We left Beijing just in time- we woke up at 4 am and it was LASHING rain, Ireland style! We arrived Zhangjiajie at 9 am on Wednesday and were met by our guide Ruby and driver Mr. Ching. We went straight from the airport to the bottom of Tianmen Mountain and changed in to our shorts and Ts (it was over 35 degrees and sunny). We got the 7.5 km cable car to the top of the mountain and took in the views. We then took a chair lift across to the Buddhist temple which sat on top of Tianmen peak- definitely one of the highlights so far. The Tianmen temple was even more spectacular than the forbidden city and the temple of heaven. From the temple, we walked around the edge of the mountain on the 1.5 km high walkway and crossed the glass bottom bridge!
It was now time to climb to the top of another peak to the Tianmen cave- 999 steps, 5 breaks and 30 sweaty selfless later, we were at the top! After posing for some pics with more Asians, we made our way back to our verrrry questionable “government hotel”.
That night we had a little visitor who made himself comfortable in Lindsey’s shoe. Teo and I were just about to fall asleep when Lindsey jumps on the bed and starts screaming. A frog had jumped from her shoe to behind Teo’s bag. Using a bin, Lindsey, the frog princess herself, managed to chase him of our room- my hero!
Our breakfast at the hotel was less than desirable- Chinese people eat Chinese dinner food for breakfast, and since we weren’t hungover we were in no mood for a sweet and sour pork at 7.30 am . Today there was a lot of walking involved- first an hour walk around the edge of another mountain (can’t remember the name) to look at the sand stone formations that were the inspiration for Avatar. Then we hiked for 2.5 hours around the Golden Whip Stream. As we walked, Ruby told us the story behind each of the names of the different sand stone formations (mother and baby, husband and wife, the two generals, the candle stick, the staircase to heaven etc). On the way home we all fell asleep in the car, and when we arrived in our new and improved hotel, we went for a two hour nap, waking up just in time for dinner. When choosing a restaurant, we decided on the one that didn’t have live frogs outside in a cage for the customers to choose to eat- as we couldn’t help thinking about our new friend Kermit! We sat outside in a typical Chinese place, and luckily a Chinese girl on the next table came over to offer to help us order. As I’m am now a temporary veggie, she ordered me meatless dishes. Some English movie was playing on an outdoor screen in the restaurant so we watched that as we ate. It was only when we were leaving did we notice the dog carcass hanging with the rest of the ageing meats 😦 Thank god I ordered veggies!!!!
Another day, another banana breakfast! We took the worlds No. 1 elevator to the top of the viewing point for the floating mountains- though as it was another lovely day, the fog wasn’t out so the mountains weren’t floating. Our guide told us that in Zhangjiajie it usually rains half the days of the year so we were very lucky with the weather! The mountains are full of monkeys, and after spotting the baby monkeys, I instantly regretted not forking our for a rabies shot- I wanted to hug ALL of them! After our lunch of floating chicken head soup-which I didn’t eat- we headed to the airport.
Since we love ourselves, and we deserve it- we are now waiting in the first class lounge waiting to go through our personal security check, to board or first class flight 🙂