Field Trip to Longqing Gorge

National Week holiday was great. I did nothing. It was fabulous.

Well, ok, so I had a nice little dinner party, and then the next night a friend had another nice little dinner party–hotpot at home, I very much recommend it!–and on the one nice clear blue sky day, I took a day trip with some people out to Longqing Gorge.

It took us a while to get there. There’s a two hour train, but it sold out before we even got to the station. We took Line 13 to Xi’erqi, transferred to a grey line, out to Changping. Got off there and haggled with some black cab drivers–RMB 400 for the drive out there and back. We got into the van and drove for a while, maybe an hour and a half, two hours.

Blue, blue skies and steep cliffs.

Blue, blue skies and steep cliffs.

Surprisingly pretty. A lot of people, but still, really nice. Big wide river, scenic mountains. A dragon escalator to the top of the dammed river. A boat ride down the river with a lady on a  megaphone pointing out caves and animal shaped rocks (an elephant, a crocodile, a dragon, etc). Very pretty, and the sun and the blue, blue sky. We watched some crazy people bungee jump, had a mini picnic with instant noodles, rented rowboats. Having been taught the rudimentary bits of crew by my dad back in high school, after sitting around for a while letting my companions struggle with the really terrible paddles (uneven planks of wood poorly nailed to mismatched poles) and painting a watercolor of the scenery instead, I finally got fed up and took over.

Obviously, the shitty paddles and the wooden tubs are nothing like the precise racing shells and oars I learned on, but I still managed to propel the boat more efficiently and with more speed than anyone else on the water. People in other boats actually started trying to copy me. That entertained me.

We then directed our driver to take us to Liugou, a little village known for feeding people. It’s just rows and rows of little farmhouse restaurants. For a set price of RMB 26 a person, we were delivered a huge many course meal. The town is known for its country style tofu, and many of the dishes revolved around it. We had a couple cold dishes, spicy trips of tofu skin, cold noodles, peanuts, hard boiled quail eggs. There was a coal brazier in the middle of the table, and a heavy clay pot sat on top with a tasty pork belly and tofu and vegetable stew. Fish, fried pancakes, fried bread, red bean stuff dough balls, soft tofu, corn and grain soup, braised pork, steamed sweet potatoes, fried tofu in sauce, the dishes were endless. We all ate entirely too much, and then embarked home.

A satisfying little trip outside the city, it was my only adventure, because then the pollution went up and stayed up and the rest of the week looked dismal. I ventured out from my apartment only a few times–reading and studying and staying in bed half the day was entirely more appealing.

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