I saw and heard him at about the same time.
He was singing loudly, and intermittently hitting himself on the back with a red pouch tethered with a white string, which was then wrapped securely around his right hand.
As we passed on the sidewalk, me failing horribly to suppress images of Monty Python, I asked him if I could take his picture. He said yes, but didn’t want his face to be shown.
We talked for awhile. Him about the medicinal purposes of the pouch, and then asking me where I was from, how long had I lived in China, my age… the usual stuff that I’m asked about. He then asked me to guess his age. I said 60.
“66,” he said with a wide smile.
My friend Craig and I climbed Hua Shan and went on the Plank Walk in May of 2010. I’ve previously posted pictures from the mountain to my flickr and facebook accounts, but didn’t blog about the experience. In light of an article making the rounds calling the plank walk the most dangerous hike in the world, I thought it might be good to offer my perspective on the subject.
First, if you are afraid of heights, stay off the walk. It is as simple as that. If you want to do some immersion therapy, do it somewhere else on the mountain. The path has two-way traffic, and having someone frozen in fear just isn’t conducive to the harmonious environment that we who live in China seek.
Most of the articles I’ve read that talk about how dangerous the plank walk is gloss over or omit that people use safety harnesses (with redundant connections to dual steel safety lines) when walking on it. The harnesses are available for a small fee (which I think was refundable on return).
I’ve seen old pictures of the walk where there weren’t any safety harnesses or cables, but I’m fairly sure these have been in place since at least 2008 (for the influx of tourists coming to see the Olympic Games).
Craig on the ladder leading down to the plank walk. Again, notice the dual chains, as well as the steel safety cables on either side of the chains.
And, of course, the beautiful landscape below Craig.
Skyward view from the ladder. The weather was wonderful that day.
Locks left on a link of chain (for good luck).
- sì = to think, reflect; meaning
- guò = to pass by, past;
- yái = cliff, bank, ledge, precipice.
He further states, “[p]ut them all together, and you should get the general idea”.
One last look down before heading up the ladder and off the cliffside.
And, finally, on what was probably the most dangerous part of the trip, doing a bit of free climbing.
Located not far from my apartment complex. I’ve walked by it numerous times, but haven’t had my D300/14 mm with me. Was tempted to come back again when I saw the small car parked in front, but decided it might add a bit of interesting contrast to the enormity of the building behind it. I really like the reflections in the black glass of the building, as well as the tinted glass of the car. (In Beijing, it is legal to have the front side windows tinted… probably because there isn’t as much risk of a police officer getting shot here during a traffic stop as there is in the states.)
I’ve never been inside of the club.
Chong Chong turned three months old today. To celebrate, we bundled him up, and took him to the neighborhood square to get some sunshine and enjoy the blue sky. Shanshan and I took turns holding him, and walking him around the square. There were around six other children around Chong Chong’s age in the square as well, all bundled-up in a similar fashion.
Also in the square were kids playing, and older folks intently playing cards.
Here are two more pictures: