We arrived to Old Phoenix town, having barely made the last bus (not surprising given our trends). By the time we finally found our accommodation and healed our famished states, we looked up from our plates to see the beautiful lights of the area against the dark backdrop of the river.
In good spirits, we bought ice cream, drinks, and did some light-souvenir shopping. We even bought some floating candles from a grandpa to make wishes and watch them drift down the river.
A very sweet moment in theory, but a disaster in reality.
Gushing over and taking pictures of our own individual candles, the old seller urged us to place them in the river before it was too late. As half the candles went out, and the other half went up in flames, the grandpa packed up his stuff and fled the area. Hahaha. We didn’t blame him, and instead had a good hoot at the scene on the river.
Unfortunately for such a beautiful location, the evening’s atmosphere was disturbed by the booming music from nightclubs. I mean, I like a good shimmy once in a while, but for such a traditionally decorated area, it was a little confusing to have the existence of nightclubs there. Although I had a good laugh when I peered into some of the clubs and saw people awkwardly swaying on very empty dance floors.
Am I mean? Apologies if you were one of the awkward dancers. I’m sure you’re a lovely person.
The next day, after taking pictures of the area in daylight, we took a bus to our next destination, Zhangjiajie. Of course, we arrived too late and missed the last bus up to the national park where we had booked our stay. I remember how frustrated and exhausted we were in the moment, but since it’s been so long, those emotions have long faded and become replaced by amusement.
Although Zhangjiajie is a very very beautiful place, the first day that we arrived was a very very scary experience. I’m not talking about the place here, I’m talking about the people. If it was one place that I could have possible died during my entire trip in China, I truly believe it would have been in Zhangjiajie.
The crowds and the amount of pushing was INSANE. At one point, we had to take the elevator up to a viewpoint, and I swear, the moment those elevator doors opened, it was if there was a zombie outbreak and getting on that elevator meant the difference between life and death. Wedged in the elevator from different corners, the four of us met each other’s gazes with shock and fear. The sad thing is, I’m not even exaggerating. I guess it’s one of those “you had to be there moments”.
Also, did I mention the stairs to some of the viewpoints? They reminded me of chicken cages, with the thinnest rods for footholds and the view of what it would be like to fall to your death in between every step. I don’t think even the grown man who was trembling and hanging onto the fence for dear life at a previous cliffpoint would have made it up those stairs without peeing his pants. I’m scared of heights but I’ve never actually cried from the fear. Check that off my bucket list.
The following day was better. We walked up and down an endless amount of stairs, but they were NORMAL, SOLID stairs ON THE GROUND, thank you very much. Even if my legs had gone to jelly by the end of all that, I much preferred it to the chicken cage stairs of death.
The night ended with a much anticipated McDonald’s meal, and somehow they were the most satisfying french fries I’ve ever had. After a quick shower, I flopped on my bed, falling asleep to the sound of Margaret scrolling through my camera’s album and snorting at Katrina’s faces…