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Taken Prisoner And Held Against Our Will

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

When The Ig and I finally left Datong for the last time, we had to bus East the 70+K we’d hiked.  The day before we’d walked through a dilapidated, dismal little village with banners at both ends of town proclaiming, “Welcome To Nine Dragons Hot Springses Spend A Holiday The Village”.

(Rob and Marsh; little brick buildings dot the sides of the road with the resort banner in the distance.)

                                                   resort sign.JPG

“Ooh,” I said, “let’s holiday here!”

Just past the village a sign for the resort pointed left towards the mountains, but there didn’t look to be much out there and we didn’t give it another thought.

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Great American Spy

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

On our hike today we had to start a few kilometers west of the outskirts of Yang Gao, the town in which we were given the boot.  Yang Gao sits 1k off the main road, and as we neared it, we finally figured out what they were hiding from the lao wei.  Risking life, limb, and the possibility of being force-fed rice wine and chicken heads until confessing, I pulled out my camera and snapped the photo below. 

As you can see, the hideous, multi-colored building in the distance is obviously the Great Clown Paraphanalia factory.  I have to say I can’t blame ’em for wanting to hide that.

                                                clown paraphanalia factory.JPG

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Gettin’ Jiggy With The Gong An Ju

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

When William Lindesay did this trek back in the ’80’s, the Gong An Ju, or police, were something to fear; he was repeatedly detained and thrown outta places.  Just the other day I wrote in my journal how much easier we have it.  Not only do the police often honk and wave at us, but on several occassions they’ve even offered us rides.

It wasn’t until last night that we had a run-in with the gong an ju.  We’d hiked over twenty kilometers outta Datong before catching a bus ahead to Yang Gao; we’ll be doing this a lot now since we ditched our tents.  Once in Yang Gao, we were turned away at two bing guans, and even the taxi drivers were acting sketchy.

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New Random Photos Page

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Alright, I’ve finally caught up on uploading all my recent photos.  The new photo page is on the right under “Random Photos, Pianguan To Ping Lu”.  Ping Lu is otherwise known as Tiki Torch/Robot With A Toupee Town.

And really, today we’re heading out for Zhangjiakou!  In about ten days we’ll hike Badaling, the most famous bit of the Wall, and then we’ll pop down to Beijing for 2 days for a little R&R.  After that, we’re estimating it’ll be around 3 weeks until we see the end at Shanhaiguan on the Bo Hai sea…wow…

Calling All Chaperones!

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Really, The Ig and I desperately need someone to pop on over to chaperone us.  Although we were all packed up and ready to leave yesterday, we again decided that it would be in our best interest to go and see the grottoes at Yun Gang, a world heritage sight. 

                          P10100221.JPG                       P10100231.JPG

Nevermind that we knowingly strolled right past them to get here or that we pissed away four days just laying around eating junk food; when it was time to leave we suddenly realized we must have a “culture” day.   

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Not Long Now…

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Tommorrow morning we set off for our next checkpoint city, Zhangjiakou.  I can hardly believe we’re this far into the trek, but in a little over a month I’ll be able to finally proclaim my hard-earned title as the first woman on planet Earth to hike from Jiayuguan to Shanhaiguan following the Wall.

Whoah!

Up To No Good…

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

And what a great time it was.

With 15k left before Ig and I were “officially” in Datong, we went out yesterday and finished up our hike. We’d decided we were gonna picnic with some of the junk food that was sent, and before hitting the road we hit the market and found a bottle of Great Wall chardonnay.

The first picnic spot we found was perfect; a few trees in a grassy area across a stream.
(Rob and Marsh; photo shows the rickety bridge and nice grassy area with a few trees across the stream.)

almost our picnic spot.JPG
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‘Twas The Night Before ITLAPD

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

‘Twas the night before International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and all through the dark, dank, musty-ass bing guan, every creature was stirring, especially the prostitutes in the hall talking to Chan, Dick and Juan.

I was trying to slumber when from across the room came such a clatter, a deep gravelly voice speaking piratey chatter.

“Ye taxi driver!  Might ye be knowin’ whar the wung ba is?  And, dor shaow chyen?”

“Shut up!” I laughed.  “Get some sleep and save it for tommorrow.”

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Real Head-Turners, Us

Monday, August 14th, 2006

After being here in China for three months, it’s hard to believe that we’ve not yet learned to blend in. We consistently leave a slew of astonished locals in our wake no matter where we are. Not only are we the single-most leading cause of whiplash in these here parts, but the distraction we cause can be downright dangerous at times.
Just today on our way back from the ‘net cafe, we were trying to cross the road but weren’t having much luck. Heavy traffic wasn’t the problem; it was merely our presence.
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Notable Expectations

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Somewhere on my last prolonged overseas trip, I met a guy who spun a yarn about how horrifiing Chinese toilets are. I don’t remember the guy at all, nor what kind of traveller he was, but I have a vivid image I created in my mind about a toilet he used.
He told me about how he’d entered a public toilet where it was so dark he could barely make out the urinal trough along the wall. He kept slipping as he made his way towards the trough, and when he looked down he saw thousands of maggots. Slipping and sliding, he ran right back out.
Now, the guy had made it sound like he’d waded through a sea of maggots up to his ankles, and he ended his tale saying Chinese toilets were the worst in the world.
Before coming to China I’d braced myself for the possibility of facing this exact scenario. So far I haven’t found the public toilets too bad, and it wasn’t until yesterday that I experienced anything close to the above tale.
While out finishing our missed kilometers into Jingtai, Ig and I stopped after 9k for our first break in front of a petrol station. Although there was a much preferred corn field across the street, I opted to unleash the beacon in their squatter, as there were people around. Squatting and settling in, I looked down at my feet, where I had about thirty new buddies dancing about to keep me company.
Reeling back a bit, I suddenly had no urge whatsoever to pee.
“Just pee, just pee,” I urged. “The sooner you do, the sooner yer outta here.”
It took nearly an entire agonizing minute to start my biz, but once back outside and in the fresh air, I wondered about the guy’s story. Surely he was someone who didn’t get outta the squeaky clean cities often and his tale was exaggerated.
I’m not going to go as far as saying the toilets here are clean, but a couple maggots in comparison to some of the real baddies I’ve seen and used is nuthin’. I mean, I’d rather have maggot slime stuck to the bottom of my boots than…other schtuff.
Anyone have any disgusting toilet tales to share?