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Wuyi Shan! A Wonderful Yet Beautiful Hassle

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Well what can I say, this week end the Lonely Planet really came to life! In the Wuyi Shan section it states: 'Unfortunately, it's a prime tourist spot and is home to glib-tongued hustlers and would-be guides pursuing tourists.' [/i]</b> After this weekend there has never been a truer word spoken (or as this is a blog and the LP is a book I guess I really should say 'written'!) Strangely, the first time I went to Wuyi Shan, which was with Aussie Martin and Georgia, we were never hassled and no one tried to rip us off. But this weekend it seemed to never stop! All in all though, it was a fantastic time! Canadian Rob and I were lucky enough to be granted a lift to Wuyi Shan with the schools driver and not long after booking in to our happy little hotel we headed around the corner for some noodles at a 'cheap noodle eatery'. When I say a cheap eatery I mean a little Noodle Bar where a large bowl of noodles 'usually' cost around 3 or 4 Yuan. NOT IN WUYI SHAN! After eating Rob went to pay what I thought would be anywhere between 8 and 15 Yuan for two delicious bowls of beef noodles (being a Tourist spot things are usually a little more expensive). Wow, it ended up being so much more. As Rob was paying he handed over 50 Yuan and was given back 18 Yuan. Lucky I was next to him when he was putting the change back into his wallet and I heard him questioning the amount of change. Ohhhh that was it! I was straight back in telling the lady what I thought of her and her business! On the wall it even had the prices; 1 small bowl cost 6 Yuan 1 large bowl coast 8 Yuan Like I said being a major tourist town a normal 4 Yuan large bowl of noodles is usually double the price and as the price is on the wall there really isn't much you can do about it. Even the Chinese have to pay it. Luckily enough my Mandarin is enough to include both prices and personal thoughts on people who try to rip me off. 32 Yuan for two bowls of beef noodles! Needless to say we left with the correct change! We then went to grab a cab so I could take Rob on an awesome walk through the mountains and tea valleys. Of course the cabbie wanted to rob both our graves even before we were in them for a five minute drive. Lucky I knew better than to agree to it! GRRR! The walk I wanted to take Rob on was 'half' my second days walk the last time I visited Wuyi Shan. An absolute stunning walk that took me from the 'Water Curtain Cave down to the Huiwan Temple all the way to the Big Red Robe which is a small Tea House in a tiny valley. From there you join the Red or Yellow Peeked Hatted Tourists and walk through the stunning 'Culture Tourist Route of Wuyi Tea'. It was here in the car park full of Tourist Buses that I thought our walk would finish. I wasn't even going to mention the second half of the walk to Rob but as he seemed to be still in good spirits and full of energy I let him know there was a second half to the walk that most tourists never get to walk. The beginning would be pretty hard on him but at the top of the huge hill he would be greeted with a most awesome view of a Monastery across a tea valley which was all set beneath huge cliffs. Surprise to me, he was sold and without a rest we located the overgrown track which was to take us to Horse Head Rock. After the huge hill! Once he arrived at the top I simply pointed and he kind of stopped and stared for a while. Finally he said, 'well would you look at that!' Or something along that lines! Ha Ha HA! The view of the Monastery beneath the huge cliffs really is simply STUNNING! The rest of the journey was pretty much down hill but very spectacular. We wound our way along tracks that are mainly used by the Wuyi Tea Staff who look after and pick the tea. We passed several of them who were filling their little cane baskets with tea leaves. You can spot these workers in the most amazing places where some cruel person decided to plant a batch of tea trees. Half of the places the trees can be found I would need a mountain goat to help me get to. Finally we made it to the end of the trail where we found a 'very cheap' noodle eatery that served the blandest bowl of noodles I've ever eaten. The lady must have known how bland they were as she kept telling me to put heaps of chili and strangely peanut butter into it. Oh yeah, now that you raised it, 'assumption' hey? I've been told never to assume things but today I assumed that there would be no way in the world Rob would want to do the second half of the walk, especially after I told him about the first hill. Pity, I could have saved us both 150 Yuan on the Park Ticket by entering the park in the small village (the same way we exited it last time) and spent the day walking the reverse of what we did. Remember NOT to assume! It makes an ASS out of U and ME! And it may save you some money whether you're a dumb ass or not! After a few hours rest I met Rob downstairs and we headed out to check out the Wuyi Shan nightlife. We passed about twenty people for the entire night, give or take a few. How strange when there must have been about thirty thousand tourist buses during the day. We passed stalls offering all types of inners and outers along with monkey meat and other assorted 'things'. As Rob is not an adventurous eater we sat for a delicious bowl of Northern Noodles. They really are the best noodles ever! Lanzhou Beef Noodles! Yummy! After dinner we decided on a few games of pool and after being pointed in the right direction by the Northern Noodles Man we walked in that direction. After a quick search we couldn't find anything that looked remotely like a Pool Hall so I went to ask another Noodle Lady and Man where to go. As I don't know the word for Pool/Billiards I simply played Charades and she went 'ohhh' and pointed across the road and to a set of stairs. Well, you would think after three years of playing Charades on an almost daily basis I would get playing a game of Pool right wouldn't you.

What was at the bottom of the stairs you ask? A FREAKIN BROTHEL! Pink lighting filled the room and we were greeted by a lovely young lady. I thought about asking her where the Pool Hall was but then I guessed she would probably make me pay to play Happy Charades with her so sadly I decided against it and we headed back to the Noodle Lady where I once again tried to explain that we didn't want a 'Massage' but to play pool. She then began doing all these strange things with her hands and fists ! I really don't know what her and her husband get up do at night but some of them really were weird! Finally my Pool/Billiards Charades worked and her eyes opened a little wider after she thought about the past five minutes and she happily walked us across to another set of stairs where we found actual pool tables. Sadly there were no beautiful girls on the tables but hey! Here Rob and I spent a few hours happily playing many games, most of which I lost of course and in the end paid the 'Wuyi Shan' price to play pool. For many hours in Shaowu it usually costs around 13 Yuan...a bit under two Aussie Bux. In Wuyi Shan it costs double and a bit more! Unfreakinbelievable! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane __________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was Melbourne's one and only Dave Graney The album was 'The Sexy Swinging Sounds' What a smooth guy!

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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