At the train station there are people who offer to let you board the train earlier than the actual boarding time for 5 yuan. I was a tad worred with the huge crowd so I was definitely considering it. I was waiting and this dude with a huge backpack with a climbing rope strapped to one side and a thermorest strapped to the other walked past. He asked me if I could mind his pack whilst he goes to the toilet. He comes back and we have a good chat, he’s heading to Chengdu for some ice-climbing! Pretty dammn cool =D I told him about my itinery and he’s also been to Western Sichuan and says its awesome. I’m pretty psyched because everytime I meet someone who’s been, they always talk about how awesome it is =D At this point it looks like I’m going to head to Kangding from Chengdu, Tagong, Ganzi, Dege for the buddist printing press then try and head to Litang and work south to Zhongdian and into Yunnan =D
It was pretty quiet when I boarded the train but 10 minutes later, all seats were filled and the whole aisle is occupied by those who bought ”standing” tickets. The train is bound for Chengdu and most of the people standing have a 27 hour train journey ahead of them =P GG … I’m glad thats not me thats for sure.
So I fell asleep on the train and when I woke up, the girl next to me had her head on my shoulder … It was pretty awkward because I obviously didn’t want to wake her up but at the same time its pretty weird and besides, the people around me particularly those sitting opposite were giving me weird looks.
So my train arrived at Hua Shan station around 11:15PM. I left the station and there were people asking ”where you going?” so I got a lift to the base of Hua Shan to look for accommodation. Half way there, we encountered a human road block. Heaps of people were lining up across 5 lanes preventing all traffic from entering in protest against the government destroying their houses. In China, when you buy property, you don’t own the land, it still belongs to the government so if they decide to build a freeway in that area, they’ll force you to leave and knock your house down. So obviously people refuse to leave their homes so therefore the government gets people from triads to sort out the matter. The triads kidnap or tie the family members up whilst knocking down your house and let them free after their house becomes rubble. Apparently 2 weeks ago the triads killed 4 people hence the protest and road blockade. So after a bit of convincing, they let us through and the driver stopped at a dodgy hotel.
When you’re travelling you always say to yourself that you’re not going to get scammed. Well I got scammed. It was inevitable but still … Not happy Jan. It was 1AM, the owner obviously knows I had no where to go and charges me 150 yuan for the shittiest dirtiest room ever. There were so many pubes in the basin that water wouldn’t even drain. Didn’t even bother with the shower and went straight to bed.
I woke up at 6AM next morning and headed out to Hua Shan.It was such a beautiful place and the weather was super nice, deep blue skies with white whispy clouds.
It was pretty quiet in the morning and wasn’t till lunch time that the crowds came. People were selling and wearing gloves to protect their hands when holding the steel chains as they ascend….noobs. People buy padlocks to wish luck and fortune for their families and they are EVERYWHERE!
So I ascended to South Peak, East Peak and North Peak. The walk was pretty awesome. There was this section where it was pretty much vertical and you had to climb up these steep steps and pulling up on the chains and then there’s the Cliff Plank Path which is basically what you see on the net where there’s a plank of wood, a steel chain and a million foot drop below you. Thank god they rent out harnesses =D They section was definitely the highlight of Hua Shan. I came down by 1PM and jumped on the bus to Xi’an.
I got off at the train station and it was packed! I’ve never seen so many people in my life! I managed to find my way onto a bus to my hostel, on the bus I met these girls from Hong Kong on exchange studying Chinese history here in Xi’an and they gave me some pointers for good food around town.
The hostel I’m staying at is quite nice, only downside being that I can’t get WIFI in my room and they’ve got swimming pool style showers where its open. I have nothing against it but its just weird but apparently thats the go in the North.
I went out to Walmart to buy a towel cause they didn’t have any at the hostel and its got everything. So due to both my lack of experience in buying towels as well my ‘lightweight’ mindset, I bought a towel that is probably about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. I thoroughly regret it the moment I tried to dry myself with it because it was pretty much saturated by the time I was done with my hair
so I went out for dinner and tried their famous yangroupaomo which is like lamb in a broth with noodles and pieces of broken bread soaked in the broth. It was so filling. On the way back, this girl tugged my t-shirt from behind like a 6 year old and asked me where they could buy jianbing, Chinese pancake. We couldn’t find any but I hung out with them and had dumplings instead =D They invited me to join them on a bike ride around the Xi’an city wall tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.
I spoke to a British guy and he told me that 2 monks have set themselves on fire a few days ago in protest against China selecting the next Dalai Lama instead of the current Dalai selecting the reincarnation so I really hope that doesn’t affect my access towards Western Sichuan.
Posted by Wordmobi