Emei Shan and Songpan

After writing the last blog I spent the day sightseeing in Chengdu as planned. I started by walking around by myself - finding lovely small alleys, a school with children playing and some nice street stalls selling food for less than 1 yuan per piece. After this I went to the Wenshu Temple, a big temple area in the center of the town. That was nice to see and a really nice prequel to Emei Shan the following day.

Wenshu temple has a lot of visitors, so it felt a bit touristy. As always it wasn't that many foreigners though, mostly Chinese tourists. The temple itself wasn't that impressing (see pictures), but the surrounding garden with small pagodas spread out and the great library behind the temple was awesome! The library was three storeys high and looked like a great mansion taken straight out from Chinese history.

After the temple I went back to the guesthouse where I met up with Rachel to go to the opera. Nikki didn't feel like paying 90 yuan for the opera, so it was just me and Rachel. The opera turned out to be a mix of traditional Chinese entertainment on weekends, so we saw a mix of different things. There were some parts with classical Chinese opera, but also acrobatics, juggling with large Ming-vases and a table, shadow puppets show and some theatre with changing masks. The changing masks were great - they would have really nice dresses and a mask covering their face. And the masks changed - when they turned around they would have a new mask showing a new kind of person/thing. Very interesting!

The day after the opera the three of us decided to go separate ways. Or rather - same way but by different means. The girls wanted to hitchhike to Emei Shan and spend the night there, where as I wanted to just go there for a day trip. So after a nice breakfast the "party crew" split up and I went to the bus station to get a ticket for Bauguo Village, which is just on the bottom of Emei Shan (Emei Mountain). Sad to leave them, but also nice to travel by myself for a while. I guess I will meet them later, if nothing else back in England or Holland!

Emei Shan was a great experience. The bus ride there took two hours and it took me through some small and heavily industraialized towns (which was interesting to see) but mostly seemingly endless fields of "raps" (the Swedish word- not sure about the English word for the yellow stuff you use to make vegetable oil from). Bauguo Village turned out to be a quite touristy place - felt like coming to a ski-resort in the summer. Although touristy in China means - lots of tourists but no Westerner. I didn't see a single Westerner during the whole day actually - it seems the vast majority of tourists in China, at least in this season, is Chinese or Japanese.

From the village it was a short walk up to the two temples I'd decided to visit. The first one was Bauguo Si, or literally Declare Nation Monastery. It was a newly renovated temple that still kept its charm, although as I already said - a bit touristy. They even had a price list posted for staying in the monastery. And who the fuck wants a color TV when they're visiting a temple and sleeping there, that's beyond me?! The temple itself was built in several levels and you would walk through one temple just to find stairs leading up to the next one. There were monks walking about in the temple grounds and you could always here some chanting from temples or monks walking around. Very spiritual. The temple was surrounded by gardens that were perfectly taken care of, a nice place to spend an hour relaxing, taking in the views and listen to the silence. The views were fantastic, with Emei Shan rising as the backdrop for temples that looked exactly that you would have thought or hoped that they would!

From Bauguo Si I went towards the next temple - Fuhu Si. This literally means Crouching Tiger Monastery or perhaps Crouching Tiger Nunnery since there were only nuns there. To get there you would walk through large parks with lots of planted trees of more than 300 different species - it was just sooo peaceful and beautiful. From the first entrance to Fuhu Si there was a long way of staircases leading through deep rain forest, across streams on wonderful covered wooden bridges and fantastic pagodas. See the pictures from this walk - that was awesome!

Fuhu Si itself wsas also nice - it wasn't as picture perfect as Bauguo Si perhaps, but it felt much more genuine with nuns walking about in their daily routines, not so many tourists and even more quiet. On the top of the temple area there was a large hall filled with one thousand Buddha statues - each one different from the other. Interesting to see, but unfortunately you couldn't take any pictures in there. I also spent half an hour sitting on a terrace and looking out over the roofs of the temple - I just love those typical Chinese roofs!

After walking back to the village I got a bus back to Chengdu, which took me through all those golden fields again - this time during sunset which was beautiful. Well back in Chengdu I picked up my backpack and took a taxi to the apartment where Eoin and Megan is staying. They had invited me to sleep in their new guestroom for one night, which was totally awesome! They are sooo friendly and nice and the apartment is just wicked. They pay less than I would pay for a student flat with one room in Sweden, and they have something like 120 sq meters on the 15th floor - looking out over Chengdu. The flat is really luxurious, the highligts being the view and the panorama windows, the kitchen, the computerized shower and of course - the original Nintendo and the soccer table! We had a great evening together when we didn't do much, we went for food and chilled out in their apartment. Early night for us all - I left at 6 am to be in my guesthouse 6:20 for the pickup that would take me to the bus station and later Songpan.

So now I'm in Songpan. I am still recovering from the shock of the bus ride - just north of Chengdu started a great landscape that took us through deep valleys. It looks somewhat like Grand Canyon, or perhaps the greatest fjords in Norway, with huge mountains on each side of a beautiful lake and with snow still on the top of some mountains. After eight hours on a bus we arrive in Songpan which is a lovely small town (70k inhabitants or so). I'm not sure about the elevation - but you can feel that the sun is really strong and that the air is thinner than usual. No altitude-sickness though - just a bit harder to breath and move around. Along the way we saw some signs that this is indeed on the border to Tibet - except for the views there are the local dresses (reminding of the ones in Vietnam somewhat), the food along the way and of course the yaks lining the side of the road and roaming around in the stony fields.

Tomorrow I will buy myself a great birthday cake for breakfast and then go on my two-day horseback riding tour. I'm really looking forward to it now! Hope that the blue sky and the warmth stay - I really don't feel like riding in cold and rain! My wishes for my birthday (except for a new iPod filled with great music - I'm starved on music after almost three months of traveling) are to have a really memorable time on the tour and perhaps to see some more yaks! They are soo cute! :)

2 kommentarer:

Olle sa...

raps = rapeseed or just rape

Emeishan sa...

Thanks for this post. Emei Shan a mountain that rises from earth at a height of approximately 3,099 m. This is most heighten mountain from the Four scared Buddhist Mountains. Mount Emei Sunrise and Cloud Sea is the most tourist attraction place.