|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
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.
I am sitting at the apex of ShiXin Feng [Begin_Believe_Peak ] 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.|
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.
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.|
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.|
|Ok, buy an air ticket, fly back to GuangZhou and call it a trip? That is where the twist is.. ..|
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