The International Steam Pages
Shibanxi Holiday 2011 - Day 15 - In the Hall of the Mountain King
One of the features of China is that while its many peoples share a common written language, its spoken version varies more and more the further you get from Beijing. And by the time Yuehong gets to Sichuan she is struggling to communicate at all, it's not a question of dialect, it's a full blown different language with very few words in common. Our first target this afternoon was what we had always called the "Three Kings' Shrine" (San Huang Miao), but in fact it's "The Mountain King's Shrine" ('Shan Huang Miao'), the king in this case just happens to be a tiger, a creature that has not been seen in the area for a long, long time.
So my idea of giving this page the title of "We three queens of orient are..." lasted about as long as it took us to get to the top of the hill and the Sichuan Queen (JoJo on the left) to ask a local about the shrine.
It's a stiff climb up the valley below the old hospital in Bagou, alas John Raby recently came to grief trying to follow my original description as some inconsiderate bastard had added an extra truck road since we were here in 2010 and he got lost half way up instead of reaching the top. So this view is just for John to show him what he missed...
When we got to the shrine, JoJo paid her respects, if we were in old time Malaya, we would say it was "Time for a Tiger":
Jin Jizhou was 'only here for the tea' although he was necessarily disappointed by the condition of the semi-abandoned estate on the hill top:
If you've ever run with the Hash House Harriers as I have done long ago in places like Penang, you would appreciate this walk:
And as in all the best Hash runs, this one has a spectacular view point, our most eligible spinster JoJo ponders what she is missing far from home in Beijing:
When we were here in 2010, the view needed more than a bit of help from Photoshop, today it was simply magnificent:
There can be a lot worse places to find a final resting place than just below this summit, the latest resident was interred in 2010:
Down at Tong Qian Ao, it seemed that the baby factory had been working overtime since our last visit. The interesting residence behind described in our previous report now carried an entrance fee so we declined an invitation to revisit. Fortunately the 'bottle stall' was still charging sensible prices and I was able to get myself properly rehydrated while Jin Jizhou used his portable tea making kit. The sun had now gone on holiday, so we had missed very little in the way of gricing as there tend to be few trains in the late morning and early afternoon.
The road to Bagou brought evidence that 'Sat Nav' guidance in China is about as reliable as it is in the UK, it's no substitute for a brain that works. Just how long the minivan had been here we couldn't tell but it looked well and truly grounded with both rear wheels well clear of the deep ruts...
In the unlikely event it had got to the bottom of the steep hill, then the walls on the dam road would probably have shaved off most of the remaining paintwork anyway:
In the best traditions of Parkinson's Law, the time taken for the walk had expanded to fill the time available and it was almost five o'clock (= dinner time) before Bagou came into sight. Owing to the wonders of mobile phone technology, our final visitors Zhao Gang, Ding Feng Yuan and young son Zhao Tian You knew to wave to us from the town square as we descended the hill.
Yuehong and I enjoyed discovering this great walk in 2010 and it was just as enjoyable the second time around, sharing the pleasure with some like-minded good friends was a great bonus.
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson