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Chengdu Day 3

To start day three I have some bad news. I forgot Schmelmo in my classroom. A panda pic for Schmelmo would have been golden. Oh well, I'm sure he'll make it to Mongolia next month. Schmelmo on a camel sounds like a winner.

Breakfast buffets in all the hotels I've stayed in while in China had been remarkably similar. Aiyun thinks our current hotel has the best one yet. She likes the variety of what's available. I'll try to give you a video tour of it tomorrow.

Our day three plan revolves around getting up into the mountains. Aiyun wanted to get into a cable car way up high in the hills. After breakfast we jumped on a train headed south west into the mountains. Our final destination is the mountaintop called Emei. There's a large temple that sticks out on a point. The pictures I've seen are spectacular.

Part of our journey today will be riding a cable car up the mountain to an elevation of about 3000 meters. Hopefully not too much walking for Aiyun. Also, the weather here in Chengdu is terribly unpredictable. It's the last major city up against the mountains that runs north-south through China. As we head southwest on a train there's a thick morning fog. We might be setting ourselves up for a hike that results in no view. A chance we're willing to take. Further, due to the holiday we might be facing seriously heavy crowds again. We got out the door pretty early, but that might not matter.

After looking at many pictures online of our final destination today and considering our weather I'm thinking that trying to take my own pictures might be futile. Yeah, I'll get some shots of my own capturing some smiling faces, but these are photos I feel the need to share that I found online.

Not Bad. China is absolutely loaded with UNESCO World Heritage sites to visit. I'm so glad I've focused on getting bunches of them checked off. The Buddhist temple at Emei was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),

After the train we got on a bus right from the train station that took us most of the way up the mountain. The ride took several hours as the traffic was bad, like really bad. Like, stopping over and over for long stretches. After arriving at the bus drop off we had a hike to the cable car area. Along the path there were tons of vendors selling food and trinkets.

Two choices of cable car. One large car that carries a ton of people. Much smaller ones that carry six. We got shuffled into the line that was mass transit in bulk for the way up. I've had moments in China that made me feel like a sardine. This was one of them. The mad rush to shove into the large car was an awful feeling. Oh well. I got on and we went up up up quickly. At this time it was pretty obvious we were facing zero visibility today. Such is life.

After the large cable car we still had a short hike to the top. Bummed about the cloud cover, but still glad just to spend a day with Aiyun. The final stretch getting to the top was hard on her leg, but she was feeling happy she was able to make it. Having a rest and sharing tea eggs at the summit was nice.

Before we departed we did a lap around the Buddhist Temple and rang the bell together. Lots of insence being burned, candles being lit, and prayers offered. At times it's hard to believe I'm two of her in mass. After looking at this picture, yeah, I see it now. She was not happy with this picture. Tough nooggies. I dig it.

We opted for the more personal ride back down in the six person cable car. Nice group of older folk that of course were fascinated by the loawei (foreigner). Super thick cloud cover as we descended the mountain. I had several celebrity moments today, but only one man that wanted to take a picture together. The young lady that took our bell picture was excited when I was able to speak some Chinese.

Bus ride down the mountain was MUCH faster than going up. Vomit bags were handed out before we departed. A good indication that this ride was going to make some feel queasy.

We got back to our hotel and we're both feeling super tired and hungry. We considered just eating at the buffet in the hotel, but there was a group of very loud young children. Maybe a sign we're getting old. We opted to walk down the street and settled on a small local joint. It was perfect. There was a giant bowl of soup simmering as we entered with different cuts of meat floating in it. Aiyun told me it was likely cooking all day. We opted for two types of beef. The smaller bowl on the right has stomach lining in it. It's has a different sort of texture to it, but still just beef. I've had it a few times here in China. Aiyun told me this type of restaurant had a special historical context as well. I'll share what she translated for me below.

...legs. Hence, "cross legged beef".

We were both so tired after dinner we fell asleep without even saying goodnight to each other. A good nights sleep because neither us stirred all night long. A sign that we've been busy tourists. Might need a vacation after our vacation. Glad I've got all day Sunday to do laundry and crash on the couch.

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