Charlie's China Tour—Tour in Huangshan

2019-01-23China travel Guide

Awoke at 5:20 AM, feeling GREAT!! Yes, another nice breakfast. We check out of the hotel and depart at 8 AM. We've now been driving in heavy traffic for 50 minutes and we have not yet arrived at the bus station. Yes, everyone is switching lanes, merging, rarely signaling the lane change but things move right along. The use of the horn is meant to let others know 'here I am' and is not something aggressive is as the case all too often in the US. Here, there seems to be total respect for the other drivers and what they are doing. It's 8:50 AM and we're at the bus station. Catherine helped us with the bus station protocol and we said our 'goodbyes' to this very helpful, cheerful young woman.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

We then found some seats in the waiting area of the bus station. Our bus departs at 9:40 AM and it is a 3 hour drive to Huangshan. The bus is not filled to capacity. Jay and I both have window seats with no one sitting along side of us. That translates into more leg room. Several times now Jay and I have been referred to as 'brothers'. An 11 AM 'pit stop'. 11:15 AM and we're back on the road. Bamboo trees along the road. Jay is checking on the wi-fi password on the bus. As we travel higher and higher it is getting foggier and foggier. A brief stop for a police check. Our bus appears to be really moving as we are passing many other buses. Jay now is seated at the front of the bus along side of the bus driver in the center isle. A baby is crying (screaming) in the seat behind me. Catherine earlier informed us that the temperature this morning at our destination was 13 C (55 F). We continue onward passing more buses. This bus ride is getting a bit crazy as the the man in the seat in front of me and the woman behind me are both having LOUD telephone conversations and the baby continues to cry. 

Cloris greeting us as we got off of the bus

We arrived in Huangshan at 12:25 PM. At 12:45 PM were were met by Cloris, our local guide. Huangshan is a city of 1.6 million, a quiet peaceful city as described by Cloris. Huangshan translates to 'Yellow Mountain', We are driving to the base of 'Yellow Mountain'. The city of Huangshan is a plateau and not actually at a high elevation. This area is well-known for its black tea. 60% of the people earn a living in some way from black tea. We are told that black tea is good for the stomach and contains less caffeine. We are now driving up the mountain often through very long tunnels. We drove about 40 minutes to a restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious lunch. Lunch today consists of sweet & sour chicken, a mushroom dish, cauliflower, & a large bowl of white rice. You might have noticed that on this entire adventure, we have been very well-fed. Today we were especially hungry so we did a pretty good job with the 'lunch challenge'. At this restaurant we left behind our luggage as earlier we had packed only for an overnight as we will be doing a lot of walking up and down the mountain and then taking a cable car further up the mountain.

Friends along the way  

From the restaurant we drove about 30 minutes to the place where the cable car is. There is a light drizzle of rain. As we drove up the mountain the foggier it got. The light drizzle later turned into a heavy rain. The heavy rain along with the fog made it difficult to see more than 2 feet ahead. We got into the cable car, it's raining, and now the visibility is limited to about 10 feet. The cable car ride lasted about 15 minutes. We're now higher up the mountain and as we got off of the cable car it was now raining even harder. From there we walked up and down the mountain side for maybe 45 minutes.....45 challenging minutes. Going up those stairs was a bit of huffing and puffing. The heavy rain continues and because of this and the heavy fog we were very limited as to where we could take pictures as on a clear day, the surrounding panorama would be breathtaking. Cloris who of course is trudging along with us tells us that it rains about 200 days /year in this area.


Up and down, up and down stairs such as these

This is how supplies were brought to the hotels

Finally we arrived at our hotel, the Xihai Hotel, a very welcomed site. Each of us had adequate rain gear so we really weren't too wet. The hotel is very large and very, very nice. Hopefully it won't rain tomorrow and we'll get some good photo shots. Cloris helped us find our room. The front desk area of this hotel is on level 4. To get to our room it went, level 4 to e via an elevator, a walk to another elevator, level 3 to level 1, a walk to yet another elevator, up the elevator to level 5 where our room could be found. Are you following me?? That's 4,3,1,5. We will meet Cloris for dinner at 7 PM, that is if we can find our way to the restaurant. 😄 As was the case with all of our other local guides, Cloris is a delight. A big smile, enthusiastic, and eager to please. Cloris is not from this area but went to a university in Haungshan, loved the area, and here she is. 'Cloris' and 'Catherine' are sisters from different mothers in my opinion. Dinner was indeed at 7 PM. We dined at a very elegant hotel restaurant. I'm sorry that I didn't bring my tux. We had 7 food selections on our table. The staff asked us if we would critique the food & the sauce. Later Jay and I walked around this spaceous beautiful hotel. The hotel is so tastefully designed and furnished. To bed at 9:30 PM for me. What an amazing day this has been.

To be continue...

--by Charlie Kath (customer of Visit Our China)