Huangshan Part 1
Trip Start Apr 05, 2009
21Trip End Jun 02, 2009
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"Ralph" & The Lost Camera
We arrived at Huangshan and took another bus up to the trailhead. Jeff and I got separated when we boarded and he ended up on another bus. He had handed me is camera and I took it with me. We winded our way up the mountain in the huge bus. Some of the turns the driver was taking were so sharp I could hardly believe the bus could handle it. It was a little bit of a nerve-wracking drive as the driver was going fast and coming within a few feet of other large buses coming down the mountain. As we swerved around the corners I heard a "splash" like sound of liquid come from the front of the bus. I looked down the aisle as a white liquid streamed past me. "Someone must have spilled their milk." I guessed. As a strong, repugnant odor drifted back through the bus I knew that something wasn't quite right. As I leaned forward to get a better view I saw a little boy (let's call him Ralph), his shirt soaked and speckled with tiny chunks. By now I am sure you realize what had happened. He couldn't take the extremely sharp corners and had lost his breakfast. The odor started to fill the entire bus as I anxiously hoped we would arrive soon. When we did arrive I made my way off the bus as fast as possible. I waited at the top as Jeff's bus was behind mine. When he got off the bus he asked me for his camera. I froze. With a panic stricken look on my face I padded down my person and came to a alarming realization: In my haste I had forgotten Jeff's camera on the bus. We hastily questioned two women stationed in a booth where the buses arrived and departed. They indicated that they wanted to help but they would need more information about what bus I had been on. I couldn't think. I didn't remember the number of the bus or any details. Just as I was losing hope I immediately remembered "Ralph". I made a barfing gesture (with accompanying sound) to the lady and she immediately responded with a look of understanding. They knew which bus to look in. When the bus came back up the hill Jeff was reunited with his camera. Jeff said, "Thank you so much" to the ladies. One lady responded back in Chinese while laughing with: "Don't thank us. Thank the boy that threw up!"
A Girl Called Fish
Jeff and I started out setting a pretty good pace. The first hour or so was pretty tiring until our legs got into the groove and finally accepted the challenge that lie ahead of us. The trail up the mountain can best be described as StairMaster on steroids. And I thought the Great Wall had a lot of stairs! Upon resting and getting a bite to eat I was asked by a group of Chinese young people to take a photo. Wanting to become at least somewhat acquainted (and also to diffuse the awkwardness that these situations sometimes make me feel) I asked for the girls name that was making the request. "My english name is Fish!" she responded proudly. It took a good amount of control to not burst out laughing. Fish? I wasn't sure if that was a name she had seriously chosen for herself or if it was a joke. Jeff and I met up with the same group later. We cracked jokes about naming ourselves "Dog", "Cat", and "Mouse" to fit in with Fish.
As we continued to make our way higher up the mountain the views just got better. I have come to a realization that I have somewhat of a trigger-finger when it comes to photography. I definitely take an unecessary amount of pictures in my travels. I suppose that would make my motto: Shoot now...ask questions later. In my defense: Huangshan offers so many spectacular vistas that it is almost impossible to get a bad picture up there. I will say that you have got to be quick with the camera in some situations. Some areas on the mountain attract a large concentration of the tourists such as the Jade Screen Peak where an famous tree called the "Welcoming Pine" is located. If you want a picture you seriously have to assert yourself and get in...*SNAP*...and get out! Jeff got several good macro shots of the countless number of padlocks attached to the chains on the safety rails. Toursits buy these locks, have something inscribed on them, and attach them to the railings as a permanent fixture to remain on the mountain. There were all manner of different shapes and sizes to the locks.
Jeff and I hiked for nearly six hours before reaching our hotel. The hotel is literally located up on the mountain in a small valley. It was pretty "swanky" looking (as Jeff aptly described it) compared to anything I have stayed in up to this point. The name of the hotel was Bai Yun or "White Cloud". It was a white building with pillars wrapped in a sort of a gold foil. Several smartly dressed receptionists greeted us as we entered. The room was a "dorm" style with six other guests besides Jeff and I. We layed down and had an evening nap that was most welcome after hiking all day.
The adventure up at Huangshan continues in the next entry....