is the capital of Sichuan province and a major gateway into the Chinese southwest.
After spending considerable amounts of time there stuck in traffic, we managed
to escape to Wolong, an international biosphere preserve, set aside for panda
preservation, and to Leshan - to see Da Fo, the Grand Buddha. 71 meters high,
carved into a face of a cliff overlooking the river, Da Fo is the largest buddha
in the world.
Wolong, a Sleeping Dragon Nature Reserve, consists of huge mountains covered with lush forest, from above resembling the spine of a huge green lying dragon. Although Wolong is a nature reserve, it is inhabited by the local Tibetans and Qiang, surviving by herding yak, sheep, and goats. Tibetans there are assimilated, speak Chinese, and in general less traditional than their cousins elsewhere.
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