Sunday, February 27, 2011

Montage Monday: And The Oscar Goes To...

By now, the 2011 Academy Award winners are reveling in their grand victory (and nursing a raging hangover from last night's festivities) while the losing nominees are trying their darndest to convince themselves that it truly was an honor to have been nominated in the first place. Personally, I was rooting for Michelle Williams in the Best Actress category -- no disrespect for Natalie Portman's AMAZING performance in Black Swan. I just think Michelle Williams is one of Hollywood's most under-appreciated actresses and I would have liked to have seen her in the spotlight.

This Montage Monday, let's celebrate the Oscar winners by featuring their film location as travel destinations!

BEST PICTURE : THE KING'S SPEECH 
BEST ACTOR: COLIN FIRTH
Destination: Westminster Abbey, England


Tourists admiring Westminster Abbey in London
I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up when I saw Colin Firth's Prince Albert receive his crown at Westminster Abeey to become King George VI of England in the absolutely brilliant "The King's Speech". The scene was beyond moving (as I said, I had a little cry over it) and the fact that visitors can actually visit the site of so many historical events, as well as memorials to important figures, makes Westminster a remarkable place to explore when traveling to London.

BEST ACTRESS: NATALIE PORTMAN (BLACK SWAN)
Destination: New York, USA

A peaceful Central Park moment
That Natalie Portman sure was strung tight in Darren Aronofsky's dark take on the New York City Ballet in "Black Swan". The pressure to stand out among the many talented folks living in New York is high but there is an escape from all the city madness as well. Right in the center of all the craziness that IS New York City lies Central Park, the greatest city escape there ever was! I wonder how Nina, Portman's tormented dancer, could have benefited from a few hours a week in the serenity of Central Park...


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: CHRISTIAN BALE (THE FIGHTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: MELISSA LEO (THE FIGHTER)
Destination: Massachusetts, USA

There's nothing common about Boston Commons
Boston is one of Massachusetts's most famous and popular destinations. Although you probably won't find Christian Bale or Mark Wahlberg practicing their punches and jabs in Boston Commons, you can most likely find a game of ultimate frisbee to join. I think the closest thing you'll find to Christian Bale or Mark Wahlberg will be the strong accents, and of that, you'll be sure to find plenty!

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: IN A BETTER WORLD
Destination: Denmark

Aerial view of Copenhagen
My favorite category of the night: Best Foreign Film! I regret to say I have not yet seen this year's winner, "In A Better World", but with a plot that involves revenge and forgiveness and set in the beautiful and picturesque Denmark, I'm really looking forward to my first opportunity to watch this film! It doesn't hurt that the Danish lead, Mikael Persbrandt, looks a little like Daniel Craig either!

Any Oscar surprises or disappointments? 

Is there a particular film that inspires YOU to travel to its destination? Please share!

© Connie Hum 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Asia In Miniature

It's so easy to get lost and feel small in some of Asia's bigger cities so Matt and I have been happily playing with our new Nikon D90 to help us make Asia feel not so small! Special kudos to Matt for his excellent Photoshop skills!

Pinklao District, Bangkok

Halong Bay, Vietnam


Busy street, Macao
Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong

Central Piers, Hong Kong
More photo projects to come as soon as we get more settled into our new home and lives in Hong Kong!

Which Asia In Miniature photo if YOUR favorite? 

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Other Side of Machu Picchu

I've been seeing a lot of Machu Picchu blog posts recently that have helped me relive my days of exploring the incredible ancient grounds. However, my most lasting memory from my days in Machu Picchu are of hiking up Putukusi, and I haven't seen a single person mention it! Unfortunately, as I visited Machu Picchu in 2008, before Connvoyage even existed, I have no blog post about my time in Machu Picchu and Putukusi...Until NOW!

The Machu Picchu everyone knows and loves
I know everyone who's been to MP is absolutely enthralled by it. I mean, what's not to love? The surrounding mountain range, the mystery and intrigue of the "Lost Cities of the Incas" and the well-preserved ruins of MP is enough to inspire travelers to journey into the heart of Peru. But so few stop to ever look beyond the grounds of MP and see what's on the other side.

Mist-shrouded Putukusi
The trail to Putukusi starts just adjacent to the train tracks right outside the tourist town of Aguas Calientes. The trail is very clearly marked and easy to find so there's really no need to hire a guide, contrary to what the guides will try to tell you.

