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E Mei Mountain, Sichuan Province, China

Pre-tournament Sightseeing
Tournament Preliminaries
The 2007 World Competition
The Big Finale

November 1 (Thursday)

I arrived in China, via Chengdu airport, on Halloween (Wednesday). That evening at the resort in E Mei Mountain I ran into several of the Dutch contingent in the lobby. We made plans to go sightseeing to Le Shan, to see the largest stone Buddha in the world. On Thursday morning it turned out it would be just me and Yvonne van der Heide going sightseeing, maybe the other guy bowed out because it was raining cats and dogs.
We took a taxi to Le Shan, then we climbed up the mountain with the Chinese tourists. This shot was taken up on the cliff overlooking the Buddha's head.

The cliff to the Buddha's right was too crowded, so we walked around behind the statue to the other side. From here you can see the stairway that descends the cliff face so you can view the Buddha from the riverbank.
Is that crazy or what - who the heck would want to climb down that stairway in the rain???
(Hint: Yvonne.)
See? Much better view of the Buddha from here. Okay, what to see next...?
I'll tell you what next. Yvonne wanted to go down that stairway. Very comforting sign at the top of the stairs, no?
The tourist boats come up in front of the Buddha and tread water to stay in one place. Then the passengers can all have their pictures taken with a hand outstretched as if touching Buddha. Good thing I don't have vertigo!
The statue looks different from this lower vantage point. Still a long way to the bottom.
Now we're getting near his hands. Still got those long legs to go...
Still not at the bottom!
Almost there! Here's a foot.
Okay! Made it to the bottom!
So, what next? (Hint: there's another trail, leading all the way back up again.)
I was too busy huffing and puffing to take pictures on the way up. So shoot me. So now I'm wet from the rain AND I'm sweating. Pretty wall carvings up here, though.

Last shot before grabbing a cab back to E Mei Shan. We decided not to trek up those stairs. The cab ride back was, shall we say, eventful. Every now and then the cab's engine would sputter and die. The cabby usually just managed to get it running again by turning the key, but finally he had to get out and open the hood. Yvonne and I figured we weren't very far from E Mei Shan, and we could either grab a passing cab or walk the remaining way in the rain. I got out to see what the cabby was up to. He was twisting the ends of two wires back together, and tucking them into the engine out of the way of the fan. He nodded as if to say now it ought to work, so I got back in. He started it up and very soon we were entering E Mei Shan. Yvonne and I were hungry and we wanted to find a place to eat in town, so I looked in my Chinese book and found out how to say "stop." He was incredulous. Here?? I just repeated the phrase again: "Qing ting." So he stopped. We paid him according to the meter, plus the amount he'd had to pay for the toll road. Found a nice place to eat and walked back to the hotel.
Town square is located at the end of town (just before going up into the foothills where the resort hotel and monasteries are). The rain had pretty much stopped, finally.
Very picturesque, no? (The water is pumped up there to make the effect.)
Yvonne celebrates the end of an interesting little adventure.
November 2 Friday

There were no events organized for the morning, so Yvonne and I took a little walk from the resort hotel over to Baoguo Monastery. Instead of turning right at the fork to get to town square, you hang a left and before you know it, here you are.

Yvonne had a schedule to keep back at the hotel, so I headed to town square for some photos with sunshine this time.

Some of the judges were there, also taking photos. My friend here remembered me from previous tournaments.

Pre-tournament Sightseeing
Tournament Preliminaries
The 2007 World Competition
The Big Finale

© 2007-2008 Tom Sloper