Le Shan (Giant Buddha), Sichuan, China Week 12 13th July 2011
Before we see the giant seated Buddha we passed the Drinking Pavillion.

Well versed in the artistic significance of Chinese drinking culture after our visit to Wliangye we understood the references to poets having a drink before composing.

It was a nice spot overlooking the river.

The Buddha has been carved from a soft sandstone cliff on the river.

Three rivers really. The confluence of the Min, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.

These buildings were on the opposite bank to us, between two of the rivers.

A misty, drizzly, day.

There is a very practical reason for carving giant Buddhas instead of small ones.

Any smaller and the rock breaks.

You'll have to think about that......

This is the third giant Buddha carved into a cliff face that I've seen. I had the good fortune to visit the standing Buddhas at Bamyan in Afghanistan in 1978. Before the Russians invaded and before the Taliban blew them up.

What a silly world!

There is a rather precarious series of steps running down the carved face of the cliff.
There have been some repairs done to one of Buddha's legs.

Blocks of sandstone rather than carved cliff.

There is a panel behind the head where tests on the best way to conduct repairs have been started.

Buddha's toes are rather large.

We don't know who trims the toenails.

The path up the other side is cut into the cliff.

The other way of seeing the Buddha is from a boat. There's a landing stage below us.

Monk Haitong. The person behind the carving.

Started about 713 AD. About 70 m high.

Like many large undertakings the project was besieged by politics.

At one stage, to demonstrate his resolve, he gouged out his own eyes.

The project was completed some years after his death.

At times there are large queues to walk down and up the stairs.

We were early and it wasn't a weekend.

Couldn't help wondering if the cleaner was ever tempted to ring the bell.
A tour group making its way slowly down the steps.
The car park opposite the entrance the the Buddha park made a good campsite.

None of our campsites are particularly special. Just functional.

One thing we've understood is that public space is at a premium. Most useful space has a crop growing.

Leaving Le Shan was interesting.

The road we wanted to follow through the town had a height restriction so we went for a detour.

We met a couple of cars before following the cyclist to the end of this single width road.

We needed to turn left onto a 4 lane main road. 

Last night we'd listened to episode one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The words "don't panic" were large in our minds.

Fortunately a taxi appeared from nowhere intent on doing a u-turn. He stopped the traffic from the left so we helped by moving towards the middle of the road.

We simply kept moving at a slow pace and merged into the line of traffic from the right. It was simply as if it was expected of us.

We also think we have solved the puzzle of roundabouts.

It seems that if we proceed at an even pace when entering there comes a time when the stream of cars from the left that seemingly insists on passing in front of us calmly shifts a little to pass behind us.

There is always the driver out to prove a point but mostly it all works fairly smoothly. 

Onto the expressway and heaps of hoardings as we near Chengdu.

Just an idle thought but we couldn't help noticing that most of the adverts were words and numbers. Occasionally there were images trying to convey a message.

We needed an oil change.

Figured we needed somewhere reputable so bowled up at the local Mitsubishi dealer.

They only sell and service cars and small 4wd. Never seen anything our size. Not helped of course that the trucks may be branded Fuso in China.

They were obviously trying to be helpful and after much discussion and lots of phone calls they had some appropriate oil and a way of changing it. A quick phone call to Zupps in Brisbane (Mitsubishi Truck Dealer) told us how much oil was required. I supplied the oil filter.

The gentleman in the collar and tie is retrieving my drill bit from the temporary repair and substituting a much more appropriate plug.
Two obviously well trained technicians tackled the oil change.
Nearly done with the diesel leak fix.
There is a time to stand back and let things happen.

I was confident that Susanna had enough understanding and had translated well - she had never previously heard of an oil change let alone organised one.

People looked like they were approaching the tasks professionally.

Very different to the quick fix to the exhaust required a few days earlier. Messing with the engine always has the potential to go horribly wrong. I was probably being over cautious.

There were up to 6 people involved at various times.

They didn't seem to have much other work.

They also removed and cleaned the air filter. It was surprisingly dusty.

Adding the new oil.

They'd understood my concern about over filling by just emptying two containers in and checked the level frequently (with appropriate wait for oil to reach the sump).

They normally lift vehicles in the air to get their used oil thingo underneath.

They decanted our used oil out of the old sump they'd used to collect it.

They had two requests.

One was that we pay them. The other that we have our photo taken.

The photo was of the two technicians.

A successful oil change.

We drove the 60km or so to Dujiangyan. Site of a 2000 year old irrigation scheme.

We found a suitable car park and settled in for the night.

A bit like Blackpool Illuminations.

The bridge over one of the irrigation channels was nicely illuminated, as were some surrounding buildings and the pagoda on the hill.

For the techies the lights are leds.

Chengdu, Sichuan, China Week 12 14th - 15th July 2011

Tony LEE Mon, 18 Jul 11 15:39:41 +1000
"We also think we have solved the puzzle of roundabouts. "

You have cracked part of the code, but I worked out there is a universal road rule.

Simply stated as "You give way to any vehicle that appears to be in front of you regardless of its direction of travel" Rule is best 'imposed' at full speed, but when nerve fails and you are forced to stop, can be re-imposed by slowly inching out until oncoming traffic has no choice but to let you in as per the backup rule

Backup rule states "When crossing a roadway on foot, or pushing into or across a line of traffic that is failing to obey the universal rule, close your eyes and walk/drive at a slow steady speed without stopping" This results in each lane (term used very loosely) of traffic passing in front of you until a fatality seems inevitable, when it then passes behind you.

Another that apparently runs contrary to the universal rule is "If you can't see oncoming traffic because of blind corners or humps, you can safely assume there isn't any and proceed accordingly"

Other rules involve proper use of the horn, real purpose of pedestrian crossings and other arcane situations, but best not to confuse you too much.

Enjoy reading about your adventure. Hope the internet access holds up once you leave China.


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