Day 3 Wudang Shan

Table of contents for Eric Lee China Tour 2009

  1. Day 1 Chicago
  2. Day 2 Beijing
  3. Day 3 Wudang Shan
  4. Day 4 Wudang Shan
  5. Day 5 Wudang Shan
  6. Day 6 Wudang Shan

We finally made it to our hotel in Wudang Shan Tian Lu, the nicest hotel on the mountain that is within walking distance from Purple Cloud Temple.  We were on the train from Beijing for 13 hours before arriving in Seng Feng.  Our guide in Beijing got us onto the train, which was surprisingly on time, and we would be on our own until we arrived at Seng Feng.  We were in a soft sleeper car on the train which is a small room that has four beds and a small table.  Shi Xiong Thomas Johnson, Anton Kuchman, and I shared one of the rooms with the fourth spot occupied by an older Chinese man.  He never spoke and kept to himself, largely ignoring that we were there.

We stayed up talking in the hallway of the car for a while with Grand Master Eric Lee before finally going to bed.  I fell asleep fairly quickly and slept off and on throughout the night.  The motion of the train was easy to adjust to, but I woke up every time we slowed down to stop at the next station.  The intermittent snoring of our Chinese traveling companion did not help either.

The train had a squat toilet which was to be expected.  The swaying of the train did not really help the already poor condition of the trains toilet.  Making matters worse some people did not understand how to flush, or just didn’t bother, which made for a very fragrant experience every time you entered.

The next morning I got up and sat in the hallway eating some of the snacks our guide in Beijing had provided for us for breakfast.  The hallways are very tight but do contain fold down seats on the wall for looking out of windows.  Even though the hall can be a bit cramped it was nice getting out of the room.

Around 11am we asked one of the service staff if there was a place for us to eat.  They offered for us to come eat with them during their lunch period in the dining car.  The food was great and they brought out more than we could finish. I spoke with some of the staff briefly, but for the most part they kept to themselves occasionally joking or laughing with each other as they watched us.  When we were finished we payed for our meal and thanked them for their hospitality since dinner was not usually provided for passengers and went back to our car and rooms.  After a little while some of the staff came back and asked us to write things for them in English on random pieces of paper and took a few pictures of people in our group.  They left again, but were back a few minutes later asking us to return to the dining car.  When we got there they took lots of pictures with us.  It was a lot of fun joking and laughing with them and getting our pictures taken with them.

Taking the overnight train was definitely a new and interesting experience.  I was glad to have done it, but was thankful when it was time to get off the train.  When we arrived in Sen Feng we met our new guide, Helen.  She took us to eat first thing.  I had eaten too much on the train and was not terribly hungry so I only tried a few things.  The food was really good and prepared Hotel, Purple Cloud Temp in the Sichuan style which can be pretty spicy.

Afterwards we got onto a bus that drove for another couple of hours to the base of Wudang Mountain.  We stopped there briefly to exchange money and get our tickets.  We discovered while waiting, that the bus that we thought was going to pick us up at 6:30pm had been rescheduled to run at 6pm.  Since it is the last bus of the day this posed a bit of a problem.  Our guide was not informed of this change and was a little stressed out by the whole situation.  She called the travel agency and had them make calls and arrangements for a bus to come get us and one other group that was stranded as well.  The bus arrived at 7:30pm and we headed up the mountain.  The bus ride was about 50 minutes and we were finally able to check in to the Tian Lu Hotel about 8:20pm.

I was glad to finally settle in to a room that had a normal sized bed that was not moving.  I took a hot shower which felt great after traveling for a few days with no shower at all.  Next they served us dinner, but I was too tired and not really that hungry so I decided to stay here, write this entry, and then get some rest.  I am very excited to finally be on Wudang Shan and to start training tomorrow.

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