It had been a bit of a strange day. Original plan, and that which is on the itinerary was as follows:
1) Up and ready to go at 6:50am so we could walk down to Emei Shan town for breakfast
2) 2 hour bus ride up Emei Mountain to cable car station
3) Ride up cable car to peak of mountain, enjoy Golden Summit temple and views down the mountain.
4) Cable car ride back to station; bus down portion of mountain
5) Light lunch
6) 3 hour hike to monastery for the night. (A different monastery than last night.)
It was going to be a glorious and rugged day.
Items numbers 1 and 2 went fine, and we were lined up at the front of the queue, waiting for our turn. And then we waited, and waited and waited. Eventually, our guide came to let us know that the car was broken, and was being fixed. We waited a long while to see if it would get fixed so we could ride up the mountain. After about a 1.5-2 hour wait (i can’t remember exactly) we decided to go get lunch and see if we could try to get on later. But as we were down in the parking lot/outdoor food area, it was announced that there was no certainty that the cable car would be fixed today, so our guide called it off.
Itinerary has been amended as follows:
3) Wait in queue for cable car for 1.5-2 hours.
4) Street food lunch of questionable sausage and a cob of corn
5) Stand around waiting while the fog gets thicker and colder – the cable car station is probably 3/4 up a mountain.
6) Decision to go with back-up plan: no cable car and hike to monestary is postponed; immediately sun comes out – but it’s still cold because we’re 3/4 the way up a mountain
7) Bus for 1 hour or so; dropped off a portion of the way down the mountain
8) Walk 20 minutes to guesthouse, ending with like 100 killer steps
9) currently stationed at guesthouse on Emei Mountain, where it’s cold but there are electric mattress pads on the beds
10) Supper at the guesthouse will be at 6:15pm.
The plan for tomorrow has changed, since we were meant to be descending from the monastery. Instead we have the option to hike there and back if we want.
I was cold up the top of the mountain. I’m wearing six layers including my raincoat, all of which I am still wearing because I am still cold in the guesthouse.
[Brief pause in writing to discuss Hong Kong with roomie].
I knew it would be cold, but I didn’t want to pack a big jacket just to use for a couple of days. In the days leading up to this part of the trip I suggested that I was going to just wear all of my clothes as a solution to staying warm, and it may have sounded like a joke, but I was serious. I’m wearing all my warm things, cardie/hoodie/ rain jacket over a tank top/t-shirt/long-sleeve shirt combo. It would have been fine if we’d done all the walking we were supposed to do, but a lot of the time was spent waiting, first in a cold queue and waiting room while waiting for the cable car, and then later outside while figuring out what to do next.
My fine new cashmere scarf helped a great deal.
I wasn’t too bored waiting in line for the cable car for the first little while because I had a good chat with a teacher from Inner Mongolia. He is traveling around China with his 4-year-old son. He noticed my wee Canada flag on my backpack and asked if I am from Canada, and we started discussing our travel itineraries; and good food; and Buddhism: and good places to visit in Canada. He explained to me the TV show that was playing in the waiting room (a bunch of young women describe themselves without being seen, and then a young man chooses from among them; also, there are experts to help.) He said he prays at temple to help him deal with stress and anxieties and life, and that Buddhist temples will help clean your heart. I agreed with this last part because that is often how I feel when walking through them, even without praying.
[Longish pause in writing to hbe dinner in the dining room of the guesthouse – very delicious. Also, while out, our room and electric blankets had a chance to warm up. Cozy warm!]
At dinner our guide provided some changes for tomorrow’s itinerary, which produced much talking over one another in the group. There is now the option to try to get up to the summit again. Otherwise, we can go for a walk down here towards the monastery but not all the way and see a nice view, and then descend the mountain with enough time for massages in the town. I’ve decided that I don’t need to see the summit. As fancy as it looks.
On the way up to the cable car station, there were monkeys.
I didn’t want to get too close, but they’d run up to the path and steal snacks. (Not my snacks.)
Side note: no western toilet in our room at the guesthouse. My roomie and I are dismayed and whining about this.
Administrative note: I forgot to write about the pandas. I’ll backtrack and write about that soon. Maybe now if I don’t get distracted.