CHINA: Beginning to Believe & the Black Tiger


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February 21st 2013
Published: February 21st 2013
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CHINA: Beginning to Believe & the Black Tiger.

Sixteen today...my sixteenthth Provence in China...Anhui...and special it should be...sweet sixteen for me!

Left Christmas Eve 2012...night train from Shanghai to Huangshan...eleven & a half hours ...soft sleeper...Denise & I bottom bunks...Simon & Anna-Louise on top.

Going to Yellow Mountain...my perfect destination for Christmas...the atypical mountain in Chinese paintings...with trees growing out of rocks...the holiest of China's holy mountains...Huangshan.

The word is Winter is a shocking time to visit...just fog...nothing to see...I'll take that as encouragement.

When on a "David Hoo Tour...Your Travel Experts with Minimal Experience but Maximum Optimism"...Winter...few other tourists...no better time.

Forecast for minus 7 degrees Celsius...Simon from Toronto, Canada says that's warm...and he should know!

Train entering mountainous country...mist laden valleys & fields...snow drifts...villages...excitement building.

70 kms from Huangshan Railway Station to our lodge at the foot of the mountain at Tongkau...free shuttle service from Pine Ridge Lodge...beats public transport every time...winding through the mountains...grey sky...moisture in the air.

Pass through a town...a pig being dragged on the footpath...smell of impending execution...stop please...photo opportunity.

Pig's throat cut...wriggling...tub of boiling water being filled...men heaving the beast into the tub...second pig just standing there trembling...awaiting its turn...man in the yellow plastic apron...bloodied...fag in his mouth.

Happy Christmas...yep its Christmas Day.

Pine Ridge Lodge sat among tall trees next to the Huangshan mountain Front Gate...a few kms from town...with the granite mountain peering down over it...big rooms...icy as...warmed up quickly with the A/C on.

The forecast today is fine then rain for the next few days, so after breakfast we headed up the mountain.



Travel Tip

Yellow Mountain is a 5 Star Tourist Site...and it ain't cheap...so be warned.

Here's how to do it.

Vehicle to the Huangshan bus depot in Tongkau town...free for us from the lodge.

19 RMB each for bus to the cableway of your choice. There are three cableways so make sure you get the right bus.

150 RMB each to enter the park. You can get a 3 day pass for the same price, if you have your passport. Do not pay until you have found the person who will stamp your ticket. Otherwise you have to pay 150 RMB each time you visit the park. They do not advertise this so come prepared. This will give you access to any of the cableways for 3 days.

65 RMB each for cableway up the mountain and 65 RMB each to come down. It is about a 20 min ride each way in sealed gondolas, over precipitous gorges.

19 RMB each for the bus back down.

That's 318 RMB each...about US$55...plus what you need for Oreos and other essentials.

As we had our tickets stamped, the next time up & return cost 168 RMB each or about US$30 .

Fortunately the lodge let me know prices before we went up or I wouldn't have had enough cash to get us all back down.

Fortunately we found an ATM up there or we wouldn't have had enough to get the Oreos!



Beginning to Believe

The bus zig-zags up to the Cloud Valley Station on the East side of the mountain where we haggled for the 3 day pass...then onto the Yungu Cableway...yeeka...its a long way down...past smooth granite cliffs...yeeka...how on earth did they build this?

Arrive at White Goose Ridge Station...think you're in the heavens but the mountain only 1,800 metres high...but covers a large area...zillions of granite peaks...each with a flowery name...clouds or deep valleys between.

Concrete paths leading in various directions...railings disguised as twisted vines...no way you'd divert off the paths...sheer drops to nowhere...stunning vistas...skinny lookouts...clear, clear day...only the occasional group around...how lucky are we.

One path led to a peak called "Beginning to Believe"...no idea why it was called that...maybe the rush you get standing on its peak...pretty freaky actually...maybe incredulity one is actually there.

And somewhere up there...near us now...a monk saw a black tiger lying on the top of a tree growing out of a rock...then looked again and the tiger was gone. Thus an ancient flat topped tree on Huangshan was called "Black Tiger Pine"...so I started looking.

