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Detailed Itinerary



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JE 2008

China time and date:


How’s the Weather Up There, Buddha?

Hi everybody. Thanks for your patience. Due to a variety of circumstances, there will be a couple of days along the way when the pages won’t be up till midday or later. But most, will be available each morning. Again, thanks for your patience.

Okay, so let’s get it on! We have a ton of fantastic photos today, along with a report from one of our three chaperones, Kurt Tietz, and more sound bites!.

The group traveled to Leshan where they visited the Leshan Giant Buddha. 233 feet tall, this statue took more than 90 years to carve, from 713 to 803! (Mt. Rushmore took 14 years to carve.)

tn_Dazu and ride to Leshan 048The group also experienced the Dazu Rock Carvings. Get ready for this -- more than 50,000 sculptures and more than 100,000 inscribed Chinese characters! The Dazu Rock Carvings provide awareness of ancient China's culture, arts, philosophy, religion and history.

Alright everybody, let’s gather around over here and we’ll take a look at these amazing places. First up, you’ll see photos of the ancient Dazu rock carvings and the area along the tn_Dazu and ride to Leshan 149way from Leshan to Chengdu.

And speaking of crazy traffic! Uh, I can’t tell who’s going where. Can you imagine taking driver’s ed. in this place?

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Dazu Rock Carvings

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Be sure to read the plaque (top row, right) about the carvings.

Okay, before we get on with the visit to the Min River and giant Buddha, let’s hear from Kurt. Take it away, Kurt!

Kurt Tietz (Chaperone), Leshan and Chengdu, China 4/2/08

“After breakfast today we took a quick boat ride to see the 2,000 year old Giant Buddha in Leshan. It’s the world’s largest and took 90 years to carve into the mountain. This was followed by a stroll through the city.

Two highlights for me were the “farmer’s market” we went through and the pastry shop. The market began with freshly butchered meat laid out on tables. As we walked down the aisle and looked at the hearts and kidneys I could see Melissa’s hand and sweatshirt move up to cover her nose and, hopefully, the smell. The variety of vegetables and spices is always amazing. We passed the pastry shop just before lunch but decided it was worth spoiling our appetites for a few sweets. We were not let down.

The ride to Dujiangyan and its irrigation system was around two hours long. The system was constructed over 2,000 years ago to divert water from the Minjiang River onto the Chengdu plain. There was a lot of water already flowing through this time of year. During the wet season there is more than double the volume and they are able to control it. I can’t even get my sprinkler to water the garden!

On a broader note, I’ve had a blast since arriving in China. For me, the food has made the biggest impression. Trying all of the new dishes, attempting to discern what some of them are or what they’re seasoned with is a continuing adventure.

Speaking of adventures, every time we get on a bus I am amazed at the way people navigate the roads. It’s not unusual at all to drive against oncoming traffic for long stretches at a time. People and cars continually dodge in and out and always come out unscathed and unfazed.

China is truly a vast and varied country. We can drive for miles and see endless new construction. In between all of the new construction sites you may see run down shacks or empty lots that have been turned into garden plots.

Rather than going on endlessly, I’ll close by saying that the best part of the program is seeing the reactions of students on the trip. Thinking of their faces when they discovered a chicken head in the soup or when they were swarmed by Chinese students after a performance is truly an unforgettable sight. I think that they are truly enjoying themselves and making some great memories.”

Amazing sights, different food, crazy driving, construction, the theme continues to weave their way through the reports. So, tell us more about those pastries, Kurt! Yum!

And now we move on to see the famous giant Buddha. This is one huge Buddha! The group also toured the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project. For most of us, we know nothing it, but after seeing and reading about this incredible undertaking today, you will not forget it any time soon.

Li Bing and his son created this irrigation system, eliminating the constant flooding and allowing the area to prosper. Known as the “Treasure of Sichuan.” In Chinese mythology, Li Bing is known as the vanquisher of the River God.

Okay, let’s stop yappin’ and start clappin’ as we applaud these fantastic photos! (Okay, that was stupid, but it’s been a long day already!) Let’s begin with the big Buddha.

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I think I hurt my jaw as it hit the floor in awe! Look at the size of that Buddha! His fingers are 11 feet long! Wow.

Okay, everybody, we’ll close for now. The group will be spending their last day in Chongqing tomorrow, visiting the Panda breeding center and performing with students at the Longquan Middle School.

Enjoy the nice weather and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Zai Jian -- for now.


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