Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China
Anyway, I’ve got it now!
The morning after the wonderful Fox Fairy Show
www.tianmenfox.com (which you can also read about in my article, China’s Hunan Province,) we visited the Yuanjiajie National Park. There, we got out of our minibus and onto buses in the National Park, where we rode around the mountain bends and then queued to catch a small cable car to take us up the Tianzi Mountain.
We were the only foreigners there, and I was the only British woman. I was openly stared at by everyone!
The long queue kept getting longer because people would keep leaping over the barriers and pushing to the front of the queue, and nobody seemed to mind except us!
In the end our guides spoke to someone and after a lot of discussion, they marched us up the hill to the next level, where we caught the cable car a lot easier!
At the top, we walked around the edge of the mountain and admired the scenery.
Even the light in China is different. It’s beautiful, slightly misty, and so unique!
We thought our guide had been having a laugh, but she hadn’t. We ate in McDonald’s. At the top of a Chinese mountain!
Apparently it was the only restaurant licensed, where we could eat. And I must admit, it was the best McDonald’s I’ve ever had! If only they had that menu in the UK!
Sadly, it had no loos, so we had to walk some way and then queue in the public loo.
More about that later.
I enjoyed browsing round the stalls there, and bought a bracelet which I thought was very cheap, but for some reason our guide found it funny!
We caught another bus, where a Chinaman kept trying to hold my hand and got our guide to translate. He loudly told me that I had a beautiful nose!
Hurray for wet-wipes, the traveller’s salvation!
Yuanjiajie Mountain may not sound familiar to you, but it will look familiar when you see the photos. The surrounding mountains were used in the film Avatar.
I must give the Chinese credit. They’re avid sightseers in their own Country. There were hundreds of them everywhere we went.
We shuffled along with the crowds and waited patiently while they took each other’s photo.
Oh the scenery though! They’re not really mountains. They’re more like phallic splinters, forced out of the ground millions of years ago, and solidifying while the rest of the molten rock collapsed again. It’s unique. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else in the world.
I came to a bridge with an open grille floor.
Those of you who have read my articles will know that I’m not really scared of anything, but I need to adjust to some things.
While I was hesitating, a lady grabbed hold of my wrist and dragged me across the bridge, shouting at everyone to get out of the way!
Everyone obliged, and found it very funny.
She dumped me at the other side and went back across the bridge.
The weather was hot and humid. I had shorts and a top on.
We sat waiting for stragglers, and I suddenly noticed a man parading past, then another one sitting staring at me. And another. And another. They weren’t leering. They were acting coyly, like lovesick teenagers.
I felt like Madonna!
There were guides and groups everywhere. The guides wore radio mikes and the sounds blared out all around us. Rather hard to put up with for long.
A group of students, who spoke some English, politely asked if they could have their photos taken with me.
At last we all assembled and went to catch our bus back to the cable car.
There was a beautiful sunset and the temperature was dropping, but we were tired and not amused as the queue in front of us got longer and longer.
Our guides shouted and waved their arms about and made lots of phone calls, but it didn’t make any difference. We queued and queued, and finally clambered on board.
At the bottom, we queued again for the famous glass lift, opened just a few years ago.
Again it was a scrabble. But worth the wait to see the view.
At 1400 mts high, it’s the longest lift in the world. It dropped 326m in 1 minute, 58 seconds.
It was amazing to have a different view of the pointed peaks, looking up at them now.
Finally we went to catch our bus back down the mountain.
Now I know that the driver does that trip many times in a day, but I can’t help thinking that one day he’s going to overshoot a bend and the bus full of tourists is going to end up at the bottom of the mountain!
Scared? Let’s say that we were all glad when we reached the bottom.
We collapsed in our minibus, relieved to be sitting down with the air conditioning on.
On the journey back, we passed a man raking his rice on the ground beside the road while his children rode their bikes over it.
Back at the hotel, it was a relief to have a loo that I could sit on instead of a hole in the ground!
Dinner was excellent. There was a buffet with a huge choice, and we all started with the noodle soup, which we all loved. Then after a couple of beers, we staggered up to bed. We had an early start and a long day tomorrow.
China National tourist Office,
71 Warwick Road.
Tel 0044 0207 575 0888
Fax 0044 0207 370 9989