….and come to China instead.
For someone who is painfully adverse to physical activities, I have been doing a shitload of walking over the past few days. Endometer for Android tells me that we have been averaging 20km – 25km of hardcore walking since our arrival in China. I am talking about walking in slope-y terrain at 3000++m above sea levels… many a times with a 15kg pack on my back.
I know… the more physically snooty amongst you guys probably snorted at the previous paragraph, but trust me, it is a big deal to someone like me who would normally whine about having to walk the 500 meters from my house to the bus interchange.
Today was no exception.
Since the plans to go visit 四姑娘山 (Mt. Four Girls) was disrupted, we decided to head to青城山 (Azure City Mountain.. literal translation from Lonely Planet) instead. To be honest, having read a lot of the sword-fighting novels of 金庸 (Louis Cha) growing up, I was not particularly thrilled at the idea. 青城派, the sword fighting clan originating from 青城山, are always the ones who get their asses kicked by the protagonists in the novels. I mean if I am going to be traipsing through ulu back mountains, I should at least have the one-in-a-million opportunity to find a long lost sword-fighting manual that will allow me to NOT have my ass kicked. I am quite keen on finding the manual for九阳神功.
What I expected to be a 3 hour day trip to pussy mountain turned out to be much more than that. We’ve all seriously underestimated 青城山. It took us 5 hours of uphill tracking to ALMOST get to the top of the mountain. At that point, half of our group gave up and decided to start heading down. The rest of us decided to persevere and carried on for another half an hour before we hit the secluded temple at the top of the mountain. (it REALLY was there!! Just like something right out of a Kungfu novel). And then it was another 2 hour FAST march down the mountain to make sure we got out of there before sunset.
A Younger Me used to say that China is a place I’ll probably vacation in when I am old. I was expecting lots of mountains and rivers that you will get to see from vacation buses or boats. The Chinese have a saying for someone like Younger Me: Ni Shi Ge Idiotic Numbskull.
There was NO WAY we could have experienced the mountain like we did today just rolling by on a bus. The trails of 青城山 are simply amazing. We walked through pathways carved out of stones at the side of the mountains. We were always followed by clear streams that led into mild rapids that transformed into waterfalls cascading into azure waters (azure is my new word of the day. It’s fun… azure azure azure).
There was also all the greenery around us. Beside the famous gingko trees and plum trees of 青城山, there were exotic plants all around. A sign on the trail says that there are unique herbs and shrubs in the mountains that the ancient Taoist priests believe can lead to immortality. This explains why Taoist priests flock to 青城山, and probably how 青城山became the birthplace of Taoism. Walking through the trail, it is not hard to see why.
Like many other parts of China, it was refreshing to hike up 青城山. There is always something new to see just around the next corner. Things never get boring. It was almost enough to downgrade my long-standing animosity towards nature to just “mild disinterest”. Almost.
This is probably the reason why Jo had not gone deaf from my Supersonic Brainwave Destructive Whines yet.