I want to first reply to those who have commented about Qing Cheng Mountain:
If anyone has ever been there you may remember the very large gate that leads from the parking lot into the actual temples area? That gate is gone. All of the small bed and breakfast inns along the road up the mountains were either partially or completely destroyed. The road up to Qing Cheng Mountain is still blocked right now, but police, medical and military personnel are in the area helping those people who live and work on the mountain out.
According to Charlie, the damage is extensive and in many places irreparable … the mountain was raining boulders throughout the first day and rain caused mudslides the next day and most likely today as well.
According to local reports, water is hard to come by in the Qing Cheng Mountain/Du Jiangyan area and caravans of cars and trucks are headed north from Chengdu oaded with water to help the victims of the quake. They just today reached the worst hit areas of Wenchuan and Li Xian. I will keep info coming as I get it. There should be pictures of Qing Cheng Mountain up from Charlie either at his blog, the 19th Step or here.
Last night my whole crew rolled out to where i live in the countryside 20 minutes southeast of Chengdu. I have a little farmhouse up there with kitties and a stankin dog. We rested and slept for the first time in a while. Played chess and talked about the quake. We all firmly agree that the CHinese government and People are doing the best they can — which is quite a lot — to help the people and areas destroyed by thte quake.
The BBC interviewed Charlie last night about his experience, but it was a little disappointing. The large media is very hard-working and diligent, but they have a certain frame that they place on the news and certain methods to maintain what they hope is “objectivity.” It truly is a machine, the media.
Anyway, we have a plan to head up in two days with a busload of water. When it happens I’ll keep you all posted.