JiuZhai Valley/Nine Village Valley:
I joined a tour fr HK, traveling with parents. I just did not have the time to organize and less inputs=<dramaz. XD
Panda Lake, used to be their natural water hole now swarmed by tourists in panda hats and coats of all ages. That would do it scaring any living wild pandas away. And haha I keep flashing sifu from Ranma 1/2 falling into his panda spring.
Peacock Lake. Nature has to deposit this dazzlingly gorgeous pattern of a peacock in bloom at the bottom of this unbelievably beautiful lake.
We did not ride these panda buses, but we feel the pain of the crowd. With each stop the lines are as long as a Disneyland rides in freezing temperature and nonstop drizzle. Pics look breathtaking, the physical misery is a minus but worth it for this view alone.
We were not under altitude sickness…yet…at JiuZhai.
I got an uncomfortable ‘normal’ bout of altitude discomfort on the ride to HuangLong/Yellow (Golden) Dragon as the tourbus climbed over a mountain and we were warned it is over 4000m. At HuangLong, ~3500m miserable weather, rainy and freezing temperature, attempting to hike the 4 km of relentless steps to the top (mind the another 4 km down) to see the 5 color lakes in the tight allotted hours on a tour was beyond me at a rate of stopping to catch my breath and slow down my heart rate when the crowd gets too thick….O2 nebulizers in hand already.
From the air it looks like this (fr wiki):
There is a cable car ride up half way BUT it is a km away from left of the ‘dragon’ range you will miss seeing much of anything and it would still be another 2km upslope without your body adjusting to the altitude in exertion taking the hike up. Do NOT TAKE The cable car. The parents did not even attempt and opted for hot tea and shopping in the visitor center. If we had another hour, or we did some serious training in mountain running we could’ve made it, but we had a flight to catch to ChongQing.
We did not really have time to tour around the city much, except for very touristy spots like all tours do. All I remember was I must’ve eaten a real pint of sichuan pepper corns in my tummy, it’s in EVERYTHING, even in plain veggies. Paid homage to the super yummy ChongQing hotpot.
This store has a HUGE line in the rain. Nosy me braved and pushed a few damas like a dama myself, tried a sample of its sweet fried dough (ma hua). Erm. What is the big deal?!?!?
BUT how good a Loverboy redbeanie am I to snap this thinking of him huh?! lol
I just pay the fees and visit every temple I pass by wherever, however tourist trappy they are. I am a tourist, soaking in the scene and sound of the city where I do not belong, might as well pay some dues.
On a roadtrip to our next destination, our tourbus got overheated and we had to make a stop for lunch at this neighhorhood mom and pop’s. This is the store front.
Promptly as we sat down, the aunties tourmates pulled out fine whiskeys from their unassuming backpacks and started pouring everybody some into our ricebowls to cheer for the impromptu adventure and to…frankly…disinfect our bowls. lol. I love them so much. How awesome?!?!
It is literally like we are invited into a home of Sichuanites. The lady chef and her husband were teaming at the wok, papachef was giving orders, cleaning vegs and meats. <333
Fact: CQ is SUPER hazy/foggy around the clock. Tourguide said because the air is always so moist their ladies have the best supple complexion and touted as a place famous for its killer feisty tongued beauties. (I thought of XiangXiang!!! I need intervention!!! HAHAHA)
I think this is the Yangtze. (lol allow me to be silly again because my brain jumped a fuse and it is all filled with YangZi/XiangXiang fondest memories. )
Some more food p0rn of my favorite dishes I tasted: A cold dish of smoked duck with pickled ginger, wood ear salad and a mungbean jelly noodles in a super yummy (and of course SPICY!) dressing. The fancy hotel we stayed in CQ has a breakfast brunch with a noodle station serving a mean ChongQing XiaoMian, which we know as DanDan Noodles, musthave in CQ. Didn’t take a pic, it is impossible not to dig in asap!
