I’ve spent way too long trying to come up with a good opening line for this post on our group’s long weekend in Anhui province.
Exhibit A: “If variety is the spice of life, then misfortune is the [name of specific spice…cumin? Star anise?] of the curry that is travel.”
OK seriously what the fuck was that. Do I even English anymore? My ability to articulate thoughts and ideas into fluid English sentences has deteriorated rapidly of late, possibly at a faster rate than my Mandarin is improving. Even reading back my first post, I think “damn bro that’s some deep, pensive shit. You’ve got imagery going on, a few poetic lines, ruminating on your complex emotions – good job lil buddy.”
And now? Isabelle was telling me a really funny story the other day (in which she also made a Nietzsche reference that completely went over my thick head) and the only response I could muster, after a considerable amount of time, was “you are a good human”. Which is completely true of course, as Isabelle is the best of all humans, but it’s worrying that the most basic subject-verb-object sentences are all I seem to be capable of now. Becoming English-illiterate was definitely not part of the 2016 plan.
tfw everything is going to shit but you’re tryna stay positive
As for other things that did not go to plan, see: this entire trip to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), which we visited over the Tomb-Sweeping long weekend at the start of April. Huangshan is one of the most famous mountains in China, known for its ridiculously gorgeous scenery. It’s almost a required visit for every Chinese person. Whether it be my parents, family friends or relatives, each has their own story of climbing it.
However, we were unfortunate enough to pick the one weekend that forecast persistent storms. Even as all our classmates decided to call off their own long-weekend plans, we decided to just “yolo fuck it”. I now know that, sometimes, maybe, you shouldn’t “yolo fuck it”.
This is what Huangshan looks like when it’s showing off.
And this is the visibility we got to enjoy.
Characters still locked
Nevertheless, we had plenty of fun battling the elements and laughing at our own misfortune. A particular highlight was watching Sean, who to be fair is our most fit group member, get carried like the principito he is on a sedan chair by two guys he paid up endless flights of stairs as they huffed and heaved through the rain, almost dropping him off the side of the mountain a few times.
We eventually bailed and spent the rest of the afternoon soaking in hotsprings and drinking tea, being much less #intrepid than we really should have been.
The next day we visited some small, ancient villages – Hongcun, Xidi, and the Bamboo Forest, which were all lovely and quaint despite the rain. Cobbled stone alleyways, hot street food, hidden coffee shops, flower fields, all that good stuff.
A confusing shoe situation
On our way back, we stopped by a KFC for familiar comfort food only to be told that they had RUN OUT OF ZINGER BURGERS. What the fuCK KFC YOU HAD LITERALLY ONE JOB. I feel like this incident really typified the one long incredible fuck-up that was this trip (I won’t even go into the endless accommodation/transport dramas). Anyways not being able to procure a Zinger burger at KFC really hit hard. It was definitely time to go home to Shanghai. As such, we loaded onto the sleeper train at 10pm, six to a cabin, ate our Pocky, had a little pillow talk before I read 10 pages of Crime and Punishment and drifted off into the sweetest sleep in a long time, despite being on a mattress about three millimetres thick.