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I had a couple of interesting days in Sichuan-China's southwest province. Sichuan is a top tourist draw in China, keeping catching my eyes for years. I had a week for my journey, which was somehow enough for this imaginable land. The places on my list were Jiuzhaigou National Park, an amazing gully with waterfalls, snowy mountains views, Tibet villages; Huanglong another beautiful place with some awesome colored pools, Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and the sacred Mt Emei.
I took an afternoon flight from Guilin to Chengdu. It was a cloudy day and I got little on my way. Chengdu is big. Chengdu is modern. As I stepped out of my taxi I was dwarfed by high blocks around me.
I started my next day by a 6:30 morning call. After a hearty breakfast in my hotel I caught a local tourist bus for Jiuzhaigou. The landscape of Jiuzhaigou has been part of my imagination. My imagination was inspired by watercolor paintings and movie scenes.( the world famous movie ‘Hero' was filmed here. The director-Mr. zhangyimou was wise to choose this land as part of backgrounds of his film). The journey was long, 12 hours on bus. We arrived at the front area of jiuzhai in the late afternoon. After a quickly checked in, I dropped my bags at the hotel and hanged out around. There were not many tourists at this time of the year and it was really tranquil. I even heard bird tweeting in the bush nearby.
Jiuzhaigou is a fantastic place. The park is very large so they have shuttle bus running between sights. The first place I stumbled up on was Shuzheng Gully. The area is famous for its lakes and waterfalls. As many as 40 lakes are found here, occupying more than 40% of the total Jiuzhai area. It was the dry season here and some of the lakes were empty. I visited the Reed Lake, Rhinoceros Lake. There grow many reeds on shore of the Reed Lake, which give the lake it name. It is a quite, idyllic place where birds fly freely, insects cheer.
The next day I took a bus to the top of the park and saw many amazing water and mountain scenery. I wandered on and found myself in front of a gorgeous waterfall, which is over 320m wild and the widest in china. It did make a noise but fun to watch for a while. By the end of the day, I was extremely exhausted.
I found more extraordinary beautiful lakes and a Tibet village in the third day, including the Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake. The Panda Lake is said to be a hunting area for the lovely giant pandas but I.found none of them. The Five Flower Lake was the most amazing of all the sites I saw in Jiuzhaigou national Park. It is awesome, fantastic. The lake is large, the largest of its kind here. The water in the lake strangely assume five different colors in sunshine, light yellow, dark green, deep blue, jadeite and our guide had that the lake has never froze even in severe cold days when all the other lakes are covered with thick ice. Many questions were asked about this mysterious lake "how did it form" "any explanation for the five colors of the water" etc. Our guide was kind and knowledgeable. She answered all our questions patiently. She told us the water appeared so due to the different water depths and silts on the bottom. ?
Jiuzhai means nine villages in English. It is so called for the nine Tibet villages located in the gully, however only three of them have been open to the public. When traveling, I love to visit the locals and I really enjoy a great time while with them, talking, dining even playing with the kids. The Tibet people were really kind. They invited me to their houses and feasted me with yoghurt, mutton and some delicious stuff I have never seen before.
My next destination is Huanglong. Huanglong is another wonderful place located not far from Jiuzhaigou National Park. Our bus was running through some valleys with an elevation of more than 4000 kilometer. Scenery en route was the huge snowy mountains towering high up against the clearly blue sky.
With an elevation of more than 3000 km, Huanglong is the highest natural park in china. Canister oxygen is available for sale at the foot of the park for those who need it, and oxygen supply stations have been built within the scenic area.
The park is made up of 3400 multi-colored ponds. I saw water features unlike anything I have seen before. The water is flowing out of the pool evenly all around the edge, like an overflowing bath, which creates deep translucent pools. Water in pools cascades down from one into the next forming an amazing scenery. The bacteria living in the water colors it blue, green and yellow. I had a great time walking around the park in the bright morning sunshine.
Sedan-chairs are in service with visitors who do not want to walk. They have a chair suspended on two bamboo poles carried by two guys. We are surprised at the number of people who took this option. 400 rmb( 50usd) for a round trip , the price was quite reasonable.
The ancient water conservation works-Doujiangyan Irritation Project was my reason to Moxian. The project was completed thousands of years ago in the ancient Qin Dynasty. In ancient times, the Minjiang surging from the Minshan, claimed loss of lives and properties. So the governor decided to build the crucial project there. After its completion, the Doujiangyan system successfully controlled the flood and served as an important means of transportation, irritation as well. Visitors can find many ancient sites. A temple called Erwang Temple was built nearby to commemorate the two ancient engineers who made great contribution to the project. Many locals were there piously worshipping their great ancestors. I noticed an old, fatigued lady bending her back burning incense before images of the great two persons.. I said' nihao"( Chinese words mean hello) to her and was returned with a smile and another "Nihao" .
The Giant Buddha in Leshan is absolutely worth seeing. The huge sculpture sits at the conjunction of Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi River. It is the largest Buddha sculpture in the world and history had that the carving work took as long as 90 years. The last place I visited was Mt. Emei. It is one of the sacred mountains in China. Buddhist temples dotted the mountain. The place was popular with pilgrims. Back to chengdu in the afternoon.