Emei Shan

25, 26th August 2004.

Emei Shan is a holy mountain that is situated about 2 hours from Chengdu. It is a famous Buddhist Mountain that attracts many people to its summit to witness spectacular view and glorious sunsets and sunrises.

The photo is a bit grainy!

This is a view of the 3,000m+ peak of Emei Shan from the top of the Grand Buddha of Leshan some 30kms away.

The mountainous scenery of the Emei Shan region is breath-taking on the rare clear day, or in this case semi-clear days of summer.

In true Chinese style, we caught a bus and a cable car straight to the top of the mountain.

We arrived at the top just in time to get a room in the worlds grubbiest hotel, and to get a clear view of the Jinding Si Temple on top of the mountain. (Many people we had met had only been able to see mist the whole time they were there so we were pleased.

We were really lucky as we could even see Gongga Shan in the distance at 7,556m which is also a rare occurrence.

As the sun set, it got really cold so we sat around this urn where the Buddhist monks are busy burning off the plastic, paper and other crap the tourists have been throwing around all over their mountain paradise.

The view across to Ten Thousand Buddhist Temple on top of the cliff.

We wanted to walk here but there no longer seems to be a trail. In the true spirit of Chinese can-do attitude you catch a monorail which I am guessing usurped the original pilgrim walking trail.

The spitting and raucous pulling back of mucous started at about 4am in our hotel, so by 5am we had bitten the bullet and got out of bed in time to see a glorious Emei Shan sunrise. The clouds above tinged pink and the clouds below blanketed the view over the land below.

The serenity was obviously over-powering for the natives who yelled, cheered, hoiked and spat the whole time whilst wearing their hired, flouro jackets and chain-smoking.

She who buses up must walk down. The minimum walk once you start is 2,000m of vert straight down steps.

We would be in calf-cramp pain for days afterwards and had we not of had monkey trouble, taken a couple of days to dawdle the journey.

The most pain was yet to come.

One of our big attractions for coming here was the monkeys all over the mountain. Little did we know they are running absolute riot and regularly mobbed tourist and steal bags or anything they think might have food in it.

This big chap was obviously the alpha male, king of the troop. After eating for 15 minutes solid he then decided to try and steal Claire's bag to see if it had food inside of it.

Claire's started squealing like a teenager for some intervention from Jason who raced to the rescue and chased the cheeky bugger off.

Whilst Jason was bent down zipping up the bag of a certain hysterical women. Alpha male monkey decided to wrap his claws around Jason's waist and sink his rather large teeth into his arse and refuse to let go for a while.

After the monkey was shaken free he came back again for Claire's bag and was duly drop-kicked a few metres by a Jason with a sore arse for his trouble.

Then the whole troop started to approach us and we had to run into the monastery where the Kung Fu film watching monks really didn't give a toss about what had happened.

It was the bit where Jackie Chan goes nuts so there was no time for helping Jason or other religious stuff like that.

It was a speedy walk down to Wannian Si temple. We had started worrying about rabies injections and Jasons arse was a little numb.  Our 2 year old guide book says Bangkok is the nearest place to get injections and we were about 2,000kms away with 24 hours to get there.

After reaching the bottom of the mountain we got out our China phrase book and proceeded to show anyone with eyes the symbol for monkey and Jasons arse. Eventually someone sent us to the hospital. After around 2 hours of sign language and pointing Jason's arse at doctors, nurses and the 50 people who poked there head around the door to see what the gringo was doing in their local hospital we managed to get a rabies injection, a tetanus and a lot of smiles from strange people.

China is an amazing place but there are, too many people, no privacy, no manners, no queues, and with the exit of socialism, there is little that would be described by a Westerner as social behaviour. We have enjoyed our second trip here but as with the first trip we got to about 6 weeks and we had to get out. So it's back to Bangkok to decide where next.

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