|Not a sight you see in LA|
|Camila riding an elephant on Golden Summit|
After a bunch of pictures, we clambered up onto the final promenade. And there was another incredible surprise. Beyond the huge golden Pauxian Tower adorned with the heads of his previous incarnations, was a beautiful golden pavilion also coated with fresh paint and glowing in the sunset. I stared at the light bathing the two monuments, the promenade and stairs below, and off in the distance the sun setting over the black lumps in the Sea of Clouds. But the fun hadn't even stopped there.
We walked to the far end, and just beyond a railing was a view that I will never forget.
Our perch, at around 3100 m, was above a sheer vertical cliff that plummeted down until it disappeared in the clouds below. Sometimes at the top of a tall tower, there is a glass floor that makes you feel like you are in danger when you really aren't. Standing at the edge of that monumental precipice, the same thrill came over me. Before us was the true Sea of Clouds. It was a white ocean. The surface had features, ripples and waves frozen in place. Below to the left, where we had climbed only an hour ago, a cloud rushed over the ridge like the fingers of a ghostly giant. The fingers fell down the other side, yet somehow the clouds below moved up to meet it. It was a circular dance of mist on a colossal scale.
Off in the distance stood an attached sheer peak called Wanfoding. At its top, perched like a gnat, stood another golden temple. In the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, there is a scene at the end where the young woman who becomes a sword master loses everything. She climbs to the top of a sacred mountain, walks to the edge, and falls gracefully away. She seems to float down, slowly, and then disappear into the clouds below. In Chinese mystical thought there is a belief that jumping from the top of Emei Shan brings one ecstasy; nirvana. I had to admit, from where I stood it looked like the clouds might indeed wrap around my body like a spiritual blanket and catch my fall.
I leaned over the railing and imagined what it would feel like to leap.