The hike up Putukusi takes roughly three hours in total, two for the climb up and one for coming back down. Be prepared! Bring a lot of water with you as most of the trail is quite steep and being at the higher altitude, you'll run out of breath easily.

The first 45 minutes of the hike is difficult and then you come upon "the ladder". Quite a daunting sight as you're gasping for air, particularly since "the ladder" stretches at a near 90 degree angle into the sky. Don't worry, it looks much worse than it really is!

The long, arduous climb up Putukusi
The trail continues with more ladders and steep climbs but before you know it, you'll round the last corner and be rewarded for all your efforts with a magnificent, rarely-seen view of the whole of Machu Picchu!

Machu Picchu as a speck from Putukusi
Perch yourself on the rock provided and soak it all in. From this vantage point, MP doesn't look so big, so mystifying. It's a great contrast to see MP from Putukusi and really puts into perspective how easy it was for MP to become the "Lost City of the Incas".

Be careful on the hike down. By now your legs will be exhausted and it can be particularly dangerous, especially if your knees are knocking against each other like coconuts, which mine were!

Have YOU ever heard of Putukusi? Or climbed up its steep trail to witness this other side of Machu Picchu?

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Montage Monday: The Kindness of Strangers

Hello, readers! I'm sorry I took an unexpected blog break last week but I was just feeling so overwhelmed with my job and apartment search in Hong Kong (as you could probably tell from my last two blog posts!) that I just needed to take at least one thing off my plate. I wish it didn't have to be blogging but there you have it. Good news though, during my blog break, I managed to find an apartment and (half) move into it! Exciting, exciting!

Anyway, now I'm back and it's time for another Montage Monday where I revisit travel memories from the past. Last Montage Monday, I featured meeting old friends in new places. This week, I'm featuring strangers I've met during my travels who showed me kindness in the most unexpected ways.

First things first; my mom is going to kill me but yes, I talk to strangers! It's just, you know, one of those things you do when you travel. And truth be told, talking to strangers have (mostly) proven to be great experiences for me and only reaffirms my belief in the general goodness of human beings.

Strangers to the rescue in India
Matt and I got to taste the good and the bad of India, all within minutes of each other on this train. Matt and I had boarded a train, having absolutely no idea which car we were supposed to be on. We had purchased the cheapest tickets we could buy so we were pretty excited to discover that we had boarded onto a very plush and air conditioned car. What luck! Unfortunately, the Indian businessmen in the same car made sure that we didn't stay there for very long. They literally forced us out of the car, bags and all! As the next car was completely packed, we ended up sitting in the middle between the cars, where we met these lovely two gentlemen who were appalled at how we had been treated. We got into a nice conversation with them and when we got off at our stop, the two gentlemen treated us to lunch! They also invited us to their home but as we had another train to catch, we were not able to accept their offer.

Not a shortage of socks in Istanbul
I was out exploring Istanbul just a few days after moving there when I found myself caught in the rain. Unfortunately, my shoes and socks became thoroughly soaked and my feet were about ready to fall off. Shoko and I stopped by this Turkish lamp shop to admire the gorgeous hanging lamps when the men working in the store noticed the state of my feet. They immediately brought me a pair of brand new socks from behind the counter and insisted that I accept them, free of charge! Grateful, I slipped my feet into the dry socks and thanked them. For the rest of the six months that I lived in Istanbul, whenever I walked past the Grand Bazaar, I always made sure that I stopped by to chat with these nice guys!

Milania approves of Kathyann's home-cooked feast
My friend, Milania, and I met Kathyann at a restaurant on the beach. We had asked Kathyann for directions to a waterfall and she insisted that she and her family take us there! Then Kathyann insisted that we come to her house for lunch afterwards! Incredible! Milania and I offered to buy the groceries and set off for the local market. We dropped off the groceries with Kathyann later that afternoon and made plans to meet the following day. Milania and I could not believe the feast that Kathyann had cooked up for us! Pumpkin squash, rice, callaloo vegetables, Caribbean chicken... It was definitely the best meal I had in Grenada and Kathyann's children were so adorable! My afternoon with Kathyann's family is one of my favorite memories from my trip to Grenada.

Have you ever experienced unexpected kindness from a total stranger?

© Connie Hum 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Response to "This Darn Face of Mine!"

A powerful and though-provoking response from my friend, Neil, to my previous post, "Banana Split: This Darn Face of Mine!" regarding my difficulty in finding a Native English teaching job in Hong Kong because I look Asian.

