Over the last weekend Richard, Johnny and I joined a bunch of students from Shanghai Jiaotong University for a weekend trip to some of the sights in the neighboring Zhejiang Provence, namely the big canyon in the region.
The trip started with the three of us meeting up in Xujiahui at 6:15am in order to take a taxi out to the University, which is about an hour away. After piling on a bus (which I did not really expect), and driving for about three hours, we arrived at our first destination, a set of limestone caves in a much more provincial part of China. The place wasn’t bad, but it, like much of the first day, seemed a bit artificial:
We then got back in the bus in the afternoon and drove for a little while to ShenLongchuan, a mountain where you hike up to the top. One of the guys we met there pointed out that this is a favorite pastime of the the domestic tourist Chinese: to find a mountain and climb up it. The mountain itself and the walk up to the top was quite pretty, with lots of scenery (some of the I’m sure was generated), but it made for a very pleasant walk/hike.
The best part of being out in the mountains was for sure the clean air and the clean water that ran through the streams. Compared to Shanghai and the Huangpu, it’s incomparable.
After finishing the hike at this mountain, we made our way to the town of Lin’An (临安市), a small city where our very plain and a bit sketchy hotel was. Our rooms cost 100 RMB, which is about $12. Sadly, there wasn’t much to do in the town in the evening, so some people went singing and a few of us went to get foot massages.
The next morning was another early one, with a 7AM departure time for the main attraction (whose name I cannot find for the life of me). We drove for a few hours to the site of the valley, got off of our tour buses and waited for a local bus to continue up the mountain to the starting point for the trail/hike/walk at White Horse Cliff. This place was far more inspiring than day one: the air was clearer, the walks were more pretty and more natural and I even heard birds chirping.
On the left is the name of the mountain, I think. If you can read it, leave a comment and let me know where I went.
It was a nice little trip to see another part of China. More time spent in a bus than I would like to, but I got to meet a couple new people and get out of the craziness of Shanghai. It’s stunning to see how robust the domestic tourism market is here: the whole weekend, I was the only non-Chinese person to be seen. There were hundreds, if not thousands of people at each site seeing their own country. It’s very admirable.
Interestingly, in the smaller towns we walked and drove through was more propaganda than I’ve seen anywhere in Shanghai. Signs everywhere saying “respect the rules of family planning”, or “obey the one child policy to make a strong civilization” or “respect the legal rights of women”, and on and on like that. I’m not even kidding, it’s totally crazy.