AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Jiuzhaigou Tour: Day 3


Posted on May 30, 2014

Day three and we were heading back to Chengdu. Breakfast was at 6am but we skipped it and instead ate yet more cake snacks. We left at 6:30am. The mountain scenery that we drove through was beautiful. Steep, near vertical hills rising to pinnacles hidden in clouds. The trees were many shades of green and a mist hung over the valleys. This was the kind of scenery only seen on TV. But we didn’t stop for photos! On the Tibet tour we stopped every time the scenery looked good. On here the people were content with taking poor photos from through the bus window as we drove past – the window was steamed up as the bus driver wouldn’t put the aircon on to ensure the engine had full power. Very annoying! What’s more annoying is why we didn’t stop. It has nothing to do with getting back to Chengdu at a reasonable time. Oh no, it was because of all the shops we had to visit on our journey back. Our first stop was at a supposed Tibetan house. It didn’t look Tibetan, the people didn’t look Tibetan and they didn’t dress Tibetan. We were led into this supposed house where with the help of our translator we were told some of the things the woman was saying. The basic gist was, she was Tibetan and her culture and traditions were different and backwards. The people would laugh often at what she was saying. Basically, the whole thing was self- deprecating to make the Chinese way seem superior to the old fashioned Tibetan ways. Borderline racist and propaganda. Two things surprised/annoyed me there. Firstly, the woman was midway through speaking when her phone rang. Rather than ignore it she left the room to answer it. What could be that important? Secondly, the people seemed surprised that she had a phone! They actually lapped up and believed this crap that the Tibetan people were poor and backwards and undeveloped! Stupid stupid stupid people! We were then led into the shopping area. Yet more silver bracelets and bone combs. A different kind of tat to that sold in Tibet. On the plus side they had some food stalls and I bought some chips with chili sauce. The toilets were foul! Even the Chinese held their noses! We left there after spending over an hour in that fake hellhole! At 10am we stopped at another large shop. We walked in, a route zigzagged past huge displays of food. To look would prompt shouting and gesturing from the person manning that section. I walked down looking at everything just to get them...

Read More

Jiuzhaigou Tour: Day 2


Posted on May 29, 2014

Breakfast was at 7:30am. It consisted of waterlogged cold rice, plain beansprouts and a strange bread (kind of like sourdough and very stodgy). We have got used to eating poor food but this was pushing our limits. The noise of the others eating was only just bearable. We were driven to the entrance to Jiuzhaigou National Park. The guide spoke for 20 minutes on the bus and this clearly wasn’t long enough as he then spoke for another 10 minutes at the entrance to the park. Our unofficial translator told us briefly (in about 1 minute) the gist of what he’d said. We had to be back at the bus for 4:30pm. The park was a Y shape, get the bus to the centre and then go up either side. There’s 60km of paths in total so he said where to skip. The only restaurant is in the middle of the Y shape, but it’s expensive (almost everyone else visiting the park had the instant noodles and snacks with them, very few would be buying food in the park). The guide had said to get the bus from the centre of the Y around 4pm to be back in time. The park was busy. Very busy. There was probably a couple of thousand people crowding near the entrance and this was a Thursday morning. We queued for the bus which would take us to the top of the left hand side of the park. There was a line of buses, as soon as one was full the next would pull up. A gap of about 20 seconds. So we were surprised at the child like behaviour. Everyone was pushing and shoving as hard as possible. Many were jumping the queues to get on the bus. As soon as the bus door opened everyone would run forwards to get in first. This was as bad as the school bus! It took us 30 minutes to get to the top of the park. This place was far bigger than expected and it became obvious we couldn’t walk the routes we’d planned. We were dropped off by Long Lake. We’d bought some small cakes as a snack and decided to eat most of them now because we hadn’t eaten much at breakfast. Afterwards we took two photos then headed down the path to the next lake. The sight wasn’t very impressive. The path was the same as yesterday. A raised wooden walkway. Flat, wide and with shallow steps. Suitable for anyone. It took a few minutes to get to the next lake known as Colourful Lake. It was quite nice with a...

Read More
Jiuzhaigou Tour: Day 1

Jiuzhaigou Tour: Day 1


Posted on May 28, 2014

When we were in Nepal at Annapurna Base Camp we’d met a guy from Alaska and his Chinese wife. We’d been talking to him about the trip and that our next destination was China. He’d said we should visit this national park. He said it was beautiful and amazing and a must see. In Chengdu the hostel we were staying at had tours to the national park so we decided to visit it. The tour was a 3 day tour, although that was a day driving there and a day driving back. The tour was a Chinese tour, meaning no English was spoken, there’d be no English people and it was all Chinese basic meals. Still we were undaunted. We were picked up from the hostel at 4am by a crazy minivan driver. Ignoring all traffic lights and generally driving as if he was the only vehicle on the road (4am in China and there’s still plenty of cars on the road). We picked up two girls who were dressed for a party in the park! Summer hats with flowers and frilly bits, long flowing skirts, platform shoes or high heels and thin tops. We had walking shoes, walking trousers and proper wicking t-shirts. We looked rather over prepared next to them. With 4 of us in the van and a total of 7 seats we then picked up another 5 people. Luckily it wasn’t far to the bus. We sat on the roadside and waited until 5:15am for the bus to arrive. On the bus we were the only foreigners. The guide went round and checked everyone was there, he spoke to us saying his English was poor. That was the last time he spoke to us (except once when we asked him what time breakfast would be). He then used the microphone to speak to everyone at 5.30am. Unfortunately, it seems that Chinese people are deaf as the volume was on full and he was talking loud. The volume was ear burstingly loud! My ears hurt from it. Plus it was horrible. The volume was so loud we could hear him smacking his lips together, licking his teeth and swishing his tongue around his mouth. He spoke for over 20 minutes! We stopped for a toilet break around 8am. Chinese toilets are quite simply the worst I’ve experienced. They absolutely stink and usually have piss soaked floors and troughs filled with shit. Upon entering the toilets the urinal section was quite full so I headed for the troughs. The walls are waist high and looked empty. At the first one I found a guy crouched down taking...

Read More