JZG SICHUN TOUR 07-19NOV2004
SPECIAL THANKS TO RAYMOND AND MEMBERS MAKING THE MISSION POSSIBLE!
RAYMOND KWOK YIN LUNG
NG SIU LENG
VINCENT CHIU SIN WAI
EDDIE CHUI CHUN KIT
DAVID NG WAI KEUNG
WILLIAM CHAN SING KWONG
07NOV FLIGHT CZ3457 SZX/CTU 0820/1020 R/TRIP ￥1790.
07NOV FLIGHT SICHUN AIR CTU/JZH 1155/1300 R/TRIP ￥750.
07-10NOV @ HOTEL NINE PALACE ￥330
08-09NOV WHOLE DAYS SIGHTSEEING JZG
10NOV TAXI VIA CHUN-ZE-SHI TO YELLOW DRAGON SIGHTSEEING
10NOV @ HOTEL CHUN-ZE-SHI ￥160
11NOV 9.5HRS COACH TO CHENGDU
11NOV @ DRAGON TOWN YOUTH HOSTEL ￥150
12NOV TO LESHAN GIANT BUDDHA
12NOV MIDNIGHT CLIMBING UP TO E-MEI SHAN
12NOV @ HOTEL SEN-WHY-LEI ￥120
13NOV CLIMB UP TO GOLDEN PEAK OF E-MEI SHAN 3079KM
13NOV ON COACH RETURNING TO CHENGDU
13NOV @ DRAGON TOWN YOUTH HOSTEL ￥150
14NOV ELLY+VINCENT FLYING TO SZX
RAY+HUNG+EDDIE TO TUNG KIANG TOWN
14NOV TRAIN 283KM TO KWONG YUEN TOWN & SIGHTSEEING SHADOW-MOON GORGE.
14NOV @ HOTEL LEI-ZHOU ￥140
15NOV HUANG-ZI-SHI TEMPLE
15NOV VAN TO SWORD-GATE CLIMBING 4HRS
15NOV COACH TO JIANG-KWOK TOWN
15NOV @ HOTEL JIANG-KWOK ￥120
16NOV COACH TO CHENGDU 283KM
16-19NOV @ DREAM-YOUTH-HOSTEL ￥120
16NOV MU-HOU-ZHI TEMPLE
17NOV COACH TO KWONG-HAN TOWN SIGHTSEEING SAM-SING-HEAP
17NOV COACH TO CHENGDU VISITING LIVING-WATER PARK
18NOV COACH TO DU-JIANG-YAN
18NOV COACH BACK TO CHENGDU SIGHTSEEING POET DUíS COTTAGE
19NOV VISITING GREEN-GOAT PALACE, MAN-SHI-ZHI TEMPLE & ANCIENT TOMB MUSEUM.
19NOV FLIGHT CX3454 CTU/SZX 1645/1845
Flying to JZG 九寨溝 via Chengdu
Joyful to see the charming scenery & waterfalls at JZG where there are rain forest, snow-capped mountains & valley, over 1000 colorful calcified lakes, pine trees and maple leaves too.
On the second day noontime, we arrived at the Mills Village; the Tibetan girls sold us nothing but instant noodle and satay. We also tried the Tibetan butter-tea and dance.
We tried the first time snack Ė baked green-fruit cake & satay. Of course, had spicy hot pot for dinner.
With heavy snow in Yellow Dragon 黃龍, we climbed 3 hours roundtrip with elevation from 3000km to 3500km. None of our members suffered from "high mountain" phenomenon while other visitors carrying oxygen bottles with them. Poor Elly caught cold. Moreover, the horse ride was something to avoid in the future because of potential blackmail.
We spent whole day on coach from Chun-ze-zhi 川主寺 to Chengdu. In the morning, herbs of cattle along the way intermittently slowed our coach down. Finally we settled down at Dragon Town Youth Hostel, a traditional four-chamber house, hanging with red lanterns & a courtyard at the center.
Le Shan Giant Buddha 樂山大佛was 71km tall. Starting by a monk in Tang dynasty AD718, the construction took 90 years, on and off due to flooding in the region and corruption of the countyís officials. Now itís classified as World Heritage as itís the biggest in the world. After sightseeing at Le Shan Giant Buddha, we rushed to Po-kwok-zhi coach station to go to E-Mei Shan. We skipped lunch to make up the time.
Unfortunately we missed the last cable car up the mountain. The local threatened us that no way we could make it at dark, especially when temperature falling below zero. After lots of blood & sweat, we managed to climb 7km in distance with 400 meters elevation. I had handicapped, carrying my bulky 40 lbs backpack along. In the dark, we also met the coach driver and his girlfriend. They admired us that we made it to the top in two and half hours. The hotel manager, waitress, and cook were astonished to see us at midnight hours and they were very friendly to offer us with hot tea. Overwhelming with joy, each of us had 3 to 4 bowls of rice at the peak restaurant and went to bed at Hotel Sen-why-lei ￥120. I felt very much relaxed after taking a wonderful hot shower, as there was a built-in 80 liters hot water tank inside the hotel bathroom.
