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The Sun Shines N Splendour on Ji Gong Shan

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Mist, shrouded by more mist! Mountains, villas, waterfalls, rivers, birds, monks, temples and me! Once again all were shrouded by a thick white gentle grandma blanket of mist! Mist, mist, mist, bloody mist but thankfully we were only covered for half the day today! And like I said yesterday, there are bloody European Villas here mate. After a second days walk I really would compare it to the small island of Gulang Yu in Xiamen City in Fujian Province. The difference of course is this is a big mountain and Gulang Yu is a tiny island. The same is the fact that they are both covered with colonial architecture! I must say, for an unknown mountain Jigong Shan has a huge foreign history yet strangely it is not in the Lonely Planet nor can I find anything much about it on the internet. This is strange given the fact that at the beginning if the 20th Century high class peoples along with missionaries from twenty four countries along with Chinese warlords had built more than three hundred villas upon the mountain. So Jigong Shan? Was it worth the adventure it was to get here? Like some smart guy once said, 'the best part of the adventure are the parts between leaving point A and arriving at point B'. I like to add that most of the time Point B really isn't all that it has been hyped up to be and the 'bits in between' are more memorable. Be them good or bad! Isn't it funny that it's the bad things that usually come to mind first, especially when you are telling your friends about your adventures. The bad hotel/train/toilet stories along with being ripped off etc are the ones that most want to tell and to hear. As long as there is a happy ending then they actually do make for the best stories. Seriously, there is nothing exciting about a train journey where you have a seat and you leave and arrive safely. Add in some exciting toilet stories and crowds of people you have to fight your way though each time you have to run to the toilet (due to bad meat last night at the awesome bar you were at) and then you have a memorable story for both you and your friends. Anyhow enough about stories! But I could tell you the one about yesterday morning when I was having a shower and the maid decided to choose that time to clean my room and we ended up cleaning the shower together. But is that just a travel story for the bar that is full of shitie? It makes both getting your room cleaned and having a shower much more exciting though doesn't it! So what have I been doing over the past few days? I guess there really isn't much more to do here than to fill in your days either walking or relaxing. For me there has been enough 'walking' to have kept me happy for two days. But for normal people who walk 'normally' you could stay here for a week and still be happy. My hotel is very much in the middle of things and right near the cable car and the mountains main car park. So I guess this is where you have to begin your Jigong Shan adventure! Not far from here is the mountains main peak and from there you can choose to follow what ever trails you wish. It is so easy that your blind grandparents could get around here. There are large sign boards everywhere they are needed and they are in both Chinese and English (no brail, so I guess it makes the blind grandparents story a little ridiculous doesn't it!). Unlike the tourist map and the local tour guides suggest all walks are only an hour to two long. I was surprised to find that by last evening I had covered many of the walks with only bits and pieces left in between. . Sadly though, yesterday as I have stated EVERYTHING was covered by a thick blanket of mist. I had no idea how high the main peak was or how far things were from each other. Today the mist cleared around mid day and I spent the day beneath a clear blue sky. I began my day by re-visiting the 'Dawn Heralding Peak' to put everything into perspective and from there it was easy to see why I had covered most trails. Though you spend most of the time going up and down parts of the mountain the map makes everything look much more spread out than what it really is. Most buildings are near each other, the only thing is, is finding the right set of stairs! It really is an amazing place to walk around and it is so easy to get the feeling of what it would have been like to live here in its heyday. There are several churches, a small hospital and from what I can gather most things were obtainable. All roads, paths and grounds are covered by huge shady trees and vines cover many of the colonial stone buildings. There is also a serious shortage of Chinese architecture. And thankfully, white bloody tiles! Now days all of the houses have been named after the country who built it for example the Sweden Building and the America Building. The little villas are truly amazing in that whilst walking through them you seriously doubt that you are in China. Along with visiting colonial buildings there are other more beautiful things to do such as doing the short hike down the mountain to visit the Living Buddha Temple. This walk takes you down a heap of stairs and down the side of part of the mountain. You end up at what I think is the ancient wooden 'Living Buddha Temple'. You then slowly make your way back up and at the top is I thing the new stone 'Living Buddha Temple'. When you see this place you stop and think to your self, why? Why build it out of stone? Why not wood like everyone else. But then it is built at the top of the mountain so there wouldn't have been much carting. You can then cross to the Linghua Temple walk. This one ends at what is known as 'Heavens Ladder' For those who don't like stairs, I wouldn't bother with this one! My second favourite walk was from the 'Rooster Peak' along to the Sisters Buildings (or Twin Buildings). I believe they were built by a Chinese Warlord and from there down to Moon Lake and then further onto South Street where I had awesome dumplings yesterday and some rice today. At the moment much of it is being destroyed making way for new 'ancient' buildings. In a year or two I believe it will be the main part of the mountain as it really is the only part that has a gathering of stores and eateries. I guess you could think if it as the 'West Street' (Yangshuo) of Jigong Shan. But this one is called South Street. Whatever! My favourite walk was the one I took today that included a long cable car ride down the entire side of the mountain. The cable car ride costs 10 Yuan each way (20 Yuan) and strangely there is a 20 Yuan ticket you must purchase at the bottom of the mountain prior to the walk. This made me rather angry and at first I refused and told the guy what I thought of China's policy of quietly adding extra tickets and purchases on everywhere you go. Those who have been here and traveled enough will understand. Then I felt bad as it is not his fault so I paid and we both said our happy good byes. The walk at the bottom of the mountain takes you along the river and past several waterfalls. I wouldn't say they are spectacular but they are beautiful all the same. It takes only an hour or so, so if you do it kick back and relax and dip your feet in for awhile. I had no idea how long it was and on the map it looks like it would take half a day. The chairlift also stops at half past five so I didn't take as long as I wished I had of when I finished. Which as at four. Bugger! Across from the top chairlift station is a house that beneath houses a bomb shelter. That is also worth a visit. The rest of the day was spent filling in more of the 'in betweens' and as the sun was slowly drifting off to sleep in my part of the world, I sat for dinner at the top chairlift station with the family who run the little eatery there. Now I will sit back with a beer and decide what to do tomorrow. Should I stay or should I go? Why is life full of such difficult questions! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was once again by a huge assortment of bands! The album was 'Channel V - Music Television China!' Strangely it seems as if they are replaying last nights. Is all music television like this? Has it not changed at all? __________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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