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Leshan, China

So after the pandas we took a bus on to Leshan, which is most famous for having a great big Buddha carved into a cliff face, Mt Rushmore style. Quite who thought that was a good idea I don't know, but it seems like a lot of hard work for something that actually looks more comic than anything else. But it doesn't stop busloads of Chinese rocking up for a quick pray and to get their mugshots taken in front of it. Anyway, from there it was on to Emeishan, where the rural leg of the tour really starts. We're staying in a working monastery at the foot of Mt Emei, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China. It's a stunning setting, and makes a nice change from the blandness of most hotel rooms. The monks, as you would expect, have the stereotyped shaved heads and robes, but less expectedly most of them seem to have state of the art mobiles clamped to their ears most of the day. And I'm having doubts about the old adage of "cleanliness is close to godliness". The toilet facilities in the monastery are, erm, rudimentary. The smell is on a whole new level from what I got in India. Thankfully Jo has fashioned a poo scarf, consisting of a standard scarf scented with perfume, to be wrapped around the face before entering said facilities.

Anyway, we climbed up Mt Emei today, where we were promised spectacular views from the summit. Sadly, we could barely see each other by then, thanks to the persistent rain and mist. Hey ho. All good training for a longer 2-day trek next week.

permalink written by  phileasdogg on November 2, 2008 from Leshan, China
from the travel blog: Planes, Trains & Taxiwallahs
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