It has been decided. We are going to Thailand. We leave the mountain on December 5th. It will take us 4 bus rides, 1 train ride, a flight to Kuala Lumpur (Malasia), 4 days here to get our Thai Visa’s, another flight and a car ride to end up in Phukett. We will find sun and fun on the way. For example, our first flight leaves from Chengdu, where we will go see pandas at the world’s biggest research and rescue center, and there are loads of things to see in and around Kuala Lumpur so we will make good use of our time waiting for our Visas. We are leaving most of our stuff behind on the mountain in storage, so we can travel light. It snowed again this week. The kids were thrilled and it was beautiful, but my bottom nearly froze to the toilet seat, so I am sure we have made the right choice in seeking sun!
With the temperature all over the place nearly everyone has a cold, including us. Practicing outside with a running nose is really entertaining. Especially because the Chinese don’t believe in tissues, they just blow their noses right out onto the ground…or floor and walk away. I have finished The 12 Brocades. I really like this Qi Gong set, as it is easy and lends itself to people of all abilities. It will be a good addition to the things I already share with my clients. This also means I have started my first fast form, Ji Bin Chuan. I was a bit worried if I was up to the task, but I am loving it. I think even Master Lee is surprised how well I am doing. I have even been proactive. I asked one of the girl students to show me a spin they do that is really pretty. She thought it was hysterically funny watching me try it and she commandeered help from an older boy, but after several days I am getting better. Also we (my yoga group) have intensified our stretching. I am almost down in my splits for the first time since Kailin was born, and I can do backbends again. This is says something for both the training and the injections I had done in Florida by Dr. Farschian a few months before we left.
More students leave each day and by mid December there will be only 3-4 foreigners left. Then in January the kids will go home for winter break and Chinese New Year. It will be quiet and those left will get a lot of attention, but we just can’t hack the cold with so little heat, especially with Kailin trying to home school. Master Guan has been gone for the past 2 weeks and we miss him. Hopefully he will be back before we leave. He gets married in December so I’m not sure, but rumor is he will be back.
We were very ambitious over our weekend. There is a 16km hiking trail that goes from Carefree Valley to Qiong Tai, where the gondola leaves for Golden Top. We had heard many great stories about it so, as the weather was very beautiful, we did it on Wednesday. Kreshna, being a recent arrival on the mountain, hadn’t already done it so he went with us. I thought it a good idea to have a guy along on something so long and remote. He was great. We both like taking pictures, so he doesn’t find my frequent stops annoying. It took us 6 hours, and was stunningly beautiful. We saw only 3 other people the whole trip. It was so beautiful we were on “OO” and “AH” overload.
This is part of the path people have taken forever and ever on their pilgrimage to Golden Top from the bottom of the mountains. It is somewhat groomed: clear path, rest tables, regular signs, but the path has places of considerable disrepair. Like hanging rope bridges with large gaping holes, elevated paths with sections missing, and the last hour or so is an intense climb up the side of mountain to Qiong Tai. This said it was a great experience. We finally saw monkeys, though they liked our peanuts a bit too much and scared the heck out of Kailin. The Black and White Dragon Falls are something out of a fairytale and the flora is stunning. It is clear why Wudang is the heart of Chinese herbal medicine. Kailin and I picked wild chamomile.
By the time we finished….we were finished! We struggled the last few feet to a restaurant at Qiong Tai and allowed them to feed us anything they wished! Christy meant us there; she was seeing the local herbalist. The goal was to take the gondola up to Golden Top and then walk the 2000+ steps down the other side to Nan Yin, but we were way too tired. When we got back to school via bus, were we collapsed into bed and slept like the dead for good couple of hours. Only raging hunger and a need to pee forced us from our beds. It took us all day Thursday to fully recover. Still I will do it again in the spring when the flowers are blooming!