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Wudang Shan

Written on: Tuesday November 13th, 2007

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

Finally a place where there are no other Western tourists, we finally felt like we were really off the beaten track, as barely anybody in this town spoke English either. So armed with my important phrases and ridiculous Chinese accent we tried our hardest to beat off the ever-present hoteliers at the train station to get to the hotel in the guide book, but to no avail. The smily lady, happy that we had given in walked us around the corner down some dodgy side alley, up a run-down staircase to a, it must be said, pretty nice apartment. All for the knocked down price of under 3 pounds each.

Before we had time to get settled though, an even smilier lady, who could well have been the smily lady mother, came knocking at our door and beckoning us to come with her. We obliged, and were presently led to the familt restaurant. I use the term restaurant very loosely, as it was really just 3 walls with a couple of tables inside them, but nevertheless we were once again treated to a hearty meal. The even smilier lady kept on bringing over dead animals and we just on signalling as to whether we would like to eat that animal or not, so we ended up with a whole fish on our table, a chicken and some other quite tasty creature at our disposal.

Another early morning and we were sat to see the fog once again set in, but we made our way to the base of Wudang Shan, for the purpose of us being here, to climb one of the 5 holiest Tao Mountains. Wudang Shan translates as Military Mountain, and probably has this name due to it's connection with Kung Fu, where in many of the mountain's temples it is still taught today. The mountain has also the setting for the movie Crounching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Once we took the bus halfway up the mountain we had risen above the fog and it turned in to a nice day, the climb up the mountain though was strenuous to say the least with thousands and thousands of steps at quite a steep incline, rising right up Jindian Gong (Golden Palace Temple) at the very peak of the mountain.

Taking in the panoramic sights for 20 odd minutes, we then foolishly almost lept back down the mountain, racing each other down the sets of stairs with Kung Fu dexterity, which 4 days later my calves and quads are still reminding me of. Arriving back in town late on we were greeted once again by Mrs Smily and Mrs Smilier together, and informed them that we would like to stay another night. It was that night we realised why Smilier was Smilier as we decided to eat at a different restaurant in town and got charged 28 yuan for 2 meals, whereas she charged us 90 yuan the night before.

Dave and I are now definately down in the getting ripped off stakes!