This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
Thursday, July 23
Set my alarm for 4am. I didn`t have a headache so
I decided to go see the sunrise. I`m only going to
take my digital camera. This is going
to be a very light excursion.
I`m going to need a flashlight too. It`s still dark outside!
I`m planning to take only my electronics back on that
30 minute hike back from the hotel to the cable cars.
Let the porters carry everything else.
It should make the hike back a little easier.
Back from the sunrise walk.
The climb up was dark but the sky brightened up
even though it was cloudy.
It was pretty much a bust
as it was very cloudy and you couldn`t see the sunrise.
On the otherhand, there were still some spectacular
views afterwards. I took a few pics of the Immortals
Playing Chess and the Stone Monkey.
Sometime afterward, Steve admitted that he only
got to see the Huangshan sunrise like twice in 10 attempts.
If I had known that, I would have played the odds and slept in.
Just repacked my stuff. I`m letting the porters carry
all my non-electronic stuff. My computer bag is still heavy
though. I think it will be all right.
Breakfast buffet at 6:30am. I do have an appetite now.
We`re supposed to leave at 7:15am today! A very fast visit here.
We hiked 30 minutes back to the cable car station.
Then we took the cable car. Then we rode the
minibus about 20 minutes. Finally we are on our
regular tour bus. This ride is 1 hour to an "Asian village".
I`ve been awake since 4am. We don`t check into
our Beijing Hotel until 12:30am the next day!
I also gave Steve my "optional" tip money of $180USD
which included $150 for tips and $30 for the West Lake show
We visited to the Hongcun Vilage at Huangshan. According to
our local tour guide, Bob, this village invented rice paper,
brush pens and ink. They are also known for their
wood and bamboo carvings. We looked at several
houses. It was very interesting but they gave us NO
TIME to shop around there. I did manage to get a
bamboo container for 10RMB though.
I wish we could have spent more time here.
consists of about 140
residences dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Their claim to fame is these residences are very well preserved.
One of the largest residence, ChengZhi Hall, is opened to the public.
They also have their own water system that continuously circulates
and somehow provides fresh water to the village's residents.
How it does this is not clear.
The tour guides did not explain what this village
was really about. In fact, as we were riding the bus over here,
the tour guide just said we are going to an "Asian Village".
How vague is that?
It's funny how in some scenic spots the tour guides go overboard
in explaining too many minute details that will be soon forgotten.
In other scenic spots, very little or no explanations are given!
So we don't really know what we are looking at.
Then had lunch at the Zhu Yanrong restaurant.
The meal was pretty good and included entrees like the vines
of sweet yams, fatty pork and rice balls.
Right now we are heading to a "shopping place".
A 30 minute bus ride.
The "shopping place" turned out to be a high priced
store where they sell mostly jade pieces. I didn`t really
want to buy anything. This translucent jade ring caught
my eye but they would`t come down in price to make
it worth my while.
I take it this "shopping place" is another Chinese government mandatory stop
that they inflict on tourists, hoping to grab some of your money.
Also, I was kind of sleepy. I had gotten up at 4am and
just had a big lunch.
I was also kind of angry we didn`t
have time to shop at the Hongcun Village where the
prices were extremely reasonable rather than waste our time here.
So I decided to
bargain hard at the jade store. I ended up not buying
anything. It was a waste of their time and my time.
We Repack Our Bags
Back at the Huangshan International Hotel, the first
hotel we stayed at when we arrived in town and we
saw the solar eclipse here!
Steve gave us almost 3 hours to repack our luggage
before heading out. I think this is too much time as
I`ve already finished repacking within the hour.
In fact, Roy suggested less time for repacking
and more time for shopping.
So what are we going to do for the next 2 hours?
This hotel has crappy air conditioning too. You have
to sit in the shade to keep cool. I tried sitting at their
bar over the skylight but the heat overhead was sweltering.
There`s no wifi in the lobby. I`m going to try to find
their business center. I`m sure there are a few support
calls for me.
At the hotel`s business center. It`s on the second floor.
They charge $20RMB per half hour which is OK
except their internet speed is VERY SLOW!
I handled a few support calls. I also backed up
my pictures today.
After we left the hotel, we drove
about 5 minutes to our restaurant for dinner. We got there
early, so our local tour guide, Bob, walked us down
Asian Street, a side street of miscellaneous vendors,
and said we had an hour to shop. Why couldn't we have come
here earlier instead of wasting 2-3 hours at the hotel?
I didn`t buy
a lot but I did buy some sesame
seed candy and an small ocarina
with "Huangshan" Chinese characters on it.
Beijing Flight is Delayed
Now at the Huangshan airport(?)
(From my air ticket stub, it says Hefei Luogang aiport.
However, I don't remember taking a long bus ride to Hefei!
I think we left from Huangshan airport.),
we discover our flight is still at
Beijing! So that means we have at least a delay of
2 hours (flight time from Beijing to Huangshan).
Blah! That means we could be up +24 hours
before checking into our hotel in Beijing.
Steve tells us the airline was going to offer us a free hotel
room to wait for our flight. So we all stand near the gate
for a while waiting for the shuttle bus to take us to this hotel.
My feet were hurting from all that hiking in Huangshan. Then the airline says the flight
left Beijing and they were NOT going to offer us a
hotel room! What a pain in the ass! We all sit back down
It turns out we have a hotel room again! Air China
announced their flight to Beijing is more than
2 hours delayed. So they sent a bus to take us
to the Media Hotel Huangshan. At the hotel, they
distributed the room keys pretty quickly but
we had to double up because they didn`t have
enough rooms for all of us. I`m bunked with my buddy Roy
which is OK with me.
The hotel room was bordering on awful.
The thermostat in the room didn`t work right and the temp
in the room was 33C! We finally called the front desk
to ask and they sent someone up to help us. It turns out
the air conditioning was controlled by remote control.
The wall thermostat doesn`t work. Nice.
Then there was no bottled water in the room. So I went
downstairs to get some. I bought 4 bottles of water for
$6RMB each, $24RMB total. When I got back to the room,
a girl was already delivering the water!
I heard singing upstairs from an obvious nightclub in the hotel
and thought perhaps we could
order some cold drinks to take to our room. What a
fiasco that was. We were the ONLY customers in the place.
There was a language problem with the bartender. Yet one employee
decided to sing karaoke with the speakers cranked up
so we couldn`t speak to each other at all. How inconsiderate
is that? We eventually found out they had only warm
beer and no refrigeration! They offered ice but we
didn`t want to risk it.
I`m eating my sesame seed candy right now, drinking
some tea that Roy made and sipping some water.
Life is better now.
We get a wake up call around 1:10am in the hotel room.
We had to get ready and be downstairs in 10 minutes!
I had encountered this type of behaviour from
airlines before so I wasn`t surprised.
It just was a hassle being asleep for only 2 hours and
being rudely awakened again and then asked to be ready in 10 minutes!
My feet, knees and ankles hurt like hell but I make
the 10 minute mark. I walk slowly to the bus and painfully
go to an empty seat.
So we get bussed out to the airport again, go through
passport, x-ray lines and we`re waiting at the gate.
Our flight isn`t even here yet! Thanks Air China,
I won`t be flying with you again.
At the Jade Palace Hotel in Beijing. This is supposed
to be a 5 star hotel. No wifi in the lobby though.
The 2 hour flight to Beijing was uneventful.
Everyone on this flight is sleeping.
When we finally land in Beijing, the ground is wet. It had been raining.
Got a little breakfast at the hotel's buffet before going to sleep.