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Goodbye HuangShan (15th Nov)
  
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  My backpacking travel mode has a quick rhythm of it's own. The me who is wearing the backpack is not in charge. There seems to be a devil (or angel) inside trying to make me run faster, and even faster. While I backpack, it's unusual that I do the same thing at the same place 2 days in a row.

Today, the unusual happens. Maybe I am blessed. I am waiting for the sunrise like I did yesterday, in the same mountain I was at yesterday.

img_3067.jpgDue to experience from yesterday, I am at the right peak this morning along with a few photographers. We all wait, patiently and quietly.

I am sitting at the apex of ShiXin Feng [Begin_Believe_Peak More Detail] In the twilight, in the cool air, I see clouds and peaks awaking 1,000 feet below my feet. Where my eyes can see, it is silence and peacefulness. This may not be heaven but it's definitely not the world I am familiar with.

 
  Not the perfect sunrise again but good enough to amaze me.
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coming up .. ..
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coming up .. ..
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Without the sea of clouds, it's not a complete sunrise. But not everyone has the luck to see HuangShan's sunrise at it's best. 
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It's over before it starts.
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Time to go .. ..
  At 7:45 am, I head down hill. Heard that it takes 5-6 hours. Could be a lot more because I will be busy taking PICs. 

 

img_2891.jpg  At the entrance of the hotel, there is this big picture of the late Chinese leader Deng visiting HuangShan in the 70's. Back then, when China was a typical iron curtain communist country, he encouraged the development of tourism in HuangShan.

Deng may be just another Chinese leader if you haven't followed close but Kam would say he was the savior of modern China - and one of the 10 greatest leaders in 5,000 years of Chinese history.

Do I sound like a hard core communist saying that? No I am not! I was there to witness the whole process of change from the 70's to the 21st century. 

In the 70's, China was so poor that there was no TV, no refrigerator, or even not enough electricity. Mom said people were rationed 2oz of oil per month each. Money couldn't buy you rice, cigarettes or flour, only ration tickets can.

In the 80's, China started it's economic reform. I still remember mainland relatives mailing gold rings to us in Hong Kong asking us to buy black and white TVs for them. When I backpacked Beijing in 1985, there were these people standing on the street looking at this yummy RMB 20 cent (don't bother to calculate, it was an insignificant amount even to a Hong Kong high school kid) BBQ mutton, mouth-watering but couldn't afford to buy. The reform wasn't impressive at all.

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ShangHai today. Can't imagine it's the same China 20 year ago..

In the late 80's and early 90's, Deng, worked against conservative forces in the communist party, kick started the reform by a few visits to the South. Things got ignited, then exploded after that. By the mid 90's, people in big cities of China have 31" TVs, air conditioners, motor cycles .. .. you name it. Mercedes was not rare, and Rolls-Royce was sighted from time to time.

Today in 2002, city people of China are talking about real estate, buying cars, picking stocks, and traveling. In 2000, China tourists surpassed Taiwan and US tourists to top Hong Kong's per tourist spending. It's like the hidden energy in 1.3 billion people has suddenly come to life. At such speed of growth, it's beyond my wildest imagination what China will be like in 10, or even 5 years.

Deng was the "chief engineer" of China's economic reform. It's not easy to have someone with vision. It's hard to have someone with a plan (the former Soviet Union was a classic example). Yes, determination too. But the hardest of all was to have someone with such authority to slap reform in the face of conservative forces in the communist party.

When Chairman Mao Tse Dung died, people of China cried because they thought they lost a god. When Deng died in 1997, people of China cried because they missed someone who had led them out of poverty and had given them a decent standing of living. It was much sweeter than empty believes.

  
  What on earth am I doing talking non-stop about Deng? Well, I think you will have more insight looking at today's China if you know the breathtaking changes she had gone through in the past 30 short years. Promise I will stick to traveling from now on.
 
  Continue with my HuangShan descent. I am hiking down the front side of HuangShan. 
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The highest peak of HuangShan - Lotus Peak. 6,150 ft. I have to climb up there in order to go down of HuangShan!!!??? You must be kidding.
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Blue sky and sunshine is deceiving. The temperature is in fact only 23F.
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If you want the great scenery but not the hiking, you can hire one of these to carry you. 
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But no offense, if someone is under 30 and is physically intact, riding in such chair does make him look like a handicap.
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Ok, what does this look like? This rock is called "Old monk in meditation". I would say it's "Old monkey in meditation" because he's got lots of hair. Agree?
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Going up Lotus Peak. See the stone bridge in between the peaks? Ho ho ho.
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On top of Lotus Peak, I am on top of HuangShan, and on top of all worries. I enjoy this high-up feeling very much.
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Chinese say "going uphill is easy, going downhill is hard". At first, it doesn't make logical sense. But once you come to situation like this, you know it's physically true.
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Now I am underneath HuangShan. The scenery is still good though.
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I look back, I almost turn into a piece of rock. I am glad I came up on the other side of HuangShan.
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The most beautiful peak of HuangShan - Tian Du Feng [
Sky_Capital_Peak More Detail]. Bad news is that it's closed for construction. Sigh.
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Tian Du Feng does look divine, doesn't it?
  A dialect story in China.

When I walk pass a bunch of tourists speaking Cantonese. They see my camera bag and tripod. They think that I am one of those Northern tourists who doesn't understand Cantonese and they start their careless comment. "Playing with cameras is a waste of money. You can get .. .. blah, blah". I stop in front of that guy and say, in Cantonese, "Hey uncle, digital camera doesn't cost as much as you think." Embarrassment, embarrassment. Think they want to jump off the mountain.

  
  A little past noon, I am at the exit spot of HuangShan scenery area. It was memorable hike. I don't mind at all that I didn't get to see the sea of clouds because that is an excuse for me to come back. He he he.
 
  Run into an artist when taking a cab back to TangKou. He says he will bring me to a place for lunch where I won't get ripped off. img_3206.jpg
"Stone Ear Fried Egg". Stone Ear is a special treat of HuangShan. It's a kind of mushroom that grows on rocks.
img_3207.jpgAnHui province exports lots of bamboo. It follows common logic that bamboo shot will be on the menu and so it is. I don't like bamboo shot very much but my tongue tells me the shot is very fresh.
 
  Ok, buy an air ticket, fly back to GuangZhou and call it a trip? That is where the twist is.. ..
 

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