Huangshan day 4
Crouching Tiger Day!
Hotly anticipated, today is the day we visit some of the locations where Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon were filmed. That counts as a big day where we come from. Mr Obligatory Tour Guide gave us some history about the area whilst in the bus. Interesting stuff about China’s holy mountains, how feng shui works, the importance of names, hierarchy, and famous people from this area. Hierarchy was new to me – in Ancient China the Emperor decided that society’s classes were ranked in the following order (after himself of course):
1st: High Officials
3rd Artists and Scholars
4th Business people
So New Year’s resolution will be, tidy garden, plant lettuce, and run for Parliament. That should get me a bit higher up the greasy pole.
I digress. Right, the village was Hong Cun, and it was a mixture of the picturesque and the mundane. People still live and work there, though some of the old houses were open to the public. The first thing that you see is the bridge across the lake where Li Mu Bai leads his horse in the opening sequence of Crouching. It is impossible to get a decent picture of this because of the constant stream of people going over it. Not nice normal people, but tourists who have to stop on the cusp and turn around and have their picture taken making peace signs with their fingers. Oh well I’ll just have to buy a postcard. I did notice that the bevy of artists around the edge of the lake were filtering out humanity and just painting the buildings.
Apart from the bridge, we were not told of any other specific places where filming took place, though the village square looked a bit familiar. Will watch film again to see what I can see. The houses are all of similar type, white walls with black tiled roofs, lots of round doorways and inner courtyards. Mr Obligatory showed us around the house of a wealthy member of the underclass (see above) with his various wives’ and servants’ quarters on display – we are so quick to forget the many career choices in the old days. The biggest single room in the house was the kitchen.
After the obligatory lunch (not missing that again) it was back on the bus. We drive past a specially constructed “village” which is used to film martial arts movies but the bus driver wouldn’t let us off to have a go. So off to another village to see real Ming houses and an archway. Apparently if you were nice to the Emperor he would let you have an archway. This one stands in the middle of the village open space for no other reason than to commemorate a local governor who did a good job 600 years ago. Nice carving, has stood the test of time, well done.
We were subjected to the tourist spectacle of having to marry off one of the young men in our group to a local pretty, and once the sacrificial victim had been despatched we had a couple of hours to roam around. Pretty village, white houses, black roof tiles, lots of feng shui, bloody cold – see pictures.
Off to Shanghai tonight- goodbye to rooftops you can run along, courtyards to issue challenges, and pavilions for drinking tea. Ahh the good old days.
Huangshan day 4 part 2
Oops just when you think it’s safe to sign off.
Bus Driver Chaos!
So we had dinner in Huangshan (steamboat – not my favourite but they had wifi) and then headed off the the airport for an evening flight to Shanghai. It’s a short flight and there wasn’t even time for a cup of tea. Off the plane into the freezing air (didn’t feel like the plus 2 the pilot promised – it was warmer at the top of the mountain) and wait for bus to terminal. The bus ride was longer than the flight – even though we were going fast enough for a take-off. Giggling theories abounded:
1. He was having a bet with another driver
2. We were participating in an efficiency experiment
3. We had somehow ended up in a real-life Speed scenario (couldn’t spot Keanu anywhere)
It’s amazing where you can train – horse stance on a swaying bus at speed, one of our old friends (yes, we know you do it on the Tube in the mornings). This was competition worthy stuff.
When we reached the terminal and the doors opened “Did we win?”
Then pick up luggage, sort out phone left behind on place, look for bus to hotel…..look for bus to hotel…….look for bus……no bus, bus lost, bus on its way, bus nearly here, bus driver incommunicado. OK plan B – everyone and luggage into queue for taxis…….oh bus driver back in contact – here in 5 mins…drag all the luggage back across the roads to wait for the bus.
Hurrah – on the bus with all luggage. Slow start out of terminal. By now it is 2am, well below zero, and well past anticipated bedtime of 11pm.
In fact it is now Day 5, so wait for next instalment.