Hello all. Hairy here.
We are sat in a large internet hall in Chengdu. One of the first we have found in China, due to the tight government rules that arose from a fire that killed a few and urge for none of their people to find anything that's going on in the world. I think that there may also be another motive. The nice young men sat to the sides of me have hardcore porn playing to the side of the games of solitaire at which they are working. Perhaps they don't want english office life in China just yet!
I'm here to tell of our two fold trip to Leshan. First reason, it has the largest seated Buddha in the world at 71 metres high and secondly to extend our Visa's. We had been informed that its possible for same day upgrades rather than the 5 days in some big cities.
After an hour and a half we arrived into Leshan's nice new bus station. There wasn't the usual wall of touts, but a hardy bunch of the really persistent types that follow you everywhere repeating the same words over and over until you become either more forceful or give into there taxi requests. The one bonus of being two big fellows with bags the size of the local alpha male, is, the pedal rickshaw guys tend to leave us alone, feeling their hearts tightening just looking at us and the thought of anything more than a downward gradient.
We checked into a hotel on the rivers edge, still not quite trusting the same day rumours, and headed to the required visa establishment. Without needing to be said causing amusement for the masses on the way. It couldn't have been easier and the 'teller' couldn't have given less of a s***. Although it was clear we touched a nerve by not having pens to fill in the forms, making him have to reach slightly out of his circle and giving us a look as he handed over the biro's as if to say 'one day someone is going to pay for not having a pen'. We returned two hours later and it was all sorted.
That night Mike inspected the insides of his eyelids and I went out for a stroll around the walled rivers edge. It was bustlingly with walkers, gaupers and the local fan dancers. There was also a big band playing, that was projecting the lyrics onto a nearby sheet for any passers by to join in. I was tempted to start a chorus of 'roll out the barrels' or spice things up with the 'thong song' but the urge quickly passed.
Unfortunately, the walk wasn't the most well lit and the trees, over hanging the path, were cut to a level of 5 foot. The sight of me unfolding from underneath branches in the semi dark appeared too much for some, as children squawked grabbing for parents and wives backed into husbands. This wasn't helped by the fact I had scalped myself already and had a trickle of blood across my forehead. I decided before the police arrived to hole up with a beer at look across the water at the impressively lit smiling Buddha.
The Buddha was built by a monk and his lackeys a long time ago, it was actually finished many years after his death. The big fella was chiseled into the cliffs that overlooked a particularly fearsome meeting point of two rivers. The reason, I'm sure you have guessed, to look out for the souls trying to cross the torrents. It worked wonders as all the excess rock fell into the water calming it.
We got round to the big guy's grounds at 8 the next morning by bus. The main ferry that used to make the journey having been cancelled. We paid up for the whole shebang and walked round the 'old' new park area created for the tourists. You feel slightly cheated as you walk around the newly created 'old' caves but on the whole there was some great things to see. The 170m sleeping Buddha, buddha of a thousand hands and many other beautiful carvings and statues. The images of which will accompany this piece.
You then get smiling big man himself who is hugely impressive. Although by midday half of China had also arrived. Making for a rugby scum of jostling, pushing and heat as we descended the stairs to his feet. (what a lovely flowing sentence). Having taken some great photo's and thoroughly enjoying the Buddha experience and Leshan, We got the bus back to homestead Chengdu.