Yellow Mountain

Of all the good or bad, nice or ugly, ordinary or eccentric places I have visited, the Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) is the most difficult one to describe.

I would like to say that the trip to the mountain was disappointing, but its beauty could not be ignored. Two months have gone since I went there, and all I have now is tons of pictures. All my memories are hued by the rain, the fog, and just like walking on the myriads of ladder, it seems hopeless trying to reach anywhere.

The weather in Tunxi(the town at the foot of yellow mountain) was pretty nice that morning. I took the bus from the hostel at about 5 a.m. I sat with the Kirsty on the bus, an English girl I met the night before in the hostel bar and we decided to stay together so we could share a room. It started raining immediately when we got to the ticket house, and the rain lasted for almost a whole day. But according to the locals, it rains like 200 days a year in Yellow Mountain, so I cannot really say that was a bad start. When we get to the ticket house, we were told that the eastern steps up to the mountain were no longer available, and we could either take another bus to the western steps or take the cable car. Neither of us felt like spending another hour in the bus so we chose to spend another hour queuing for the cable car. It proved to be an appropriate decision according to what we found out later about the western steps. The cable cars were well-built and there experience was kind of thrilling because we could see the height we were reaching. After less than ten minutes we reached the cable car station from where we were released. We struggled much in finding our way to somewhere quieter—the mountain seemed to be packed with tourists that day—and drier—the never-ending rain had soaked us all from hair to toes. After visiting some must-do peaks, we arrived in a doggy room with two beds for eighty kuai each person, in a basement of a five star hotel. It was at that time when we were able to sit down and dry ourselves a little bit. The room was dark and dump, the bed made strange noise every time I draw near, the looking from the window saw a wall two centimetres away, what a lovely place.

After searching for instant noodles for two hours in vain we surrendered to the collective conspiracy of the local hospitality industry and bought some over-charging sausage and sweet bread. The food tasted great to me and when I think about it now I was amazed at how much I could eat during these travelling days. I felt like gulping the whole world.

We run into Simon later in the afternoon. Simon was a English guy with blonde hair reaching into the air. Tall and slim, energetic but seemed to be a little shy and holding back, he appeared to be as a typical English until he told me that he was half Russian. The place where he stayed cost twice as much as our place but it  was clean, tidy, and there was a clean mattress on the bed and a TV in the room. Once again, I always get what I have paid for. That night when I stayed in bed, trying to get some sleep while worrying about the possibility of have a family of insects in my quilt, I damned myself for being a stingy idiot.  I set for the alarm clock for the sun rise the next morning but at the meantime was determined to ignore it.


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