Saw heaps of tenacious trees growing out of the cliffs...no cats......searching for the tree...I think I may have a photo of the Black Tiger Pine...not sure...searching for a black tiger...still looking.

Maybe its like the "Mickey Mouse Tree" on Emeishan in Sichuan...had difficulty finding that one too.

But on Yellow Mountain that day in the East and North Seas I saw:

"Heavenly Dog Watching the Moon"

"Monkey Holding a Peaching in Both Hands"

"The Immortal Pointing the Way"

"Double Cats Catching the Mice"

"The Flower Growing Out of a Writing Brush Rock"

"Stalagmite Peak"

"Guan Yin Peak"

"Pen Rack Peak"

and "The Eighteen Arhats Worshipping at South Sea" to name a few.

Incredibly beautiful up here...understanding why Chinese artists of past and present are so enthralled with this place...maybe...yep...maybe

I am beginning to Believe!



Ripped off with Full Belly

Got off the mountain...last gondola of the day...dark when we got to the bus station in Tongkau...lets find somewhere for dinner.

Walking down a narrow road to exit the bus station...bip, bip, bip behind...move to the left side next to a railing presuming a car behind...Simon vaulting the railing as the bip at his back... %!@(MISSING)*&#!!!... lands on the front wheel of a motorbike coming through...miracle noone injured...sorry, sorry...why oh why was he bipping us?

Heaps of restaurants...pick one...welcomed in...sat down...wash hands out the back.

The menu was appetising...rat, snake, dog, eel & deer...plates and glassware presented in vacuum packed plastic.

Simon opens the plastic and a glass tumbler within greasy and grimey...asks for another. The waiter washes it in water and returns it still grimey...Simon asks
THE 438 RMB PHOTOTHE 438 RMB PHOTOTHE 438 RMB PHOTO

He ripped me off big time...lucky for him its Christmas Day
again for another...she indicating to us it will do.

I simply stood up and ushered my family out of there...proprietors objecting...probably calling us the items on the menu...anyway I can't imagine eating rat, snake or dog...not for Christmas dinner anyway!

Found another restaurant up the road...a large round table of about 10 men eating hotpot and other assorted dishes...we'll have that please.

Simon & I had a couple of local beers...Tezhi and Ynksun...8 RMB each and a Japanese Suntory...fantastic feed...really hit the spot.

Then came the bill...438 RMB...what's the super expensive one?...the hotpot...clear we were being ripped off big time...probably about 4 to 5 times what it should have been.

But it was Christmas Day...didn't want a fight and end the day on a bummer...so I paid up and took photos of the proprietor...among hanging ducks & pig's head...who then got a mate to drive us back to our lodge in his black Peugeot...for 20 RMB!

Told the proprietor of the lodge what had happened. He was mortified. Thereafter he (Wayne Tong) ensured we ate famously and cheaply at the Lodge...one night with him...sensational food...and company.

Turned out Wayne had lived in Toronto for 5 years...around the corner from where Simon lives...its a small, small World!!!



Into The South Sea and into the Clouds

Days later we went up the mountain again...this time from the South...bus to Mercy Light Station...then Jade Screen (Yuping) Cableway to Jade Screen Station at the top.

But today was very different...light rain throughout...into a sea of fog...into the clouds...visibility very poor...no peaks in the South Sea visible...bummer really...this not unusual for this time of year.

We probably stayed up there for about an hour...probably only that long as I was trying to photograph trees growing out of rocks...fog enveloping.

Disappointing...too wet to even look for Oreos!

Thus lunch in the Lodge's Restaurant...gorging...then to pack.

Tonight we are off to Tunxi...the ancient art town in Huangshan City...then night train to Suzhou.

Ah...hang on...I can't forget to do a portrait blog...something special...something magical...our time in Anhui...much more than just on Yellow Mountain...mmm...much more...watch this space.



And the band played...introducing Dao Lang

Now...if you can open the following music video...play it while enjoying the photos...capturing the beauty and magic that is Yellow Mountain.

And if you
CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYESCAN'T BELIEVE MY EYESCAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES

Yellow Mountain is breathtaking!
can't access the music...may the photos play their own melody.