Even after an exhausted night before, we woke up very early at 6:30am to watch sunrise. At dawn, we took a group photo. A few minutes later, we saw daybreak with Buddha fingers (=Jesus cross), it just lasted for 3 minutes, but no sunrise. Followed with a grant view of "the sea of cloud"! Along the way, we met again with three foreigners from Astonia & Czhikoslavia. They showed us the sunset photos the day before.
SCENERY E-MEI SHAN
E Mei Shan 峨眉山is famous for the original Buddhism & Chinese Ku-fu as itís highly recommended by the "Lonely Planet Guidebook". It has an altitude of 3099km and is famous for four scenes: a) sunrise, b) a sea of clouds, c) Buddha fingers, & d) Saint lamp. There are always clouds at midway of the mountains. On the top, itís always foggy & sometimes snow. We skipped the world highest monorail ride ￥50 because of poor visibility.
The journey returning to Chengdu was eventful. First the coach was overloaded with 5 passengers in addition to its high-density capacity of 26 seats in a mini-van. Then the driver took a young lady along the way to settle for ￥20 dispute. Next, the gear broke down and the driver used a spanner to manually set it to first gear. In such a bad condition of the van, the driver was so ridiculous that he still attempted every opportunity to jump lane and overtook other vehicles on the Cheng-yue expressway. It was so dangerous! 51Km before reaching Chengdu, the driver made a detour to have quick fix at pit stop. All of us were tired because we had been squeezed inside a tiny van for almost 3 hours, so we all got off to stretch our legs and bought ￥2 peanuts as a wonderful snack.
As a compensation for the eventful day, we went to Tam Fish Head Restaurant for an expensive dinner ￥300. The waitress was smiling and courteous to us. I was extremely satisfied as this was the next time I had fish after set off on the journey for almost a week.
￥11 Taxi to north railway station, had Soya milk & bun for breakfast, then took express train (5hrs, 283km, ￥47) to Kwong-yuen 廣元town in the north. Fortunately the train was not full, David & I occupied six seats. I started to work on my Sichun tour diary. Train hostesses made not fluent friendly announcement without PA but in person, very entertaining indeed. Music was soft sometimes cheerful but the AIDS prevention announcement was odd. The scene outside window was mainly green fields & tiny village huts & occasionally some 4-story residential blocks. David & I sipped a cup of tea & felt very much relaxing.
We took a van ￥7 to Chau-tin 朝天town and tricycle ￥5 to sightseeing Shadow-moon gorge & ancient plant trail, built during the Shu-han 蜀漢dynasty. On the way back, the van broke down at middle of highway because it was running out of gas. Waited for half an hour, a rescue car bought a liter of gas, but it did not work. David tried to push the van for a hard start but in vain. Instead of hopelessly waiting, we hitched another van back to Kwong-yuen town.
Had dinner at Rib King Restaurant Ė the best disk was sticky rice steamed with rib ￥4. We, strolled along the Ka-ling Jiang River, & saw people enjoying folks/ballroom dancing. Stayed at Lei-zhou hotel ￥140 including free breakfast next morning at 7/F Royal Restaurant.
At Kwong-yuen, we took ￥5 taxi to Huang-zi-zhi 皇泽寺temple where Empress Wu 武則天once lived there. Not much to see, rebuilding was in progress. We then took a van ￥9 to Sword Gate 50km away.
The van was heavily overloaded with cargo underneath the seats and on the rack on the rooftop of the van. You donít have to be a rocket scientist; you know for sure the van is going to break down midway with a flatted tire. The driver arrive at a pit stop but did not get the tire replaced, maybe it was too expensive. Continued on the journey, the driver took three more passengers despite of bad condition of the van. Apparently safety is NOT a concern!
After paid for ￥50 admission ticket to Sword Gate 劍門關, we set off on a 4-hour hiking with my bulky 40 lbs backpack. Frankly speaking, I was tortured to almost death. The last portion was climbing up Leung Shan Zhi 梁山寺temple with elevation from 550km to 1095km. Imagine no lunch, when I got up there at 3:30pm, I was very hungry. The snack shop lady offered me anything that I could not possibly refuse. In just 5 minutes, I finished it all, a bowl of 3 hard-boiled eggs and 6 sesame dumplings in soup. I then felt very satisfied. It was fantastic that a van took us down hill for ￥30; otherwise it would take us to walk 12km in 2.5 hours.
Dinner ￥16 for two, with 3 (black pepper favored) bean curb clad pots 沙鍋, delicious! Had evening shopping at poor manís night market. Bought some walnut delicacies & DVD discs (China western singer- sword man). Stayed at Jen-kwok Hotel ￥120.
