Before I begin, a blanket apology to anyone who interacted with me today: I forgot to bring chapstick to China and my lips were super chapped, so, rather than walk to the nearest convenience store, I rooted around in one of the bags that I brought and finally found a very old stick of Lip Smacker-brand passionfruit chapstick. So, sorry if my lips smelled like passionfruit today. Also, I think it's slightly tinted, because my lips look unusually supple and plump this evening.
Anyway, while I'm smacking away over here, let's get on back to Hubei. When we last left, Gus and I were hanging out in Wuhan, the capital city, which, in the early morning of Day Three was covered by fog (slash pollution) and the faint odor of burning trash. But we were ready to go after a delicious bowl of 粥 (rice gruel), and by 8:30 we were on a train to our next destination, 武当山: Mount Wudang.
By which I mean, Mount Wu-Tang, namesake of the Wu-Tang Clan (seriously, wiki it up). YEAH BOY. Gus and Jon: Bringin da ruckus to China since 2009. Having grown up on the crimes side (Willow Glen, San Jose, California) where stayin alive was no jive (in fact, my childhood was positively jive-free!), I was pretty excited by the idea of going to the actual Wu-Tang mountain. I will now admit that this is the main reason I wanted to go to Hubei. I wish I were joking.
Anyway, it takes 5.5 hours by train to reach Wudang Shan from Wuhan, so we were there by 2 pm. It then took us 3 hours to find the mountain, which seems like it should be much easier than it actually was. It turns out that Mount Wudang train station is fairly far away from the actual Mount Wudang. There were a lot of minibusses at the train station which said that they were going to the mountain, but we are conditioned to believe that anyone who offers us a ride anywhere is attempting to cheat us, so we refused. Hey bus lady, you're going to have to do more than offer me a bus to exactly where I want to go if you want to take my hard-earned 3 RMB (44 cents)! Not on my watch, missy.
Later, after walking for a half hour, we gave up and took one of the busses. But it turned out that it dropped us off a fair way away from the base of the mountain, so I felt partially vindicated in my initial refusal.
Once we arrived at the base of the mountain, we paid our entrance fee and boarded a second bus, which took us to our hotel near the middle of the mountain. This bus ride took about an hour, all told, and one person on the train vomited and had to put his head between his legs for the rest of the trip. Good News! That person was not me. This is surprising because I am what doctors call an "easy puker." Seriously, I vomit all the time. I'm vomiting right now. No big deal.
By the time we got all the way up the mountain, it was too late to make the final climb to the summit, so we just did a little hiking around our hotel. I'm tired now (what with all the lip smacking and puking), so I'll cover the beautiful temples we saw on those hikes plus our big climb to the top of the mountain tomorrow. There will be pictures, there will be stories, THERE WILL BE BLOOD.