Thursday, April 25, 2013 – Mt. Huangshan
We arrived at the hotel around 16:00, right on schedule. We started out this morning meeting up at 7:00. Took a taxi to the bus station, then took a bus to Tankou. Then took a bus to the hot springs after a quick breakfast with a lady who seemed to be running a convenience store and two hotels at once. The real journey began at 9:45. For how much distance we covered, and for how arduous the way was, I’m proud of our pace.
We walked about 14 kilometers, or about 8.5 miles. 99% uphill. Unlike the uneven paths of the rice terraces, there were infinite steps.
This was not an easy climb! I really didn’t know if I could finish in the beginning.
A lot of people stare at us, still. Today everyone was saying hello to us and they all wanted pictures with Chris and Frank. Only two guys wanted to take a picture with me, and only because they thought I was Brazilian. I’ll take it as a compliment.
Foreigners are still a rare sight, even here. It’s crazy the reminders of how small the world can be. Oddly enough, one girl actually knew that Frank was German. She’d studied abroad there. This girl and her male companion, who was planning to soon leave for study abroad in Munich, started conversing with us in German. An American speaking with Chinese in German on a mountain. Cool.
Everywhere you turn are of course the annoyingly loud tourist groups, but also amazing views. It reminds me a bit of Sedona, the bare, red, jutting rocks.
We decided to upgrade to a triple room instead of the dorms – a very good choice! We did book dorm beds for 120 RMB (21 USD) per person, separate male and female areas. A drag. Now we can hang out comfortably. No strangers to negotiate. Yes, it was three times more expensive, but hey, we earned it. The room is swanky. Even if it did cost 1080 RMB (196 USD).
Once we checked in, we got dinner at the adjacent cafeteria. It wasn’t great, but at 55 RMB (10 USD) a plate, it was fine. Better than instant noodles.
Frank and I felt like going on a little walk after dinner. My glutes were burning, but it was still early and I wanted to explore as much of the area as possible. We were just looking around nearby buildings of the resort area when we spotted a monkey on a nearby cliff. If that wasn’t exciting enough, we saw a second monkey eating fruit off a tree right next to us. Then, in unison, dozens of monkeys appeared and walked towards the mountain! We even saw baby monkeys!
We went and got Chris. I was so moved I wanted to cry. I took as many pictures and videos as I could. I feel blessed to have witnessed this. It’s like they came out just for us, rather, something inspired us to find them.
After the amazing monkeys, Chris was determined to go up to a rock formation to see the sunset. There actually weren’t that many people up there, but the colors over the mountaintops and the trees were spectacular.
The over-priced, tepid Tsingtao in a can I am now drinking is best beer of my life. The shower was the most beloved shower of my life. Worn out.