Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lishan National Forest Park - Part 2

The entire complex seemed to be multi-tiered. Each new set of steps, maybe 20 - 50 would bring a new experience. Level two opened up to a large complex that looked a bit more formal than ancient. Formal it was. This area was the war time home, meeting and planning centre of Chang Kai Shek. He was was one of the most important political and military leaders of the 20th century not only in China but globally. His story is interesting to say the least. I just now happen to have stumbled into his war and revolution strategic home. History Nerd Alert! History Nerd Alert!

Meeting Rooms, Offices, Kitchen, Bedrooms and Officers rooms were lined up and restored in pristine fashion. There were photos on the walls of various stages of his life and what I assumed are pictures of the time in his office and meeting areas. There was enough English information to keep me occupied for about an hour. I think I said one to many "holy shits" out loud because the school group that was hanging about started laughing at the foreigner who was being really weird.

I said good bye to the former leader and heading down the trail. It is funny to call it "the trail". The trails/stairs were all well maintained and clean enough to eat off off, as are most things in this country. Anyways as I started getting higher the trees started to open up leaving great views of what was ahead. So off I went....

and up I go...

and up I go....

I was tired and I was out of water. I was sure there would be some glorious vendor selling overpriced survival fluid somewhere in the area. I was not disappointed. Rounding a bend in the trail I saw taxi's, many many taxi's. There is a road that leads to the summit, sweet. It turns out you can get to the summit by walking, gondola, large golf cart and taxi. Good planning China. As I walked towards a kiosk I hear a loud voice yell..."Liang Pi, Liang Pi" which are spicy cold noodles and I love them, plus they had cold beer. Win Win. I pull up a seat and order both. The 6 or 8 people around me laugh at my Chinese and then we all start talking as best we could. One guy spoke decent English and we went through all the great standard chatter. I ordered a second bowl of noodles, finished off my litre of beer and paid the 15 Yuan (C$3). I was tired, full and a bit wobbly one beer and limited water plus it as almost 35 degrees so I was done and ready to relax on the Gondola for the smooth (hopefully) ride down.

Nope, one final surprise to keep me going. As I wobbled towards the signs that pointed the way down I walked smack into the Laojun Palace (Laojun Dian) which is the place where Lao Tzu is worshiped. When I went to Brock University I took a Philosophy class one summer. Not really sure what I was thinking but none the less I did it. One of the books  of that class was the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu and holy crap here I was in the centre of his damn place of worship.  Having the book would have been the ultimate to sit and read it where he is worshiped. Regardless when I get back to Canada I will dig it up and spend time with it.

I have started to notice, well it is fairly obvious, that the design and colors of most of the major temples and shrines in this area are very similar. From what I read it is a historical regional design and temples in other provinces are different. Good to learn.

This day turned into one of the best things I have done in China so far and as is usually the case I had no expectations. All I wanted to do was climb a mountain. I can only imagine how spectacular this entire area will be in the fall when the leaves on all the maples start to change. You can bet I will be here with my camera battery fully charged and my memory card empty.

No comments: