What could be more appropriate activity for a Sunday than to take a drive in the country. Our group drove out of Chengdu at about 9 in the morning, while most of the local population was still asleep. Our destination was Leshan, the 12th largest city in the province (3 million people), which is home to a famous sculpture of the Buddha. The sculpture sits above the confluence of three rivers and was built with the purpose of seeking the Buddha’s influence to stop the capsizing of small boats (well this was in 713 AD). The best views are from the water so we took to a boat and cruised downstream to see the statue.
After a great lunch of local noodles we drove to Huang Long Shi village (Yellow Dragon River), a popular tourist destination for Chengdu residents. The largely reconstructed main street runs either side of a small stream. Shops selling food and totally pointless souvenirs abound. We sat down in one of the tea houses for a spot of people watching. To one side we could also see some of the carved stone frogs that decorated the stream bed.
Soon it was time to head back to town and in that time honoured tradition we joined the rest of the locals in a massive traffic jam. Ah there is nothing like a drive in the country!
PS apologies for the picture quality, I had to do these late in the evening.