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Up in the clouds in China
Up the mountain in the clouds
It was billed as a day in Shangyu and then about a race to the top of the mountain! But I went along anyway even though I have resolved NOT to do any more mountain climbing. (It was called Stone Wave Climbing - and I'm still not sure what that means.)
The bus picked us up at the usual place in SPT Street on campus and we travelled to Shangyu along a route that was well familiar to me as I go there most weeks not for an English class at the hotel. I might add that each passenger was given a t-shirt and cap to wear, and a bag of goodies which included a banana, some muffins and some tissues and wet wipes. The young ones of course had not had breakfast before the early start - so it was much appreciated. The muffins were actually very nice too.
We stopped briefly at the railway station to pick up some volunteers, and headed off in the direction of said mountain which is the highest peak in Shangyu.
It is called Fuzhi Mountain and is the highest mountain in Shangyu, and is in the southern part of the area. It reaches a height of 861 metres, which I think is a distance measured from where the buses first parked! It is famous "for a stone rock glacier."
Our first stop was at a Shangyu on the banks overlooking the river, and a formal welcoming cermony was held with a brass band playing from time to time. Then we all set off. Those that were competing in the run to the top of the mountain went in special buses and we continued on our own. It took nearly an hour to reach the area, and spectators were encouraged to climb the peak from the easy side.
After quite a few days of hot steamy weather, the last two have been cold, wet and miserable, so the path was slippery and about a third the way up I back tracked. I was sliding and scared of breaking a leg, and "sat ou"t the rest of the time at the hotel.
The hotel was interesting - it had a restaurant and many rooms, whichwas quite extra odinary considering the distance from the city and any other civilisation!
I only saw the peak for one brief moment as the cloud drifted away giving me a direct view for a few seconds, but it was so high we were well in the clouds.
On top of the mountain there was an award ceremony and the first few place getters were given a medal. One of the students from our college came second.
It was if the clouds were talking as we could hear voices of the participants and spectators as they made their way down the slippery slope, but could see nothing through the clouds. I waited. It was rather funny as a guy gave me something to eat. I identified them as shoots from a rose bushy - complete with thorns that one pulled off before eating the stem. (We do say that the Chinese are used to eating ANYTHING!)
Eventually all our team and supporters returned to the bus where the driver had a bucket of water and brush for us to clean the mud off our shoes before we went on board. One of our number, had fairly freaked at the rideup the mountain and labelled the bus driver as "crazy" and initially told me that everyone was going to walk down to the cemented roadway, but in the end no one did. He didn't get much support for that.
The driver managed to get us all down safely!!!!
Halfway down though we stopped at a village and everyone had lunch in a one of the many places there which sometimes play restaurants. A little primitive but the food was OK.
Back on the bus again, and on our way home. Later than planned but we were happy to arrive safely.
The drop on the side of the road was such that IF the bus had gone inches too far, we would have plunged to our deaths many hundred meters below. It was scary, but I kept looking at the scenery and taking photos rather than worrying about the danger on the side of the road.
(I'm told that this misty, low cloud, high rainfall, high humidity is good for tea and the other things they grow on the side of the mountains. The terraces were spectacular, and the scenery awesome!)