For anyone whos really into Chinese history, October 1,1949 was the day the Peoples Republic of China (aka Commieland) officiallycame into existence. So, every Oct 1 is a huge national holidaythe entire countrygets the week surrounding that day off, except of course for the tour guidesand hotel workers who have to work overtime to accommodate the millions oftourists roaming the country.
For my vacation, I headed back to Guizhou to actually see some of the sightsmy students kept telling me about back in August. I met my former co-teacher, Devin, who isstill studying in Guiyang, and his mother, whocame up for the week to visit him and see China.
Sept 29 I left Beijing.That was quite a feat in itself. I made arrangements with a cab driver before Ilefthe picked me up at my dorm at 4:30 PM so I could get to the airport inpleny of time for my 7:20 flight. Wereon our way to the airport, stopped in traffic, when some crazy guy in a vantried to back out of a driveway, right into the side of the cab. The cabbieyells at him and pulls forward to avoid being hitonly to run into the woman infront of him. Yes folks, I have been in a Chinese car accident.
The cabbie told me I should get another cab because he hadto wait for the police, give statements, etceven though I couldnt even see ascratch on the womans car. I get letout on the side of the road on some random back alley in Beijing with my suitcase. Im sure I lookedincredibly awkward, because immediately a black cab pulls up and asks me whereIm going. Never get into a car with astrangerunless its Beijing,5:30 and you need to catch a 7:20 flight. I got to the airport with no trouble,landed in Guiyangby 10 and was in my hostel bye 11.
Sept 30 the fun began. First stop: Huangguoshu Waterfall! Thebiggest waterfall in Asia, and the third largestin the world (Im not sure which measurement theyre using there height,width, water volume, etc but thats the statistic my students had to memorize). We started by visiting Longgong Caves(aka Dragon Palace) which is really close. Some breathtaking views of cave formations,all from a boat as we floated down the cave river. Unfortunately, someonedecided it would be a good idea to light cool formations in neon green, red,purple, etc instead of plain white light so some of the pictures look a bitUFO-y.
Longgong Cave and river
See what I mean about the lights Happy Buddha outside of Longgong
After Longgong, we stopped off at what can only be describedas a living infomercial. We went to a knife factory, were ushered into a presentationroom, and watched as this Chinese woman cut various vegetables, peeledpotatoes, hacked up a phone book, and sawed at a metal pipe. It was bizarre,considering this was part of a professional tour of Huangguoshu and thesurrounding areas.
When we finally got to the waterfall there was plenty to seeanatural bridge, a stone forest (trees growing on rocks) in the water, anothercool cave called Tianqi Cave, lots of little waterfalls, and the big daddyhimselfHuangguoshu. Beautiful. It was indeed huge, with a giant rainbowarching all the way across to touch both banks of the river. The best part was the cave system behind thefallsyou can actually go behind the waterfall and look at it from the back,even stick out your hand and touch it! It was pretty amazing.
“praying man” rock
Path to the caves
Behind the falls
Touching the water
And to top it all off, there were some of the best Chinglish signs I have ever seen.
And the best for last…
posted Friday October 2007