The thousand hand GuanYin is being refurbished. I am blinded by the glare of just a few of Her hands.
6 Wheels of reincarnation. I thought those are pigs in blankets of some sort at the outermost…but it is actually how each animal ‘evolved’ from the tail of one coming out the head of the other, eg a horse will evolve into a goat in the next lifetime if it behaved as an able horse should.
The hike is a few km all steps down, not strenuous, but on a rainy day and with its waterfalls it is VERY slippery, that and I made the trek with a smoking (no pun, not the hot kind, just the fact he is a chimney) uncle at my same pace who has a spit to spit every 5 minutes. You can only anticipate it coming and try to hold your step just behind him, that’s all you can do.
Took the high speed train from SH to HangZhou. The train ride itself is efficient and highly recommended (bonus ON! TIME! unlike commercial planes operating in CN airspace my average delay was 2 hours, max 4, no reason explained). In an hour we got from point A to B…BUT those mega enormous train stations made to train marathoners I suspect, seriously are physical nightmares. I am in my running shoes, but there are fancy ladies in heels doing the mad dash and ticket counters only opening a minute prior to boarding, leaving crowds no choice but to be shoving and pushing, the logic behind is beyond me… that SH train terminal is easily 10 times the size of its International PuTong airport and the ‘sweet’ thing is, you will have to walk the entire length and width of it because of the most ridiculously not made for mankind consumption design contraptions. It was so daunting at the taxi line when you tried to stick your head out as much and STILL you could not see the taillight of the taxi at the very front, the light at end of tunnel.
We spent just one day at West Lake, no way enough but we got the gist of the beautiful serenity and its friendly, proud, helpful people.
The views from Six Harmonies Pagoda….
QianTang River, most famous for its tidal bore. It was dormant and calm that day.
The temple and museum adjacent. Very well kept, spotless and bonus no one else wasvisiting but our group.
We took a taxi to lunch at West Lake. Did not eat at the most obvious fancy restaurant because our super friendly driver recommended us to go where YangZhou-nites would go when at West Lake. It was YUM.
Lucky it was a clear, cool, comfortable day with manageable (still aplenty) crowds. The ferry ride was the highlight: we take in the lake as sun is beginning to set.
^We spot an unknown lake creature!
The three stone carvings marking the 3 ponds mirroring the moon thrice at night.
Qing Emperor QianLong loved West Lake (and my mind is full of Book and Sword feels) and left lots of remnants of mansions he built while enjoying his visits.
The 110 years old, ‘oldest literati society in CN’ 西泠印社, a recent meme was kiddos misreading the characters in reverse and thought it was a noodle store 杜即冷面, actually not a bad idea if it serves cold noodles and a nice cup of dragon well…but then nah, the crowds will trash and ruin it. It is such a lovely place at the north bank of the lake, worth me dashing easily a mile to, while my folks are TRYING to hail a taxi (impossible feat) and I smartly asked them if by luck they snatched one, stop by there to pick me up. At the back of my mind, I recall Loverboy has paid homage (I can’t find the pic nor proof) and just my luck it had few visitors when I popped in and I can immerse in the tranquility surrounded by all the best works of masterful calligraphers (who must also master the masonry of seal carvings). I savored it, because if the 盗墓笔记 franchise takes flight, tonnes of fans will go trample where the heroes tread and the tranquility would be forever lost.
By Maestro Qi BaiShi <3333333
Did a bit of shopping at downtown downtown and dinner was so heavy we had to take a stroll by the other side of the lake before catching our train to the lights and sounds of the cute ahjummas waltzing and dancing their peacocky ‘courtyard’ dance and THIS scenery. Hubs was sooooo fascinated a fanboy he had mastered the moves from keenly observing like a perv (there was a pic of a city neighborhood dance competition in SH above with a stage full of Moms/Grandmas/Damas) while I am too shy to take a pic of them, it’s imprinted in my mind (and this breathtaking vista), I swear!