Noilly Prattle: China 2017: 10 – monkeyshines

Sunday, May 28, 2017

China 2017: 10 – monkeyshines

     We made our third excursion into the Wulingyuan Park by taxi to the eastern entrance, a real taxi for 10 yuan. Being a Monday the weekend crowds had thinned out—there was only one group tour when we went through the gate. We were getting used to the routine of taking the park buses and getting to a desired destination by pointing it out to the bus driver on the map and getting a nod.

the view from the top
       The destination for our third and final day into the park was the 326 m (1070 ft) Bailong Elevator 百龍電梯 – “Hundred Dragons Sky Lift” (billed as the world's tallest outdoor elevator) in which you glide up the side of the cliff face in glass enclosed cars. There are three double-deck cars that can carry 48 passengers each that take about 2 minutes to make the 326 m climb, not counting how long you may have to wait for a car. We were fortunate and didn't have to wait very long either going up or down. 

Video from inside:

Video from outside:

     After getting off the elevator on the mesa top a road leads to another bus stop that takes you to a spectacular paved walking path along the cliff top with great views of various sized hoodoos, deep canyons and cliffs eroded by eons of weathering.

Who's looking at who?

       I am particularly fascinated by monkeys since they often behave in ways that resemble human behavior. It was a big treat for me, therefore, to see lots of wild monkeys that make their home in the park and are accustomed to getting food from people eager to feed them—or stealing food from others not so eager to feed them. One particularly aggressive male ripped off a bag of oranges from a young woman who was taking photos of her boyfriend while said monkey put on quite a show struggling to get the peel off one particularly stubborn orange while giving me the evil eye.


Her Imperial Highness

      The clifftop path was long and winding. One older woman had the right idea; like an empress she got herself carried in a sedan chair. The path eventually led to an amazing 50-meter thick natural rock bridge connecting the main mesa to an adjacent hoodoo. There is a temple built on the top of the hoodoo. The trail and steps up to the temple and around the hoodoo top are lined with thousands of red streamers creating a very colorful red pattern amid the surrounding greenery. The streamers are bought by visitors to the temple for good luck and prosperity in life and tied to fence posts, tree branches or any convenient appendage to hang them from. There was a very interesting tree formation (without red ribbons) growing out of the rock set against a background of cliff face that resembled a man about to step off into infinity. Can you find him in the photo below left?

good bye cruel world

a souvenir?
       We were pretty tired and hungry but browsed around a souvenir shop before getting to the bus stop to the Bailong Elevator. Happily, there was a KFC restaurant for lunch and fortification since we had to walk another 300 meters to get the bus back to the Bailong Elevator. 

        Back at the Maosao Inn, we arranged for a car to drive us to Fenghuang for 1000 yuan, a little pricey by Chinese standards but reasonable enough by our Japanese ones. 

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