Thursday, 16 October 2014

Up and Away

Our cool room at the Yellow Canary,
one of our nicer sleeping places!
We planned to go up the Changshan Mountain range and originally thought that it’d be nice to hike up and then walk along the ‘Cloud Path’ that linked two temples and then catch the cable car back down. However, since Sarah was still not feeling great we decided that an uphill hike might not be the best idea so instead we went the soft option and caught the cable car up. 

Our host, Cici, organised a ticket and free pick up which took us directly to the cable car and saved us negotiating for a taxi which was a nice for a change. It was an enjoyable ride up and we were quite grateful to not be sweating our way up by foot as it turned out to be quite some distance and the track essentially followed underneath the cable car the entire way. We didn’t see a single person hiking up the trail either, which maybe indicated something…

Cool old bridge just before
the path ended
Once at the top we checked out the sacred pond and then started the 4.5km walk to the Seven Dragon Pool. The Cloud Path was paved and an essentially flat walk along the mountainside – a very pleasant walk to do. Unfortunately though, the Dragon Pool destination was closed due to the construction of two more cable cars that would eventually go all the way to the top of the mountain. They were actually already running but we couldn’t see anybody in them and we had no idea how to get to the base of them so we assumed they were probably still in the testing phase. 

Even though we couldn’t quite make it to the Dragon Pool there was a nice old stone bridge and waterfall where the path was blocked at so we stopped there for a breather and some plums we’d bought at the market before turning around and heading back to the cable car. Since our taxi had only been one way we walked back into town from the base of the cable car, which turned out to be further than we remembered, meaning that we didn’t get back till past 4pm and by then we were quite starving and decided that this would be a good time to try the Buddhist Vegetarian Buffet for 5RMB. It didn’t open till 5.30pm however so we distracted ourselves till then with a yoghurt and waited impatiently till the prayers began which was the signal that the kitchen was open.

The 'Cloud Path' along the mountainside
The food was nutritious with really nice vegetarian dishes. They have a strict rule that you must eat everything on your plate and when Dave went to show that his was clean they instructed him that he hadn’t done a good enough scraping job and they watched while he ate every last grain of rice before accepting his plate back. Unfortunately Sarah had taken a good couple of spoonful’s of what she had thought was hummus but which turned out to be smelly fermented tofu, and it was impossible to eat even the tiniest amount of it. Worried about how we’d actually return the plate with food on it a fellow tourist kindly offered us a tissue in which we could hide the tofu till after we’d left the temple.

We had an overnight train the following night and since Sarah was still recovering from whatever bug she had contracted we decided an early night was needed so after another quick explore of the town and the markets we headed to pack and to bed, hoping for a good night’s sleep before another day on the move.

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