aren’t following around a flag like all these other tour groups we see here.