Today we have about 300 kilometres to drive to our hotel at Guanling, via some waterfalls.
The area we are driving through is a beautiful Kastland with it’s distinctive shape mountains.
We head off on the highway for about 1.5 hours to “a beautiful scar on the earth – Maling River Canyon”, Malinghe where there is a very deep gorge that we walk into and across a suspension bridge that gives us views of a lovely waterfall.
In order to save time we catch the glass elevator back up to nearly the top of the park.
There are a few different ethnic groups in this area and some of the women are wearing their beautiful traditional clothes.
It’s a beautiful area that we’d like to spend more time in, however we have to push on, so we have a quick morning tea and get back onto the road.
Our next stop is only 26 kilometres from our hotel at Huangguoshu Pubu to visit the largest waterfall in China. Once we park our cars we have lunch and attract a small crowd with one lady coming up quite close to watch Kay spread the peanut butter on a bread roll. Something she’s probably not used to seeing.
This area has many waterfalls so we catch a bus to the first one that we are seeing and we walk along a board walk to get a closer view. This is only a small waterfall but it’s lovely the way the water spills over the enormous rocks.
We circle the lake at the bottom of the waterfall and come across a statue depicting the Monkey King legend which is based on the travels of a monk to India in order to bring the teachings of Buddha back to China. This story is told in the book Journey to the West and was the foundation of a TV series and the 2014 movie “The Monkey King”.
We then catch another bus up quite high to a drop off point where we walk through a beautiful park area that has hundreds of really old bonsai pots. Michael is in his element examining them, going from one to another. Some of them are quite large and would be hundreds of years old.
Some of them have labels hanging on them that states what type of plant it is & the name of the family that has donated it. Unfortunately we can’t read them as they are only written in Chinese. There is one that even has a branch over the path we are walking on. One tree isn’t even in a pot it’s just growing out of the rock
We descend many stairs to the largest of the waterfalls and the largest waterfall in China, which is very impressive.
Once again to save time (not our legs haha!) we catch an elevator back up to the top. It’s a very long steep elevator similar to those in the London Underground.
One thing about China there are signs everywhere telling people what not to do, we have been highly amused by the English translations, which sometimes make absolutely no sense at all. For example “no retrograde” which we think means don’t come back this way? “No slapsticking on the bridge” which we think might mean no hooning around? “No frolicking on the escalator” which we have no idea what they mean! Quite often they show “Export” where they mean “Exit” but we can work that one out as we presume they don’t want to export us back to Oz.
When we arrive at our hotel we park the cars in a semicircle on the forecourt of the hotel & despite being dirty they look quite good together.
Tonight our guide Green takes us to a local restaurant where the towns residents go to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays. The decor is very Italianate, with heaps of gold tiles, chandeliers and ceiling frescoes to rival the Sistine Chapel!
Just walking into the restaurant along all the corridors with the many private dining rooms is fascinating.
Our table is a huge circle with a marble topped lazy Susan that the 13 of us fit around with plenty of room to spare. We have a beautiful banquet with many delicious dishes including a whole large sweet & sour fish, the meal costs us only $6.80 AUD each, which is excellent value.
After dinner Michael & I visit the shop next door that sells the local Baijiu which is a clear liquor made from red sorghum and is between 40-60% alcohol. We try our best to communicate with the man in the shop using hand signals & gestures and he offers to give us a tasting of whichever vat we would like to try. He opens up the big lid & dips in a very small cup & offers it to Michael, who likes it, I wasn’t so keen, although after the burning of the alcohol there was a pleasant honey after taste. We try a more expensive one which is $56 AUD for 500 ml, so not a cheap drop! After much smiling, hand shaking & laughing he offers Michael a bottle as a gift, which is very embarrassing and he refuses to take any payment for it. We are invited to join them in the back of the shop for tea which, we do, and using Google translate we have a wonderful conversation. We take them to see the cars, they take photos and we finally say good night at about 10:15 pm. What a lovely experience this has been, thank goodness for Google Translate!