The day started off with my best breakfast yet – a steamed bun and a bowl of noodles from a place just down the street, which seemed to be full of locals darting in to slurp a quick bowl of noodles or soy milk, or picking up some buns to go.
Belly full and warm, I dozed off on the crowded bus from the WulongZhai station, while enroute to the base of the elevator (see red line on the map from my previous post). I woke up when we stopped and a bunch of people were getting off. Glanced out the window and saw the bus stop sign mentioning the elevator, so I scrambled to get off, past the people crowding to get on. Once off, I realized I had gotten off too early. The sign was for where to wait for the bus going TO the elevator. Oops. Well, there was another trail that I could take, from where I’d gotten off. So, I decided to do that! I walked along beside a little sightseeing monorail, and then started walking up up up many flights of steps to get to the top of mount Tianzi. More killer views. Fewer trail friends this day. Did chat briefly with a Swiss couple who were also hiking up. They had a drone that I imagine got some truly incredible photos, soaring around among the karsts. Those viewpoints really made me wish I could fly, too.
Sometimes it seemed like I was the only person on a trail. And then I’d turn a corner and encounter a guy sweeping leaves off the steps, in the middle of nowhere. The whole park was remarkably well-kept.
At one point, I walked through a particularly quiet section of forest, when I thought I heard…purring? Nope. The flittering of many wings of some kind of small birds in the area. They chirped a little, but mostly just flew around in the bushes.
I took hundreds of photos.
When I got tired, I took some shuttle buses back to a gondola down to the base, followed by another bus back into town.
After some snacks, cleaning up (shower, laundry), and blog photo uploading (slow going on the hotel WiFi), I walked into a different part of town for a late dinner in a random restaurant where they spoke no English. I pulled out my “can you recommend…?” card. There weren’t many pictures on their menu. I played charades to indicate that I just wanted something small. The waitress pointed at a menu item with a relatively low price, and then made her hands into ears on her head with and said “okay?” A guy who had come over to help made horns and a bull charging motion. We all giggled. I looked up “beef” in my dictionary and confirmed that that would be okay. Also used the “normal spicy” text I’d gotten from my hotel host (since some of my first meals in town were bland, and since Hunan is known for spice, I wanted to try it the “right” way!) Anyway, wound up with a plate of something like a spicy Mongolian beef.
I wanted a foot massage, but by that point wanted sleep, even more. Zzz!