Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

What Huang Shan is famous for

Where there's a will there's a way....

Not a lot since last entry. I decided I couldn't quite face Shanghai, so messed around and then spent most of the afternoon in the Garden of the Humble Administrator again, chilling, and drooling over the bonsais. And then 5 hours in the train station. If you think there are some interesting cases in British train and bus stations, you should see Chinese ones. I am never quite sure whether they are homeless mad opiate addicts, or just peasants from the deep country come to town to have their gills removed and their toes counted.

The Weston Team (God bless them all) bought me a blow up cushion to sit on, and I have been resisting using it as I thought it was just too uncool for a hardened independent traveller like me, but after feeling the effect of 10 hours in another railway station, I thought fuck it, who cares. I am constantly being stared at by Chinese anyway, so what difference does it make. And foreign tour groups don't get to hang around the places I do, so there's no chance of any loss of cred in Western eyes. This may not be sustainable though, as I am about to reach new heights of discomfort on Wednesday when I do a 20 hour hard-seat train to Guilin, specifically to Yangshuo, very popular with backpackers apparently. It will have to be the cushion nevertheless.

Anyway, another overnight hard sleeper to the city of Tunxi (2,000,000) in Anhui Province, also known as Huang Shan Shi in honour of the Huang Shan Mountain(s) about 60 kms away. Huang Shan and Guilin (where I go Weds) are considered by Chinese to be the two most beautiful places, and you will recognise them from your classic chinese paintings, etc. Just to give you a taster, I have found a couple of pics some other person in this hostel left on the desktop, I could only wish to take such good ones myself. And I am still unsure about the stair route in the photo. It is also another of these famous Taoist Moutains, like Tai Shan.

Nice hostel, good range of people, as I do get fed up of being the only westerner in Chinese places. And at last I managed to burn my CDs and access my-mails properly. Spent a lot of the day doing laundry, internetty things, etc. I tried unsuccesfully to get sleeper tickets to Guilin, even got one of the hostel staff to go as well, but we both got the same answer, no sleepers for days. 20 hours on a hard seat! Words can't express how I feel about that.

At least I have a window seat though (I think - though later found out I hadn't, as my Chinese 'seat next to the window', was taken as the 'seat next to the window seat') so I can at least lean on the window to sleep, and won't have all the people in the aisle leaning on me. I also had to go to the Police Station for some reason to get a permit to go to this village I want to go to on Wednesday, God knows why, and God knows how I would have got it without speaking any Mandarin. And I whipped off to wander the backstreets for a few hours of an old town half an hour away whose name I can't remember right now. I haven't got the nerve to take what would have been all the good people pics, but it was interesting.

And tomorrow, leave here at 6.30, bus to Huangshan Mountain, already booked in a dorm with shower on the Mountain top tomorrow night, to explore the peaks of the summit, watch sunset and sunrise, and then long, long walk down different way to way I went up.

Incidentally, the padlocks (featured on Tai Shan Mountain) are put on holy places by 'young' lovers after they have had their names engraved on them, to show they are 'locked' together. Romantic, huh?

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