Monday, June 29: Wutai Shan, China
8:15. It is agreed that the free breakfasts we’ve been having just aren’t cutting it. Jason orders several platters of egg and tomato, fried rice, and noodles in broth. We dump the rice in with the noodles and make a sort of porridge. All is well in the world.
8:20 Kirk volunteers that he had a strange encounter in the middle of the night. He awoke at 3 a.m. to the sound of someone peeing in his bathroom. This wouldn’t be that strange if his roomie, James, wasn’t sound asleep in the other bed. Kirk went to the bathroom door and found a middle-aged Chinese woman sitting on his toilet. “Get out,” he bellowed. She nonchalantly pulled up her pants and let herself out. Kirk knows that he left the door unlocked and vows not to do that again. When he’s done telling this little tale Jason says that he too had this issue. His roomie Duncan slept right through it but jason swears that he too found a strange womannin his bathroom. Apparently they’re so impatient with their roommates that they let themselves into our unlocked rooms and used the facilities. None of us have ever experienced anything quite like this and Jason assures us that it’s not commonplace in China.
9:00 We walk up a large hill / small mountain to a monastery. It’s spitting when we leave and pouring when we reach the top. I buy an umbrella from a vendor for 20 Yuen. It’s wonky to start with and completely useless within an hour.
11:30 I take a cable car halfway up another mountain and then walk the rest of the way to a second mountaintop monastery. There are a lot of monks and nuns (?) walking around. They appear to be domestic tourists. Most have either an iPhone or iPad and many photos are being taken.
13:00 On the way down the mountain we encounter a number of beggars and a guy with two birds in a cage as well as some type of fox. He offers to release the birds for 50 Yuen or the fox for 200 Yuen. James jokes that the fox is likely trained to come right back and hop back in the cage, ready for the next sucker with 200 Yuen to come along.
14:30 The others go out in a cold rain but since I still have a cough and chest cold, I decide to stay indoors for the rest of the night.
23:00 A lot of good that did. I go to bed and cough worse than ever once I’m laying flat. It’s a good thing that this is my turn to have a private room. (There are an odd number of single men and women on this leg of the trip so one of us always gets a private room.)