Saturday, January 23, 2010

Huangshan City

After leaving Hangzhou last fall, we went by bus to the mountain city of Huangshan, the gateway to the park containing the famous mountains so often depicted in Chinese art.  I fell asleep soon after the bus pulled out, with my face on my knees, and awoke a couple hours later in Huangshan City, feeling refreshed and looking rather crumpled.  The crisp, cool air was welcome after the sticky heat of Lishui and Hangzhou, and the city was largely free of the grime and pollution that afflicts much of China.  We dropped our bags at the hotel, and spent a very pleasant evening in Tunxi, the ancient city center, with well-preserved architecture dating from the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties.  It was filled with shops selling antique art, art supplies, inkwells and other items made from local black granite, ginger candy, and woven cloth.  It was the only stop on this trip where there seemed to be a lot of dogs kept as pets, instead of  for, you know....  It was nice to see the many dogs, mostly resembling chows and pekingeses, lounging around the shops and walking with their owners.

When I return to the area, which I plan to do in the next few years, I'll spend a little more time in Huangshan City and the surrounding villages, which include some that have changed very little for centuries.  This time, however, we were focused on getting into the mountains, located about an hour away from the city.

Well, it wasn't easy.