Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chinese Traveler's Guide - Tài Shān (泰山)

On my most recent trip to China, I had the privilege (if you could call it that) to climb a goddamned mountain. Tài Shān is one of the Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism. It must be badass to see, I wouldn't know, I started climbing it around 11pm. The thought-process of the tour guides was to have us take 4 hours to climb half way up the mountain and then rest, then take 4 more hours to climb to the top to watch the sunrise. I never made it to the top. I'm not a pussy...as a matter of fact I made it to the half way point...my knees just kinda said to me...
"Wait...this isn't the top? Fuck this noise man...If you want to make it to the top you're gonna do it without our help."
So my legs gave out, and I felt as if my diabetic heart was going to give out too...which has never happened before; not to gloat, but I have climbed the Great Wall three times...and that is one of the most fucked up experiences I have every dealt with. Flocks of tourists and awkward and uneven steps work against you as climb as steep as 60 degree inclines.

Here are some tips to climbing the mountain:
  1. Bring lots of energy restoring food and fluids.
  2. Eat a hearty meal...fuck Chinese KFCs they will only slow yu down.
  3. Stretch...for at least an hour, you are going to be walking up over 1500 steps.
  4. Note that the sun doesn't always rise in clear sky; the rest of the students who continued on told me that it was so cloudy and hazy that the sunrise was no where near as awe inspiring as the tour guides said it would be.
  5. If a tour guide asks if you want to go see the birthplace of Confucius, Qufu, after climbing down the mountain because it's only about 45 minutes away, say fuck you or no about 25 times. It just means many queues and more historical shit that looks like other historical shit you've already seen elsewhere. That sounds really mean and ignorant...but you have to understand, when it hurts to stand and all you do is stand and listen to tour guides talk in butchered English for about an hour it becomes goddamned infuriating.

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