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HuangShan [Yellow-Mountain More Detail] (12th Nov)
  
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  4:30am in the morning, I am out of bed. The bus to HuangShan departs at 6am. It's an 8-hour, 170 miles ride on small and hilly roads. But trust me, it's worth it.
  
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It's only me and some cargo to start with. A couple hours later, the bus picks up 7 smokers. Where the hack is the button for emergency oxygen masks?
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Country road, take me to ...
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To HuangShan ...
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Away from Hong Kong ...
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No dirty laundry ...
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No air pollution ...
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To HuangShan, country road.
Yeah, do a little Karaoke if you know the tune.
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The higher the altitude, the better the tea. HuangShan is tall enough to produces lots of nice tea.
img_2725.jpgIn such remote area, I still can't find any old village houses. Modernization has for sure swept through the south eastern area.  
  If you are only allowed to go to only one mountain in China, that mountain is perhaps the HuangShan standing high in front of me. At 1:40pm, after 170 miles country road, I am at the gateway town of HuangShan - TangKou [Soup-MouthMore Detail]. It's too late to climb so I spend the afternoon checking out this tiny town. 

The air is cool, the sun is warm. In an unfamiliar but beautiful place, I am wandering around not having to worry about what to do next. I suddenly realize I am on vacation! I feel good!

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Looking up from my inn's window to the highest peak of HuangShan, the Lotus Peak. 
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TangKou is the gateway town of HuangShan, and here is a view from the gateway of TangKou.
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This is the kind of photo opportunity I am looking for. Don't know why, I just love these houses. Maybe it's because they are as messy as my room.
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Yes, house again.
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Golden girls of TangKou chatting their afternoon away.
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"Kam, kam, want some kam?" Oops, typo! Should be "Ham, ham, want some ham?"
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Loads of dried mushrooms. Perhaps there is some lizard skin too.
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All sorts of fried cakes. Greasy and yet yummy.
  Here is another tourist experience:

While I am bumping around, a sweet young lady appears from nowhere and offers to show me around. Hmm, do I look handsome or do I look like a tourist today? (both!? ) I try to say no but she is not going away. Okay, I will see what she can do to me.

After we have done a little circle, she asks if I have had lunch yet. She has this restaurant just down the road ... ha ha, there she goes. But still, it sounds like an honest deal. So I follow her.

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This is what they have in front of every restaurant. Price on the menu is unbelievably cheap. 30c "stir fried veggie", 60c "tofu", and $1.3 "onion & beef". How can it go wrong?
img_2748.jpgInside the small restaurant, the sweat lady sits me and gives me this menu. I open it, and it reads "HuangShan tofu" $3, whatever "Lake Fish" $6, "Stone Ear Chicken" $13. Nothing, nothing goes for 30 cents!

An affordable trap is still a trap. The most uncomfortable is that the sweet smile that looks so hearty has never left the sweet lady's face. From the second I ran into her to the time she persuades me to order all the expensive dishes, the smile is always there. Professional.  

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On the left is "HuangShan tofu". It's not traditional white. Pretty yummy. Above is "Lake Fish. Too small, no meat.
  In the coming few hours, I am approached 4 times by different locals with similar conversations leading to having lunch or dinner at their restaurants. I must have "SUCKER" inscribed onto my forehead.

It never fails to assume there are traps at tourist sites. It's just wonderful that they have new traps at different places.

  
  In spite of being trapped, I am still excited because of all the photo opportunities.
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What I haven't been able to see at YiXing, I see in HuangShan.
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Bear with me, I like shooting houses ...
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More houses ...
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Even more houses ...
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It's funny they hang Pok Choi like they hang their underwear.
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This Pok Choi is their Winter food.
img_2763.jpg What do we have here? Bird cage on upper left, dried corn on upper right, and a classic window in the middle. Note that birds and men are treated equally - both caged.
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Peeking into local people's backyard... img_2766.jpg How come the master is working and the slave is eating?
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Peeking again ...
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Back to the "downtown" of TangKou. Guess they need to clean up a little before they show the town to tourists from all around the world.
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The signboard is fading but I always remember to pop a coke after a basketball game.
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The slogan "Long Live Chairman Mao" is fading but unlike Coca Cola, I don't think a lot of people mention Chairman Mao in their prayers.
  It's 5pm when I got back to my room with a quarter of a BBQ duck for dinner. Maybe I want to take a nap before dinner and shower. Yes, good idea.

Air is cool and the quilt is heavy and warm. Looking out of the window, I see orange clouds gliding across blue sky. So cozy ...

 

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