Waking up that morning in the tent was horrible:
I decided to go back to sleep and wait for the rain to stop.
After a while a group of farmers appeared:
They gave me some bread to chew on and told me to better get going:
“Can’t be staying out here at night – don’t you know about the BAOZI?”
Steamed dumplings? 包子？
I couldn’t help laughing.
They were serious though:
“No, really! What do you think why the house over there has been abandoned?”
So what, an abandoned house…
“It’s the B A O Z I !!”
I took my time packing up my stuff in the rain.
Leopards… it seemed too odd to me.
The farmers had also told me to go back to the creek and take the other path up:
So there I was again.
…walking through Scandinavia:
A little bit of rain and snow, heavy fog, and dark sinister trees standing around everywhere.
I was going for the mountain top, but I couldn’t see it, so I just kept on going up, until I reached a tunnel:
People had been telling me to visit the memorial of the Communist Party’s Long March on Liupanshan, so I figured I was on the right way here:
What started out as a footpath turned into a creek:
And then the creek turned into a steep mountain side:
You know, there are some sections of this walk that I’d never want to go back to:
This is one of them.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I arrived on some kind of road:
And even though I couldn’t see a thing, I just believed it would take me to the memorial.
For once, it really did:
All major statesmen in the PR China have visited this place:
This is the last mountain that the Chairman and his CP had to overcome in their Long March of 1934/35.
The memorial itself is just a huge block that kind of sits there, isolated on a massive platform:
There’s a museum downstairs, dedicated to the glorification of the CP, and the whole place is stacked with devotional objects about the Chairman:
Even though some big shot politician from Beijing had just visited here two days ago, the whole place still seemed kind of deserted today.
Just the occasional people sightseeing, and a friendly bunch of guards who were working up there:
They gave me some milk for my cookies, and since I hadn’t eaten or rested since the morning, I enjoyed sitting down and having a long chat with them.
We talked about a lot of things, and at some point I kind of ironically mentioned the farmers telling me about the leopards in the mountain.
“What, you didn’t believe them?” the guards seemed surprised, “of course there are B A O Z I up here, we’ve all them before!”
Well, I hadn’t seen any leopards.
The way down the western side of the mountain was as much a breeze as the eastern side had been a pain:
After a while, I got to a village, and there were houses and cars and people:
And most importantly there was a good chance to buy something to drink.
When the sun started to set and decided she was going to go out in style and grandeur, nothing bothered me anymore:
Not even my hurting feet.
What, you think I’m totally zen now?
Hell no, first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel was get online and look up “liupanshan leopard” to find out if it was true.
And apparently it was.