Wednesday, March 11, 2009

blogger is a terrible thing sometimes and won't let me do nice formatting. like line breaks.

i've spent the past week or so in hunan province, china. it is lovely and beautiful and green and just foggy enough to be romantic without being a hindrance. casey, jessie and i checked out zhangjiajie and the wulingyuan scenic/historic area (which is a world heritage site) yesterday and the day before. it was gorgeous. absolutely. from the video that we watched on the bus ride into the scenic area (which was preceded by a music video- the only words i heard were "zhangjiajie", "beautiful","pretty", "mountain" and "green) we were informed that pretty much the entirety of creation conspired together from the beginning of time to create this scenic area. it has more plant species than the whole of europe. it has mountains, caves (with stalactites/stalagmites), rivers, spires, waterfalls, huge lakes... everything. it is green and supple. it is HUGE. and... it has MONKEYS! we had two separate monkey encounters. i have gained a healthy respect (and a bit of fear) for monkeys. probably all together we saw about 100 or so of the animals- babies, momma, kiddos, papas. and the big guys, the king monkeys. they were in heat, so there were red butts to be seen all over, and once we even ran away because the monkeys were really aggressively trying to free (or get at) a group of unfortunates that had been caged in the 'monkey garden'. they were really cool though, and the babies were undeniably cute. i would have tried to hold one if i weren't fully convinced that one of the adults would have torn my face off. because i want to post photos later, i will hold off on regaling you with monkey stories. and other travel stories. but i will leave you with this: currently, we are in the town of fenghuang, which means something like 'phoenix'. it is a beautiful riverside city that has a ton of old school charm and windy alleys. this morning, we hopped on a boat ride along the river- our gondolier (for lack of a better word) was this beautiful seventy year old man- total grandpa material, who has lived here his whole life. he knows the river so well, avoided the rocks to perfection- and was totally laid back. at one point he said "do you mind if i sing?" and then burst into song. he said it was a song from this area of hunan, and told me that he likes his job because it is comfortable and makes his body feel good. i love him. i loved the boat ride, and i have now decided that my career path should carry me to a fun job like this when i am seventy. tomorrow i think we head to guangxi province, fingers crossed for wonderful, warm weather! be well.

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