I have a new Chinese Canadian friend, Min, who is now from Montreal via Toronto and her hometown of Xi’An. She was traveling with her mother to a town at the junction of the road that leads to Taibai Mountain. On my first day I tried to find a way to the mountain and was quoted ridiculous prices for a ride to the top. Min gave me her mom’s cell number in case I needed help and she came to the rescue. We took the bus from the lot at the junction. The fare was 30¥ each one way. Far better than he 300¥ I was quoted the day before.
Above: An Infra Red capture of a ridge line with clouds on Taibai Shan
A short distance up the road is the entrance to the Park. We all had to get off and buy our 100¥ tickets and I being a visible foreigner had to go to another building to register by filling in a form and providing my Passport number. Our bus of 22 began our journey up the mountain. We stopped at a few scenic views for for 10-15 minutes each on our assent. Our bus climbed over 5,000 feet in elevation on the 45km trip. The trip with stops took close to 2-1/2 hours. I must say the road was better than the highways in Yunnan mountains, however there are no heavy trucks or big buses using he road to degrade it.
When we arrived at the welcome center there was there was 300 stairs, so we were told, to climb. I had to register there again as a foreigner. There were cabins campers could rent along with blankets and supplies. At the top of the climb there is a gondola that goes over a crest to where? Not sure! We wandered the area where there were souvenir hawkers and plenty of vistas. A path lead us through a structure to a different vista.
Another Infra Red capture: Camper Cabins, pretty rustic!
We returned to the parking area looking for a downward bound bus. There were 3 filling, however we were told they were filled with a group. There had to be 50 other buses that had delivered people to the top and return when full or the groups time had passed. We waited on the next bus, so we were told, to go down. 2 more passengers arrived and a cab offered to return us for the same fare as the bus, so we packed 4 into a compact Chinese cab and began our downward journey. The trip took 1-1/2 hours with stops only at the required brake cooling stations where people drench cold mountain water from hoses over hot wheels and brake rotors and drums.
Min and I parted company and I returned to my room to copy images from my cameras. I visited the Shaanxi Noodle house where Min and I met at in the morning to try the special noodles I had heard about. The proprietor we met in the morning soon greeted me and offered a table outside. I ordered my noodles with la (chili). A young man from the next table asked where I was from? I replied, Canada and we began a discussion about where I have been and why am I without a translator. I was invited to their table and we continued our talk, he was with his parents and grandparents here to visit the mountain. They are all from Xi’An. We talked about Xi’An and what I where I visited. They are staying at a hotel up on the mountain road. Originally they wanted to stay on the mountain and learned here was no water on the top in the accommodations so they are staying in the valley. The proprietor said through my diner conversationalist “the meal was on the house”, not! My meal was the family’s treat, a big turn from the night before:)