Around Emei Shan, one of the four most important Buddhist mountains in China. Emei Shan, or Mount Emei, is filled with amazing temples and hot springs. On the summit of the mountain is a mind-blowing golden statue and temple to the patron Bodhisattva of the mountain. We unfortunately didn’t get to see it because the mountain was incredibly foggy on the day we went. Oh, and did I mention the incredibly friendly monkeys…?
Jinli Ancient Street in Chengdu. In Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, Jinli is a popular tourist attraction. The area has been a marketplace since 221 BC during the Qin dynasty. Now you can weave through the area and pop in and out of shops selling traditional folk handicraft, and grab a bite of the amazing street food they have. Definitely one of my favorite places we visited in Sichuan!
Sichuan opera is well renowned throughout China. A traditional Sichuan opera performance involves singing, puppets, traditional Chinese instrument solos, shadow play, skits, and finally face-changing and fire-breathing. Face-changing is a type of magic where the performer changes his mask (the traditional scary-looking Sichuan masks) instantly and seemingly by magic.
In Mayan Village, rural Sichuan. The village is a few hours outside the capital, Chengdu. This is the region that got hit by the 2008 earthquake, that displaced millions of Sichuan-ren and killed nearly 70,000. Mayan Village is being helped by Habitat for Humanity to construct housing, and a lot of people - including a little old lady we helped - were living in temporary shelters.
The village grows a special type of tea called “Spring Tea,” that sells for about 600 kuai ($100) a pop. During our breaks, we got to go up on the tea terraces and help the villagers pick. We also hiked through a bamboo forest, and interviewed local families about their lifestyles.
Last week, our study abroad program (CIEE) took us on a mandatory weeklong trip to see more of China. We went here —>
Sichuan! Famous for spicy food, face changing and fire breathing performances, and pandas. For you guys back in America, you probably know of Sichuan because of the food. And trust me, this food is intense.
We went first to the countryside, to a little village called Mayan. This is the region that got hit by 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which resulted in a death toll of nearly 70,000 people and left millions homeless. Mayan Village was hit by the quake and a resulting landslide from the surrounding mountains; people there are still living in lean-to’s and makeshift housing while they wait for new homes. There, we worked with Habitat for Humanity China on improving the village - we helped haul bricks for a little old lady’s new house and helped the elders tend to their greenhouses.
The Mayan village was my favorite experience, and it was really interesting to contrast rural life with the highflying, cosmopolitan experience of Shanghai. After that, we drove to Chengdu, which is the capitol of Sichuan. We spent a day in the city, then headed to Emei Mountain - one of the four most important Buddhism mountains in China. Finally, for our last day, we went to the world renowned Chengdu Panda Base, dedicated to preserving our favorite furry friends…
So, iPhoto is essentially the world’s worst photo storage and transfer software ever. Today as I was uploading pics from Sichuan, iPhoto decided to freeze and dump half of my photos from the album into the abyss of computer nothingness. So, no pictures of the beautiful countryside, Habitat for Humanity build, or ancient street visit in Chengdu.
I’m leaving bright and early tomorrow to fly out to Chengde, in the Sichuan Province (yes, with the spicy food) for our weeklong trip with our program. We’re going to be building houses with Habitat for Humanity in a remote area in Sichuan, then heading to Chengde to experience some Sichuan culture and see…pandas. I’m armed with a new camera too! My coworker told me that the babies are much more active than the bamboo-munching adult pandas. Only problem is that I’m slightly sick, so I’m hoping to have an easy job out at the build.
The largest buddha in the world in the city of Leshan, Sichuan Province.
Jiuzhaigou Valley - aka The Valley of Nine Villages. Populated by tiny little Tibetan villages. The Crystalline Lake has a distinctive turquoise color. The Five Flower Lake’s bottom is criss-crossed by ancient tree trunks. Three mini valleys comprise Jiuzhaigao in a “Y” shape. The valley houses preserved ancient woodland, travertine pools, marshes, and other lakes and waterfalls rich in local folklore.