Rode on a deluxe coach from Sword-kwok 劍閣Town to Chengdu 283km for ￥57. The Coach ticket included ￥2 compulsory for PICC insurance. My advice is to buy PICC stock in HK Ė guarantee profitable!
About 40km before reaching Chengdu, the driver stopped at a PetroChina gas station. Suddenly a petrol police car arrived at the same time. The highway (audit) petrol took away our coachís license plate. The driver, coach host, & all passengers including a handicapped man started arguing with the highway petrol for an hour. My understanding is that the passenger manifest did not match with the number of people onboard as the driver took 3 hitchers in the middle of the journey. Itís an offense in law!? Do you believe there is "Rule of Laws" in China? Finally we were released.
This was supposedly a first class coach, fully air-conditioned, with big fixed glass window. As such, it prevented people to open window to spit habitually. You guess what, they simply spitted onto the carpet. Imagine when dry up, bacteria for sure will float inside the coach and being taken up by all when breathe naturally. Air condition was not turned on. After arguing for over an hour, the coach host got back and he must have felt very hot inside the coach, he then pushed the vein of the coachís rooftop open for some fresh air at last!
We arrived Chengdu late because of audit petrol on the highway. After checked in to the Dream Youth Hostel ￥120, then we immediately went to Wu-hou-zhi 武候祠temple in memory of Kung-ming, a prime minister to King Lau-be of Shu-han dynasty. He was a genus applying strategically wind direction (e.g., fire arrows to burn war ships) and geographical features (e.g., Sword Gate defense) to overcome his enemy.
Dinner was served at Madam Chanís spicy bean curb 陳麻婆豆腐 & rice paste鍋巴.
We took taxi ￥29/ coach ￥12/ taxi ￥16 to see Sam-sing-heap 三星堆in Kwong-han 廣漢 Town. Excavations by archaeologists revealed the ancient civilization 4000 years ago. Many precious items such as porcelain, vase, golden masks, money trees, and others were found to be carried very sophisticated artistic design. Similar golden masks were also found in Egypt of the same period of time. The findings help us to understand the ancient PEST (political, economic, social, & technological) systems, but there are still some question marks. Was ruling in those days by monarchic or theocratic power? Worship on totem, nature, spirits? The scepter was symbolized for power or for hunting?
In the afternoon, we visited Shiu-kwok-zhi 照覺寺temple where I bought an auto-Buddhism-recitals tape recorder for only ￥15.
After returning to Chengdu, we went to the "Living Water" Park in the heart of the city. The ecologic design turned the formerly dirty & sting riverside into a piece of wetland suitable for recreation of the residents. Water flew through designed concrete petal bowls to intake more oxygen and filtered out dirt to make it hygienically suitable for human beings, pigeons and fish.
Dinner was served at a local restaurant, with red spicy oil dumpling紅油抄手, beef knife-cut noodle, & mutton soup for only ￥12.50. Evening was boring so we went to the bar street but it was so quiet. We did not think this was the Lan Kwai Fan in China!
We took taxi/coach/bus to Du-Jiang-Yan 都江堰. About 2000 years ago, 李冰Lee Pin, in Qing dynasty秦朝, scientifically designed and constructed its genus irrigation system and cleverly avoided flooding in the region. Using rattan ware to hold giant pebbles depositing into the strategic locations of the river, with anchor of triangular logs, succeeded to divide river into inner and outer streams without building a dam at all. Fish head, mud overflow tail, & vase inlet were the three major components of its system. A suspension bridge was also built by a couple for the convenience of traffic. Conclusion: Work smart, not work hard!
After returning to Chengdu, we visited Poet Duís thatched cottage 杜甫草堂. In the later Tang dynasty, Poet Du (AD712-770) had a miserable life that made him very sentimental and thus he was famous in poem.
Enjoyed 13 courses set dinner at ￥15 and sesame dumpling ￥2.
Woke up early to go to Green Goat Palace 青羊宮 (ticket ￥5), symbolized by a goat of Daoism 道教that has great influence in philosophy, social, science, culture & religion in China, especially during Tang dynasty.
Next, visited Man-shu-yuen文殊院, a Seem-chung 襌宗AD605 Buddha temple. This is a fully functional place Iíve ever visited, including vegetarian dining hall, recital hall, quarters, teahouse and etc. We took a break and had a cup of tea ￥5 at the verandah. Sichun people enjoy tea throughout the day. So "when youíre in Rome, act like Romans"! Later, Eddie joined us for tea.
Lastly, we went to the Yong-ling 永陵Museum of King Wong Kinís 王建tomb that was built in AD918 during the East Han 5-decade-ten-kingdoms. This was unique that it was a rare tomb built at ground level and accompanied by 24 female musicians statutes.
After reunion with Raymond & Hung, we had delicious lunch at husband-wife-lung-leaves before departing Chengdu.
Statistically I lost 2 lbs after the journey but fortunately my fat index remained at 15.5%.