* Sylvia's Social Sabbatical
This blog is part of a series and the other blogs can be found here:
4. Current blog: SYSOSA in Chengdu, China 2016 - Weekend Excursions - 3
Peace, Peace, give me some Peace and Quiet!
Planning for the third week was well under way before weekend April 23/24 was there. So what to do? In discussion was a visit to the Leshan Giant Buddha or going to Mount Qingcheng, which is one of the most important centers of Taoism. Hmmm, both sounded interesting! So what to do?
Ha! Decision was made very fast as soon as I heard that there will be thousands of tourists at the Giant Buddha, but much less - if you arrive early - at Mount Qingcheng. So there we went, this time only three of us.
And here they are, and I am behind the camera. Did I tell you already that I hate selfie sticks, no? I do!
Mindy from the US and Jeremy from Canada/ France/ Ireland - it's complicated...
As you can also see, there was no one there! We took the train at 6:40 am and we where in Qingcheng Station only an hour later, took the bus, and there we were: at the park entrance at 8:00 am on a misty Saturday morning with the promise of rain and about 10.000 uneven steps ahead of us, but I have never felt so relaxed (and tired) during the first three weeks! I can see why it is a center of Taoism. Walking up all those stairs is a mediation in itself.
So up, up, up the stairs we went...for 3 hrs, seeing temple after temple, not many people,...,
...and after having climbed up stairs for 2,5 hrs we thought we deserved a little break! And so did the locals, they were drinking tea, we preferred a cooler drink, and we did NOT share one beer. And believe me, ordering beer is not that difficult, but ordering a cold beer is a challenge. In China people drink either hot water or tea, but never ever a cold drink, or even worse, something coming out of a fridge as it is unhealthy. So even if you see a fridge with beer in it, it does not mean that the fridge is actually on and is doing its work...
After 3 hours climbing we were rewarded with a view, a pagoda, and some interesting views:
At the same time with us arrive a group of monks, male and female:
After we have reached the top, there was the long way down and by that time we were pretty hungry. But before we came to a place where we were able to order some food here are some impressions that I want to share with you:
So, how do you order food when you are very hungry, but there is only a menu in Chinese and none of the waitresses speak English? You take photos of the dishes from other guest that look promising - the dishes, not the guests - and show it when ordering. This sounds pretty straight forward, but the waitress needed the name of the dish, and she was not able to recall it. Fortunately for us there was a young boy around 9 who was able to speak enough English to help us ordering our feast! How cool is that? And this is what we got: a dish with mushrooms, one with chicken, I hope it was chicken, and lots of chili, and some double cooked pork (?) with green vegetables, and rice. By the way: you do not get rice with a dish, you specifically have to order it. It is usually the last dish that is severed, to get you full - finally!
Walking down was as hard as walking up, although it was faster, and so we ended up at the train station and in the train after five. We were all pretty tired, after an early start, lots of exercise and fresh air, beer and good food, which had its toll on us during the journey back:
Sunday was a complete different story, and this will come soon...