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 Emei Shan: This morning we awoke to the sound of chanting monks and even louder cicadias. The Chinese version of this bug sounds like a cross between a buzz saw and an air-raid siren. Put thousands of these things together and you really have something going. Fortunately, the noise doesn't start until 4:30 am. Let's shatter any illusion that a monastery is supposed to be quiet: in China they're not. After another visit to our luxurious toilet, we went off into the jungle for another 20 km hike down the rest of Emei Shan. Maybe we should say out of Emei rather than down. Half the time it seemed we were going up the mountain. At least the Chinese layed down over 10,000 hand carved stone steps for us to walk upon. The heat was also a killer -- 37 degrees Celsius at 100 percent humidity. It was a death march through the villages that lined the trail. At least we had the thought of dinner at the next stop near another monastery. But dinner wasn't what we expected. It looked pretty good at first. Bread (or tofu?) blocks dipped in a light brown sauce with bits of meat. Then we realized that one of the pieces of meat was really a chicken head. Then we realized that this was a dish of chicken heads. We should have known that ordering from a Chinese-only menu was going to get us in trouble.
(Above) Finger-lickin' good (Below) On top of Emei Shan, lovers attach locks to these fences to symbolize everlasting romance. Locking our love Buddhist style!