Arrival in Sichuan Province

So the night of Chongqing hotpot didn't happen. We both seem to have caught a cold, although Yann has it much worse. When we returned from the internet cafe Yann decided he wasn't going to get up from bed so I got to go out by myself for dinner in Chongqing. Yes, I will admit it, I went to McDonalds and had small french fries and an ice cream cone. Yann has resisted all forms of non-Chinese food since we've been here.

We felt better the next morning so we continued with our plan to head to Leshan in Sichuan province by bus. The first 200 of 400km was smooth, new highways. I was saying to Yann, "wow the Lonely Planet is way off on this one, 8 hours? we're almost there!" We then entered the road from hell: wide enough for one car at most points (let alone a bus), yet covered by rickshaws, cars, motorcycles, animals, children and buses in both directions. It was dusty, and it was bumpy, very bumpy. The bus driver ordered us to keep our seats in the upright position, just when you hit turbulence on a plane. But luckily for me, the lock keeping the seat fixed was broken on mine, meaning that everytime we hit a bump (which was about every 1/2 second) my chair would shoot me into recline mode. Oh yes, and did I mention that our bus driver had a mad case of road rage. He pretty much yelled the entire busride and believe it or not, honked the horn every single time we passed anything on the road. Yann proclaimed that he was greatful for this because "it was safer", I myself wanted to jump off the bus and hitch a ride on a rickshaw.

Despite all this, we crossed into Sichuan province through some pretty awesome rural scenery, rice fields and bamboo forests and we arrived in Leshan where a rickshaw driver biked us 5 km, packs and all, to our hotel for 5 Y (about 80 cents) and the hotel attendant offered us a room for 40 Y less than the advertised price. Of course we took it, worrying the whole time about why we got the room for so cheap. Our good luck ran out though when we were overcharged for some fiery hotpot at a street stall. But at least we got a taste of it (although not in Chongqing).

It appears we have hit the low-season and it is pretty wonderful, the hotels are half-full and even better the tourist sites are half-full. We visited Leshan's one and only tourist site this morning, the Leshan Grand Buddha, the tallest sitting Buddha in the world (Note: we have also seen the largest reclining Buddha in the world and the largest Buddha north of the Yellow River on other excursions). He is mighty beautiful anyways, carved into reddish stone and covered in moss. We managed to disorient ourselves and climb up and down the mountain twice in order to see him. We finished this visit in the morning, had lunch and got on a bus for Emei Shan. We are here already at the base of the mountain, we will depart for a 3 day climb in a couple of days, once our colds are completely cleared. The mountain is covered with monkeys that have apparently become fairly demanding from years of being fed by tourists, we have been advised by many people to carry a stick in one hand and a stone in the other to ward them off. For a great laugh we have been told to follow closely one of many groups of Chinese tourists carrying bags of food, apparently madness ensues!


mom said...

I hope you are doing a few sketches.the large bhuda swould be a nice picture.

Super-Mario said...

Bonjour à vous deux,

Ça fait quelques jours que nous attendons de vos nouvelles. Les photos sont très belles. J’aime bien les commentaires. J’ai même vu que matante Chantal a écrit. Pas si mal!

J’ai une compte SKYPE sous le pseudonime « mario-le magnifique »