By Rrahim Gashi and Benjamin Mak
Day 9 started with a special laundry service provided by our local tour guide Susi. Afterwards, we began our long journey to Leshan Grand Buddha and Lingyun Temple. The whole trip was covered by the bus service provided by the tourist agency. We started our journey at around 0800 am but due to the traffic jam the schedule was delayed. Nevertheless, our tour guide Susi did an amazing job by being flexible and adopted to the situation successfully. She quickly changed the schedule by having lunch before visiting the tourist attraction. The meal was served in a traditional round table and each person tried to make their own combinations. Afterwards, the whole delegation entered in the coach again and finally drove towards the mountain of Leshan’s Grand Buddha.
Arriving at the foot of the mountain, we had to walk couple of stairs before enjoying the overwhelming natural scenery of Chengdu. It was a blessing to see more healthy landscape after the dry scenery of Lanzhou. As a result, the air quality was better as well and there were no masks needed. At the top of the mountain, we had the chance to get a decent view of the Leshan Grand Buddha, which was built in the rock. The construction is impressive by its size and accuracy. The legend says that the city was plagued by floods, whereas a monk once suggested to build a buddha into the rock of the mountain as spiritual assistance. He started the project and created a fund to raise financial assets for its construction. Surprisingly, after the Buddha was built, the rivers stopped to overflow and the whole land was finally protected and fertile. The locals adore the Buddha and believe deeply in its spiritual power. Nevertheless, scientists found out that the reason for the protection from the floods might be due to the stones, which fell in the river during the construction and therefore changed its past streaming behavior.
After the long visit to the Buddha including the temple, the travel agency has organized our dinner as well. Our tour guide Susi already prepared the reservation as well as the preferences for each person’s soup taste for the hot pot dinner during the ride back to the city. Thanks to our tour guide we could really relax the whole ride and got back to the city at around 8-9 pm.
The delegation went straight to the hotpot restaurant and we were shown to our very own room for dining. After entering our dining room, we saw a lot of small hot pot stoves for every single person with the preferred soup, which we could choose between not spicy, very spicy, mix or vegetarian.
The dinner was excellent and on top, all the beverages and food were all inclusive. Later, we went back to the hotel and were finally having some spare time after a long rich cultural day.