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    Zhangjiajie National Park_Sandra Herd

    We’re currently hauled up in China’s beautiful Hallelujah mountains – Zhangjiajie National Park.  The mountains that James Cameron based his Avatar ‘Hallelujah’ mountains on…and the references to Avatar are everywhere.  We arrived on Sunday and are staying in a small hostel right in the middle of the National Park. The entrance fee is 238RMB which, by Chinese standards is quite expensive so by staying in the park we only have to pay the one fee and can stay and take photos as long as we like. The accommodation is fairly basic and mainly full of Chinese tourists, as such the staff don’t speak any English and ordering food from the menu is like dining roulette.

    Ya makes ya choice and takes ya chances!

    There is an English translation but we’re struggling a little bit with it – when we ordered what was written as ‘fried rice’ we got egg noodles and last night we ordered the ‘regular dinner’ which was meant to be a soup dish with rice and then a vegetable and meat stir-fry. We got a soup dish with rice and an egg and tomato stir fry- it all tastes OK , I’m just a little concerned that tonight’s meal may end up being chicken feet…eeeek! Luckily we’ve managed to communicate that the beers need to be kept in the fridge.

    Anyway, we’re hauled up here today because it is wet, wet, wet outside. We had thunderstorms last night so have spent most of today snuggled up with the laptop and the very first series of Doctor Who. Sad, I know but at least we we’re warm and there’s no chance of seeing the peaks when the cloud cover is so thick and low. We’ve booked an extra night here in the hope of some sunshine tomorrow, there’s so much of the park to see and the stone pillars are just stunning, we really don’t want to miss the opportunity now that we’re here.

    The photo above is just a 5 minute walk from the hostel, I’m hoping to get out there for some sunrise shots tomorrow and am praying for the rain to stop. The trails are pretty hairy for someone like me who is terrified of heights and we are so high up…when the trails are wet it’s even worse. The Chinese tourists skip down the rocks like mountain goats, some of them in high heels (the girls, not the men!) I’m frozen to the spot with fear and they’re asking to have their photo taken with me. Renren (the Chinese equivalent of Facebook) must by now have at least 50 photos of me up – hot, sweaty and with a look of terror on my face making the peace sign for their photos…not a good look.

    I’ve zoomed in on the photo so you can see the white railings on the Natural Bridge walk trail, just to give you some idea of the size of these giant monoliths and how high up we are as we walk along the trails.  This is just a tiny section of the park and there’s no way you could see it all in just a few days.  We’re hoping to head over to those white rails tomorrow….lets hope the weather clears.



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