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 Emei Shan: I think Shan must mean mountain, but I've been wrong before (earlier, I was using 'Zie Jen,' which means goodbye, as thank you - received some strange looks as I accepted gifts with a cheerful 'Zie Jen'). Today we went to the top of Emei, one of the four mountains sacred to Buddhism. Of course we don't know a thing about Buddhism, so we just enjoyed the views as we hiked down the mountain. Fabulous scenery! We covered about 20 km before we stopped for the night in a monastery. The monastery was high on culture and ambience but low on comfort. Set high in the mountain, the ancient Chinese architecture of the place looked grand, with round doors and hardwood everything. The canopy beds were also a nice touch. However, there were no Western toilets, meaning that you had to do your business squatting over a hole in the ground. Now I'll admit that the view from that hole was magnificent and if I ever do a book on "toilets across Asia" I'll be sure to include this one because of that fabulous mountain overlook. But that's where the fun ends (or just begins, depending on your perspective). Let's just say that my little league days as a baseball catcher didn't properly prepare me for this experience.
(Above) Marching on Emei (Below) Posh monastery accommodations