Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Leshan Buddha and Cave Exploring

Maria and I went to see the Leshan Big Buddha, 2 hours away from Chengdu. It's one of the biggest Buddha statues in the world, carved into the side of a mountain on the edge of a river, and very impressive. Also cool was that neither of us had slept much, but I managed to catch up a little by rigging up a head-hammock using the bus window curtain. Neither of those compares, however, to the fact that we went cave exploring!
In the city of Leshan, we crossed the river and began walking around 4k to get to the Buddha. On our left were construction sites, where old buildings had recently been demolished and a sidewalk was being constructed. Behind all the rubble there was an escarpment, and in it Maria and I spotted some cave openings. The workers allowed us to cross through the site, and when we got to the rock wall we found that, yes, there were some cave openings we could reach by climbing. The insides were dank but bare. Further down the road, there were even more caves, hidden away from the road behind some foliage. Those caves were a little more interesting. Maria didn't come up to them, but one had a ledge in it that led (in the dark) to a small tunnel through which shone some light. I ran back to the cave ledge, yelled to Maria to wait for me, and ran back and tried to shimmy through the tunnel with my arms stretched out in front of me so my torso would fit. Fortunately, I made it, got out to a higher opening in the wall with a nice view, and went back the way I came. A very dirty and completely awesome day.

All the Indiana Jones pictures

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