18.03.2017 - 19.03.2017
After lunch at home, I walked all the way down to the bus station in the afternoon and hopped a bus to Zhaoqing. I wanted to go to the beach but it was going to rain all weekend, so I thought it would be better to go to the city instead.
I had just bought a Hostelling International membership, so I used it on the one HI hostel in town. The guy didn't get my booking, so it took me about an hour to get him to call the head office and confirm it. He was gonna charge me some other price, I couldn't understand him, so I wouldn't pay until he called the head office.
I had some takeout for dinner because it was raining already.
in the morning, it was raining again, I went to the "plum monastery" on the west side of town.
It was a lot smaller than I expected, so I just left and started walking around the city walls.
The wall was under construction in a few places, so I had to climb up and down a few times.
There was a lot of really nice art on the walls.
And typical Chinese decorations.
These are the walls from the outside.
At this point, I was still pretty dry.
It wasn't even 9 a.m. yet, and I was wondering what to do with my day. I thought I could go out to Dinghu Shan for a bit. I didn't want to walk around in the dreary drizzle, so I bought the full ticket, including the bus up the hill. It was about 100 yuan. I hate that hiking in China is so expensive, but it's a nice barrier to keep all of the crowds out, usually. This time, it wasn't the case though.
You can take the bus there all the way for 2 yuan, so that's nice. As usual, you must walk past a long line of tourist shops before you get to the ticket office. I got on the bus and we passed tons and tons of students, all dressed in uniform tracksuits. So funny. They were trudging up the hill to the biggest "ding" in the world. A ding is an ancient three legged pot that was used for cooking food in, or for ceremonial purposes in the olden days. I don't think anyone is going to contest this world record anytime soon.
I wanted to get a boat and go out to "butterfly valley" and take a long hike, but the weather was too drizzly and they weren't going. I could take the boat, but I wouldn't be able to see anything, and we'd go on a short hike, that would be boring, so I declined.
I got back on the shuttle bus and we went over to Qingyun temple. It's the oldest in Guangdong.
I walked on down to the waterfalls, following some more students. The water was crystal clear and there were some signs talking about how this is the cleanest air and has the most "ions". Apparently, it's a really healthy place to breathe.
However, I climbed back up the mountain and on my way up, a trail that not many people take, I saw that the whole thing was fake and a big sham. Dinghu shan is a famous bottled water company and this is the place where they get their water. I guess that they dammed the river up in the process of taking it. Then, they made a fancy park to climb around in, and charged us all 100 yuan to see it. Reminded me of that famous song.
Then, I generally walked around in the mist the rest of the day.
On my walk back to the bus, I grabbed a steamed rice thing in a banana leaf. It had tuna and beans in it too. It was really filling and I got back to town, not interested in dinner.
I tried to walk back to the hostel but a giant storm picked up and soaked my legs up to my knees. I was feeling miserable, so I grabbed a bus for the last few stops, only to completely miss my hostel's stop due to the condensation on the windows of the bus. Grumbling, I ended up walking basically the same amount in the pouring rain, as if I never took the bus at all. I took off all my clothes, hung them up, and got into bed, not caring there were two other women suddenly bunking in the room with me. Ugh.
I found that it was raining in the morning again.
Totally demoralized, I tried to push on to a small village outside town, but when the bus station I wanted to go to was closed, I threw my hands up and went home. I stopped for breakfast and asked some nice college students how to get to this small village and they explained it in perfect English. I could catch bus 315 from the train station now, since the bus station had been demolished. But still, my feet were raisins and all I wanted to do was get dry. That wouldn't have happened in that village, I guarantee. I went back to the inter city bus station instead and went home.
At least now I know how to get to the ancient villages for the next time I'm in Zhaoqing.