Le Shan Giant Buddha (le shan da fu／乐山大副
This week I accompanied my host mom on a business trip to Chengdu. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, and is known for its spicy food. I had a great time there, even if internet access was spotty.
While there, I went to see pandas, hiked up a mountain to visit Buddhist temples, and saw the Le Shan Giant Buddha.
The pandas were really cool. I saw toddlers and teeenagers, and both were huge. The toddlers were eating, and they basically just shove a bunch of bamboo in their mouths and chew on it.
I hiked up Qingcheng Mountain, which had a number of Buddhist temples on it. The temples didn't really interest me much, since I've seen so many since I've been here and they all basically look the same. It was really cool to look down the mountain and see all the green scenery.
The Le Shan Giant Buddha was amazing. It was carved out of a mountain in I think the Tang Dynasty because the monks thought it would help stop the river from flooding (apparently it worked). It's gigantic, and it looks out onto the convergent point of three different rivers, with the city off in the distance. It was really cool.
The Earthquake: As you know, next month is the one year anniversary of the May 12, 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. The epicenter was only about 30 or 40 miles from Chengdu. I saw some buildings that had damaged sections, and even an entire street where all the buildings were empty. In the countryside, there were some buildings whose bricks were laying in disarray on the ground, but I'm not sure if that was from the earthquake. The point is, almost a year later there's still a lot of work to do. Many people who lost their homes and/or businesses still have not regained their losses. It kind of reminded me of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I've been down there several times since the Hurricane because my brother goes to Tulane, and there are still a lot of damaged houses and many people sleeping in tents under overpasses. I guess China and America have that in common.