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My Trip to Zhangjiajie
2016-12-20 17:30:37  Zhangjiajie Tourism Information Website  

I was really looking forward to my trip in Zhangjiajie, and I’m still glad I went, though it wasn’t at all what I expected. 

I took the ditie (Subway) to the airport on Thursday, and I had a two-and-a-half hour flight to Zhangjiajie airport. I was so nervous when we were landing and all I could see out the window was pitch black. Zhangjiajie is what Wikipedia calls a “prefecture-level” city with a population just shy of 1.5 million, so compared to Beijing, this is the middle of frigging nowhere. 

The cab ride to the hotel was ?300, which I’m not surprised with because the cab ride was very, very long, but I still think that the taxi company scammed me. Given that I was by myself in a foreign country, I was thinking the whole way, “Oh my effing god, what if he was driving somewhere to sell me into sex trafficking or something?” Luckily, we were able to find the hotel, and my room had a decent view and a Western-style toilet, so that was good. 

On Friday, I went to the National Forest Park, which was within walking distance of the hotel. One thing, though: NO ONE MENTIONED THE WILD MONKEYS. Those little guys were EVERYWHERE, and I was so worried I’d get attacked. I was able to climb up one part of the National Forest Park as well as visit Huang Shi Zhai (Yellow Stone Village) for the gorgeous views. The scenery was so beautiful that I nearly cried when I was taking photos. 

At the time I was in Hunan, I didn’t realize how far south I actually was. The weather wasn’t too hot, but it was very, very humid (to give you an idea: I washed out my pair of socks on Thursday night; by the time I packed up Sunday morning, they still weren’t dry) so I was drenched in sweat when I was in the parks. As far as food goes, as sad as this sounds, I didn’t eat that much when I was there because I just wasn’t hungry. (Hunan food is supposed to be very, very spicy, and since I don’t care for spicy that much, maybe my body was subconsciously dodging a bullet?)

Early Saturday morning, I had a rather unwelcome surprise. I had half of a breakfast biscuit for breakfast Friday morning, but because I had it in my bag all day long in case I wanted it later, it was a bit soggy (yes, it was that humid out) so I threw it in the trash bin and went to sleep. Around five AM Saturday morning, I woke up to a rustling noise coming from the trash bin, and I turn on the light to see a rat trying to get the second half of that breakfast biscuit! Fortunately, the hotel was able to move me into another room so I didn’t have to deal with the rat, but it was a good lesson about never eating where you sleep. 

Anyway, Saturday and Sunday I went to Tianmen Mountain on the other side of the city. I went both days because Saturday the weather wasn’t the greatest so I wasn’t able to do everything in the park that I wanted to do. I did get some really neat photos on Saturday; since it was raining in the city, the mountain was covered in mist, so we were walking through fog, and it made everything very mysterious—that is, until I started feeling disorientated and wanted to go back to the hotel because if I went to visit Yellow Dragon Cave instead, I would just be drenched and miserable. 

Sunday was a better day at Tianmen because the weather was much more cooperative and I had more time to explore the park. I checked out at noon and was at the park by 2:00, and was able to do so much on the mountain, including the Guigu Cliff Glass Plank Path. Here’s the odd part: I have never been good with heights, but I was looking down the whole time I was on the plank path and I was not afraid in the slightest. I was actually more nervous standing on the rocky part than I was standing on the glass. For me, that was rather odd. All the same, I was able to get some really nice photos and I felt so at peace being so high up, enjoying the scenery and fresh mountain air. 

The park started closing up around 6:30, but my flight originally was to take off around 10:30, so I went to McDonald’s to kill time and to catch some dinner. The gift and curse of being an obvious laowai (foreigner) in China is that you automatically get the English picture menu. However, that didn’t kill enough time because my flight was delayed until I was taking off around midnight, getting back to Beijing around 2AM Monday morning. By the time I got back to the university around 3:00, I was happy to be back in Beijing, but I knew I was going to dream of the mountain vistas. Can I live in a place like that forever?

By Ashley Neumeister

Keyword:Tour inquiry & Trip advisory