Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Xi'an, Part IV

So, climbing Hua Mountain was probably one of the most physically difficult things I have ever done – and we only climbed two peaks! Some people actually make it to all five peaks. However, it took us about four hours to complete the arduous task.

Hua Mountain is known for its extremely dangerous and difficult routes. Some trails are located precariously close to steep rock faces. Others require you to use chains to drag yourself up nearly vertical staircases. The most deadly paths were closed to the public.

We took a cable car to the top of North Peak.

Then we started climbing...

There’s me in the above picture! We started getting really high up…

I stopped taking many pictures because I was so tired and was only concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. My legs were really getting sore and stiff. I look exhausted in this picture, don’t I?

We finally arrived at the West Peak, 2,082 meters above sea level! It is only the third highest peak out of the five.

This probably wasn’t too safe, but I didn’t fall!

Then we had to hike all the way back to our original point because that was the only cable car station. I was inspired to keep going and not just sit down for a few hours by some of the people I saw. There was a fellow mountain climber whose arms ended at his elbows. How he managed those steep staircases, I can only imagine. Also, there were many poor peasants whose daily job consisted of lugging heavy cases of water bottles and souvenirs up the mountain to sell to tourists. I don’t know how they accomplish this but it is an amazingly laborious task. We spoke with a poor man who said it was his fifth day on the job and he had already run out of money to buy drinking water. People like him make me feel like I live a very spoiled life.

For example, each hotel we stayed at had a delicious, complete breakfast buffet.

At this five-star hotel, there was kimchi, rice porridge, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and roasted radish.

This breakfast feast included 3 types of bread, steamed eggs, two mini (quail?) eggs, and veggies.

At this hotel, offerings included hardboiled eggs, pork buns, and cabbage.

Here we have a bowl of steamed eggs, a bowl of fried rice, steamed squash, and roasted cauliflower. You can bet I had seconds and thirds of that delectable squash!

I definitely will miss these breakfast foods when I’m back in the states!

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