Traveling as a westerner in China makes you somewhat of a spectacle. In a sea of Asians you stick out like a pointy nose (or is that because of your pointy nose... probably both). You stick out even more when you have at least 8 inches on the average population, and more on a whole lot of them. If you really, really want to stick out, perhaps you should travel in a group of seven, and it'd be really cool if you could find a family of seven where one is a blond and five are all six feet or taller. Then you've become the tourist attraction.
(This is swiped from our trip to Beijing but you get the idea.)
Believe me now? Pictures like this are often accompanied by exclamations of "wuge heizi" (pronounced(ish) oo-ga hi-tzsa) which translates as "five children" or other phrases commenting on just how many kids are in our family.
We end up taking photos fairly often with the locals, and you know, it's always fun to feel like a celebrity, right? I came out relatively unscathed, although a speedy Korean kissed me on the cheek... not quite what I wanted, but considering the four marriage proposals I got last year from really awful smelling locals, I figure things are getting better, slowly but surely they're improving. *gag*
For May holidays (think spring break for some non American schooling system... I think the Brits) we went down to Yellow Mountain. It was spectacular.
To look at.
You see that lighter line beneath the tree branch, it looks almost like it could be a stream or something. Actually, it's more stairs. And we climbed all the way down to them and all the way back up. Because we're awesome like that.
Climbing itself, well, I'd describe that more as exhaustive and a little terrifying at times.
Exhaustive for everyone but Trent, who had the heaviest pack and yet managed to be the least sore. Rude.
These stairs were literally just attached to the side of the cliff. I stayed as close as I possibly could to the cliff side, not that it would really help if the pathway decided to plummet, but it made me feel better, so I went with it.
And what goes up...
Must come right back down.
I think this guy had it all figured out... 150 RMB and someone else does the hiking for you. However, in some of the hardest stretches we didn't see any of those chair guys, so I'm guessing they really knew what was going on.
Some of the best views though did come when we had climbed all over those mountains. It was really really incredible. It was like hiking through Chinese paintings.
Basically it was pretty awesome, although I was so very sore for the next few days after. I think those stairs have subtracted ten years from my knees. But really, it was incredible. If you go to China, and are feeling masochistic, or you're like Trent and are a cross between a sherpa and a mountain goat, then this really is a must see. If you're not, you should still go, but perhaps you should train, because it's exhausting.
I'd upload more pictures, but at the rate this is going I'd be here until next week, so enjoy the ones I put up, and maybe I'll post more later.