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Friday, May 14, 2010

Trip 4: Chengdu (May 14-17, 2010)

This is a record of my fourth trip to visit the 142 Key Temples of China. Links lead to articles on the temple (or other site) named.



Friday, May 14:
The plan was to see four temples and meet up with old friend Franc and his wife Yuting; she's a Chengdu native and they were there to see her parents. Shenzhen-Chengdu 16:20-18:50 alone; Lila came in and joined me the next day. Several meals at KFC next to hotel.
  • Stayed every night at Home Inn (People Park Branch)



Saturday, May 15:
Zhaojue Temple
Tried and failed to get the right bus, so took a taxi to Wenshu Yuan (10:00-1:35; my #19). Lila, Franc, Yuting, and Yuting's brother joined me at 11:10, after they picked Lila up at the airport. We had lunch together in the temple's fine restaurant (12:00-1:00), I said my prayers in the garden, and then at 1:40 we all left for Zhaojue Si (2:20-4:05; my# 20). We returned to the hotel well before 6:00; Lila and I took a walk through Tianfu Square (7:00-7:30), seeing the statue of Mao and the Metro construction; at 8:00 we were at The Bookworm Café for dinner, after which we took a cab back to the hotel.



Sunday, May 16:
Wuyou Temple
We took an early bus to Leshan, were we arrived before 12:15 and ate lunch in a small restaurant. A second shuttle bus had purposefully dropped us at the gate of "Oriental Buddha Park," a Disney-esque tourist rip-off. It only took me a moment to realize we could walk around to another gate, saving the 70rmb-each entry fee (but the Big Buddha area was still 90! Had we gone only to the target temple, we would have saved even that.) By 1:15 we were in the Stele Forest and at 1:35 at the Big Buddha himself. In the same area were Monk Haitong's Cave and the rebuilding Lingyun Si; we left that area about 2:05 and were passing some interesting plaques at 2:20. Next were the Putong Pagoda burial caves and the next building (maybe Lower Guanyin Temple?) around 2:40-2:50; this area had a gate marked "Lingyun Shan," and everything after this is probably in a non-ticketed area. We reached a former fishing village (now housing shops), the nearby Mahao Tomb Caves, and the magnificent Haoshang Bridge and hung out from 2:55-3:10. Leaving there, we climbed the mountain to Leshan's Wuyou Si (3:45-5:10; my #21). Coming down by another trail we found more "Putong Pagodas" (burial caves). We caught a local bus to Leshan bus station (arriving around 6:00) and took a highway bus back to Chengdu. From there we made our way to The Bookworm Café for dinner around 9:00, then a cab back to the hotel.



Monday, May 17:
Baoguang Temple
Yuting wasn't well this morning, so Franc met us alone at our hotel and helped us negotiate a taxi way out to Baoguang Si (9:55-1:35; my #22). We enjoyed a leisurely visit, with a cheap teahouse lunch on the grounds from 11:40-1:00 (lots of catching up to do). After returning to the city by taxi, we gathered our bags and met Yuting at Tanghu Park, a place with a teahouse in Shuangliu, not terribly far from the airport. After feeding the fish and being introduced to the delightful "tofu brains" (tofu with chili and lots of other stuff added) we headed for the airport, where Lila had an approximately 6:40 flight, and my 20:00-21:55 flight was massively delayed.

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