Relax & Enjoy,

Dancing Dave

[
">youtube=aUpRZuyznEE]

You can left click the video link above which puts you into the song playing in you-tube, then press the blog name on your tool bar and one can see the photos while listening to the music...Enjoy

Make sure you press the x for you-tube on your toolbar when the music has finished.


Additional photos below
Photos: 75, Displayed: 28


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21st February 2013

WOW
How beautiful..truly inspiring :)
21st February 2013

THANKS CINDY
Hope you managed to see the photos with the music playing. Looks like I need some help how to show the music video. Until I do you can press the video link which puts you into you tube, then press the blog on the tool bar and one can see the photos while listening to the track. First time I've tried music with a blog so hope some TBers get it to work.
21st February 2013

What beautiful scenery! Sorry to hear about being ripped off for Christmas dinner, but it sounds like the proprietor where you were staying compensated with his greater generosity. As for the youtube link, I think that if you go into the text of your blog, click "TB CODE" and scroll down to the link, just make sure that it reads: bracket youtube equals code endbracket (without any additional hyperlink). I think that'll work. I hope my explanation is clear, let me know if it isn't. :)
21st February 2013

THANKS MICHELLE
I tried your suggestion and the video showed on the blog...pretty pleased...then noticed the music stopped for page 2 of the pics. So I have tried to reverse it to how I had it before because I could listen to the music as I went from page to page of the photos. All I did before was press the video link on the blog which opened up the tune playing on youtube. I didn't even have to start the video on youtube...it just played. Then pressed the blog title that had gone to the toolbar and I could scroll all the pages of photos while the music played. Maybe No. 1 should be consulted as this may be an interesting innovation.
21st February 2013

I Can't reverse it!
I can't get the video link back to what it was. When I pressed TB CODE I had the link I'd created followed by an url. I removed the url to adjust the code thus getting the video as you suggested but I can't reverse to how I had it before!
21st February 2013

I've done it. I've reversed it Michelle
My blog is now ready for music on all pages of photos again!!!Not bad for a Non-Tech head!!!
21st February 2013

And I thought us Brits were obsessed with the weather....
By the way, what happens if you don't want to pay 65 RMB to come back down again???
21st February 2013

Hi Nick
I guess if it was you...you'd still be up there...and your 3 day pass would have expired...and the tourists would be using you as a biscuit dip...for Oreos of course! You could walk down but in Winter...no Siree!
21st February 2013
CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES

Ahh! Now this I've seen before!!!
Isn't that the look your dear lady gives you after sinking your 10th pint??? ;)
22nd February 2013
CAN'T BELIEVE MY EYES

Really?
We both know I couldn't...wouldn't...shouldn't
21st February 2013

Beautiful pictures...
except for the pigs.
22nd February 2013

THANKS BOB
Lucky then I only showed half my pics of the pigs!
22nd February 2013

Some great practical info in this blog
Have been meaning to get over there myself but it is very difficult to get the timing right. Summer/holidays = hoards of people. Winter = bloody cold. Then there is the mist, which needs to be just right to witness the peaks protruding through the sea of fog. Camping out up top seems the only remedy. As for the 438RMB photo…thanks for the heads up; I’ll recognize that haircut anywhere. But the photo of the murdered pig will linger longest in my mind.
22nd February 2013

JASON
Definitely timing required to see the peaks protruding from the sea of fog. Best time probably dawn which means staying in a hotel up top, which we were unable to book. When we went up when it was wet, our hope was there would be snow up top so the clouds would be lower...no such luck! Couldn't time it to have a third attempt...really wanted to see it snowing up top. We were mighty lucky to have a clear day up there. We met heaps of travellers who had no such luck. Sounds like karma to me!
22nd February 2013

Dave -- I'm glad you got it back to the way you like it. :)
11th April 2013
THE PENCIL PINE

Wow
Beautiful shot of the Pencil Pine. Looks like yet another pin on the world map for me!
11th April 2013
THE PENCIL PINE

THANKS TEOYONGSHENG
Yellow Mountain is so famous for its beauty. I was lucky to get a day up there where it was clear and the light was kind to me for that shot. Pleased that you had a look and spent the time to comment.

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