Titanic Tai Shan - 14th June 2008 @ 10:39 am «   »

Location: China, Shandong Province : Titanic Tai Shan

Taking a taxi from the Tai’an train station we checked into the Jixiang Hotel, right opposite the Dai Temple in the heart of town. The hotel is modest, to say the least, with your standard hole-in-the-ground toilet (which is also the shower) and previous patrons hair all over the bedding. As always the bed was the normal half-inch thick matress on a hard-board base and novel bean-bag pillows.. tough on the old ears, and hips. We’re getting old!

That night we decided to brave a local eatery just up the road. We each ordered a main meal which we soon realised was not quite neccessary as this was enough for at least 4 people. The food was quite good, but we learnt our lesson again to not order just any old chicken dish as they often simply chop the whole bird into shreds – bones, skin & all and toss it in a broth. It’s impossible to work your way through to the meaty bits with chopsticks!

The only reason for coming to Tai’an was to climb sacred mount Tai Shan – the most revered of China’s 5 sacred Taoist peaks with imperial sacrifices offered to heaven and earth from it’s summit. It’s is said that if you climb to the peak that you will live to a 100 years.

Early Friday morning we set out from our hotel to walk the 2km to the start of the mountain trail at the north end of town. The peak is 1545m above sea level with a total climbing distance of 7.5km from base to summit and a measly 6,600 steps to grind your way through. We started the assent at about 9:40 and reached the Midway Gate to Heaven (1/2 way up) at 11:15 – 20 min earlier than expected – our faces a strange shade of purple. We got out our packed lunch here and rested to catch our breath.

Being one of China’s major tourist attractions (the May-holiday weekend attracts almost 200,000 visitors) there were thousands of people on the trail but we were the only foreigners in sight. In fact since we left Beijing 2 days ago we’ve seen a total of 3 other white people. Needless to say we were as big an attraction to the Chinese tourists as the mountain itself. Everywhere people stop and stare, point and laugh or try to make conversation. At this stage Marizanne is just behind Diana as the most photographed woman on earth; taking into consideration the 95 million people in this, relatively small, province alone.

We reached the summit just after 14:00. On the top of the mountain is an array of temples, hotels and shops with people everywhere. Apart from walking up, there is also the option of taking a minibus & cable-car to the top, so there are lots of fresh faces about. It was extremely humid and the whole mountain was cloud covered and shrouded in a misty haze, which gave it a mystical feel.

The entire hike was an amazing experience, albeit a pretty tough one. Dispite the exhuberant price, we opted for the easy way out and took the cable-car down.

We were absolutely knackered and enjoyed the evening with instant noodles and sweetcorn sausages in our hotel room. We had noticed an informal snooker club in the alley behind the hotel, and after dinner Jan decided to test the locals’ skills. He managed to get a few games, but of course these guys were much better than they looked.

Taking a ‘rest-day’ we made our way back to Ji’nan on the train this afternoon and will be moving on to Shijiazhuang in the morning.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

3 Responses to “Titanic Tai Shan”  
Mamma van PE Says:

Hi julle .dankie vir jou antw Jan. Dis baie goed dat julle kans sien vir die klim. Ek raak sommer kortasem om net daarna te kyk!Dis Vadersdag vandag en ek en my buurvrou het gaan uiteet,lekker maar teleursteling van oorgaar steak as jy rare bestel het.More is Jeugdag,so ek gaan ‘n slag rolbal speel.
Vandag gesien van die oorstromings in die suide van China.
Geniet dit en weet dat ons julle liefhet en dat julle vir my dierbaar is.
Mamma v PE

Mamma van PE Says:

Jan en Marizanne, nou eers weer gekyk na julle nuutste fotos,en wou net se dat dat pragtig is!Nou vir die 1ste keer na die fotokalender gekyk.Jong dis darem ‘n fantastise blog!!Oom Daniel is in ekstase daaroor en herken hier en daar ‘n plek waar hy ook was.

jan Says:

Hi Moeder,
Ons is bly Ma kan ook nou bietjie na die fotos kyk met die nuwe ADSL connection. Dit maak ‘n groot verskil.
Ja, kan nie glo ons het al meer as 1,600 fotos opgesit nie.. in totaal het ons al amper 6,000 geneem!