Maria Holland

10:10 to LeShan

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 at 11:13 pm

We got up early today, but we had a very strong motive for doing so – Peter’s Tex-Mex Restaurant opens at 7:30, and we were there shortly after.  We enjoyed our second meal there as much as the first, and I got to taste pancakes, bacon, and eggs fried hard for the first time in almost five months. 

 

We took a bus from there to the long-distance bus station, arriving around 9:30.  There was a bus leaving a few minutes later, but maybe that one was sold out because I ended up with tickets for the 10:10 bus.  About an hour and a half into the trip, we slowed down, came to a stop, and the driver turned off the engine.  We were stopped for at least 20 minutes, during which time a bunch of guys took a smoke break and even Dad and I went out to look around.

It was a little surreal, standing on a highway packed with traffic, all at a complete standstill.  It was like an everyday street crossing, but as if the cars had been paused while we were still free to move about.

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When we finally got back on our way, we moved forward very slowly until we passed the cause of the traffic jam – it was the 9:40 bus, which had rear-ended another bus.  The passengers were milling about the accident, and we hoped there were no serious injuries.  It was startling to realize how close we came to being on that bus!

We were only a little late arriving in Leshan, and immediately got on a bus to take us to a hotel that had been recommended by Lonely Planet.  We made a friend on the bus, though, who said that hotel was nice and offered to take us to a nicer place.  She seemed nice, so we took her up on it.  She was unbelievably good to us, accompanying us to a hotel on the outskirts of the city and paying for the taxi to take us there.  The hotel that she set us up in is by far the nicest we’ve stayed in yet and should cost 350 yuan a night but we’re getting it for 180 ($25) due to the strings she pulled. 

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We didn’t luxuriate in our room for long, though, because there was a giant Buddha to see.  Leshan’s claim to fame is 大佛, or Giant Buddha, the world’s largest Buddha.  He was carved over two hundred years before in an attempt to calm the waters around him, at the confluence of three rivers.

We opted to view him from the water, and took a speedboat out to see him. 

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He’s . . . big.  71 meters tall, to be exact, which even dwarfs Dad.  For some scale, here’s a close-up of his hands and some tourists:

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There was also the option of climbing down and around the Buddha, but the ticket was pretty expensive and we rather liked our seated tour so we decided not to.  Instead, we wandered around the town.  Unanimously, we’ve decided we very much like Leshan.  Away from the Buddha-related tourist things, it’s just a nice town.  We walked down random side streets and came upon all sorts of interesting things.  Overall, our impression of Leshan is that all people do here is knit, have tiny dogs, and make cute Chinese babies. 

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It’s one of my favorite parts about China and was glad my parents got to experience it with me.  We found the shoe fixing area of town, the children and maternity clothes district, and the cell phone block.  We saw a little girl taking drum set lessons (and doing really well); a young woman practicing calligraphy; an old man cutting hair on a corner.  Some of the things we saw surprised even me – my first Chinese pet store and my first female sanlunche (pedicab drivers)!

We ate as we walked, grabbing spicy meat pita sandwiches, pineapple-on-a-stick, fried bread, and a donut. 

After returning to our hotel for a little while, we went back out for dinner.  We went all the way down one street, going in every restaurant – looking at their menus and asking questions – before saying 不好意思 (sorry) and leaving.  We ended up eating skewers of meat and vegetables, partly because I didn’t want to say no to them too.  It was really good, though, and only $8 so why not?

Early morning and mountain climbing tomorrow, so good night!

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  1. STILL loving the blog titles, the pics, and the adventures! And, of course, your writing Maria, which is funny and fabulous………..

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