Sunday, July 5, 2009

More rugged vacationing

We are currently in Lake Lugu on the Sichuan/Yunnan border after going to see the LeShan giant buddha, which I believe is just flat out the biggest Buddha in the world. It was really cool, we can post pictures later.

We also climbed up Mt. Emei, which is one of the 4 sacred Buddhist Chinese mountains. It took two days and we had to sleep in a monastery on top of one of the peaks. The dorm rooms were sex-segregated and Andy got pinched by some monstrous rat/cockroach in the middle of the night. Also there are native Tibetan macaques that live on Emei Shan and they are surprisingly scary. The guide book talked about "monkey tolls" on the path, where you have to pass by monkeys expecting a hefty fee in food and sparkly or enticing goods such as cameras, wallets, etc. In the official monkey protection areas, ladies with slingshots follow each monkey and prevent too much mischief, but outside of those areas you're on your own. Andy and I almost got attacked by a group of ten to twelve monkeys with their babies - a couple of them started making truly terrifying growling sounds, but we avoided eye contact and held threatening looking sticks, and we passed without incident.

Lake Lugu is really pretty but maybe not quite as weird as you would expect. It's purportedly the only matriarchal society left in the world. They have all kinds of goddess mountains and stuff, and the line of descent goes through the mother instead of the father. As far as we can tell, men don't have too much importance in society. Anyway it's also home to a huge plateau lake (we think we're about 2 kilometers above sea level), and the lake is really gorgeous.

We're probably leaving tomorrow to go to Lijiang, since this place is gorgeous but life is a little slow and too boring for Andy. It's weird because I'm getting more and more homesick and wanting western food and stuff, but I know we'll be leaving for good in two weeks, so I should probably try to soak up Chinese culture even more. However, I guess Lijiang and Dali are big backpacker towns so it's probably really easy to pretend like you're barely in China at all. While we were trekking on Emei Shan, I dreamt of coffee and french fries, so it's hard to pick another bowl of tomato noodles over a delicious western breakfast when it's available.


Linda said...

you're leaving in 2 weeks!?!?!? FUNNN

Kate said...

Tomato noodles sounds like a very depressing breakfast.

You'll have to let us know your return Itinerary so we can try to visit and hear China stories in person!

Anonymous said...

Quit monkeying around and get back to the good old USA! We miss you guys!