A night spent in Hangzhou introduced me to a rather popular Chinese drinking game. Popularly played with a local beer called Snow, you have a cup with 5 – 8 dice in it. You roll yours, not letting the opponent(s) see, and lay claim to how many of one number you have. I can say I have four 3’s, and you must go higher, ie any number of 4’s or more than four 3’s. If you think someone is bluffing, call them on it. When counting, everyone’s dice are fair game plus a 1 can be any number. The loser drinks a smallish glass of beer… which add up fast. The Chinese can really put them down with this game… though the beer is extremely light and only about 3%. I didn’t get much done the next day.
From there I stationed up at Tangkou to climb the fabled Huangshan. LP recommends visiting Mr. Cheng (Simon) for info and on my way there I was approached by non-other than Mr. Cheng himself on a bridge with a spectacular British accent. He sorted everything out for me including the next stage’s train ticket and gave me lift on his motorcycle to the bus. Really nice guy.
The mountain itself was one of those experiences better held in memory than the doing. Huangshan is generally held to be one of the top 10 thing to do. About 40 minutes into the ascent the rain started, not terrible and stopping as I got the to the top areas. This meant clouds obscured some amazing views. The it really started to pour. Most took to cable car up and it was literally a Chinese fire drill with people running everywhere to hide or get down.
I found a cafe (there are several hotels on the top) and waited the better part of 2.5 hours for it to die down with some hot ramen. I traversed western steps in a fast 1 hour dodging the crippled, hobbling, limping, oldsters, youngsters, road hogs, chatterers, and those going down backwards while holding a friend.
And I was soaked. Umbrella torn to shreds, but I savaged a yellow trash bag parka.
Upon return to Tangkou, I had just enough time to air my feet before grabbing a local bus and then hardsleeper train to a craphole of construction called Yingtan. The hardsleeper is open compartments of 6 beds with open windows and fan. Interesting to say the least and I almost missed my jump off at about 4 am. Still wet, I could only get a more expensive soft sleeper ticket (after being told to screw of I’m assuming and rescued by an English speaker) and proceeded to haggle for a hotel room to shower and finally change clothes since the next train is 5 pm.
I hope to spend a few days in Guilin and especially Yangshou before getting a sleeper to Kunming. I’m just glad my shoes are dry.