Neil: I'm not really sure what it is, perhaps the colonial mentality or maybe the prestige of having a "white" English teacher? Either way, you are right; it is not fair for any highly qualified non-white teacher.

But then I started to think and analyze after reading your blog.

Here in America for example, would people prefer a Chinese teacher teaching Mandarin over a qualified "white" teacher? Would you choose a German-speaking Bangladeshi tutor or a German from Berlin to teach you Deutche? Would you prefer a Mexican to teach you Spanish or someone from Madrid?  What do you think? This really makes me wonder if what you're experiencing is racism or not...
----------------------------------

And now Neil's questions have got ME thinking!

Being a world traveler, I'd like to think of myself as being a bit worldly and the last thing I would consider myself is "racist". But then I remembered one particular instance where my prejudices came into play and from the eyes of a bystander, I could have been seen as a "racist"!

Neil, you'll remember this incident because you were my racist partner-in-crime! I was back in New York in 2009 and Neil and I had signed up for an introductory samurai sword class. The sensai was in fact, a Jewish man in a samurai outfit. Now, I didn't see any physical form of credentials, but the guy knew how to handle a sword! To simplify, he was qualified to teach samurai sword. But for some reason, Neil and I thought it was a bit ridiculous to have a Jewish man teaching us samurai and we kind of giggled and snickered our way through the introductory lesson (though it has to be mentioned that Neil and I pretty much giggle and snicker our way through most things in life). And we never went back. Please note, Neil and I attended this samurai sword lesson with a dear friend of mine who is Jewish. She giggled along with us.

A typical Neil and Connie moment
So why all the titters at the Jewish samurai master? Did we just somehow find it unbelievable that a Jewish man could master a Japanese martial art form and teach it to others? And wasn't that just a bit racist on our parts?

Neil's questioning made me realize that the difficulty I've been having with finding a job is frustrating, definitely! But racist? Not really. Sure, it's prejudice to discount someone's qualifications due to their outward appearance and it's still NOT okay, but I get it.

Neil and I wanted to learn samurai sword and we naturally preferred our sensai be authentic, as in Japanese. Having a Jewish samurai sensai just seemed odd to us.

For Asian parents to feel that they're giving their children an "authentic" English education, they prefer having an "authentic" looking Westerner teaching. That's fine with me. But I'd have been a damn good English teacher to their children!

What about you? Can you admit that perhaps you're a little bit racist too? What's your answer to Neil's questions? Would YOU choose a German-speaking Bangladeshi tutor or a German from Berlin to teach YOU Deutche?

I think this lesson in racism and prejudice is best summed up by the Tony-award winning Broadway musical, Avenue Q. So puppets, take it away and end all this racist talk on a lighter note!



© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Banana Split: This Darn Face of Mine!

As previously (and rather obviously) established, I'm ethnically Asian.

I'm okay with my face. It's gotten me through 30 years of my life and hey, no complaints so far! In fact, I'm more than just okay with my face! I'm proud of it!

Unfortunately, trying to find an English teaching job in Hong Kong and looking Asian...well, let's just say, looking the way I do just ain't helping.

Based on some stories I've heard, it's been my sneaking suspicion that I've been having trouble finding a job because Asian parents do not want to have their children taught English by an Asian looking teacher, even if that Asian looking teacher happens to be American, fluent in English, TEFL certified AND has experience with children.


See? Kids LIKE me!

Casting my doubts aside and not wanting to be too pessimistic, I plugged away with sending out my resume and credentials to schools looking for "immediate hires" and had "open vacancies now". I received many positive responses to my job inquiries but as soon as I send the schools a recent photograph (as requested), STONE WALL.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. At best, I receive an automated email thanking me for my interest and that they would contact me should anything open up. Yes, these are for the very same immediate hires and open vacancies that they had just advertised days before.

After talking to a friend in Hong Kong, I was told "that my being Asian-looking is a big negative in people's eyes here. Fundamentally, the locals are racist and don't want an Asian person (no matter how American they actually might be) teaching their kids English." Then it was suggested that I accept the fact that I will need to be persistent and understand that I will not get the same level of pay as white people will. 

This is completely frustrating and infuriating! I have to accept that I will get paid LESS for a position I am qualified and experienced in, and in favor for someone who may not have the same credentials and experience but has blond hair and blue eyes???

Racism or not, that just doesn't make any sense to me!

It doesn't matter that I speak native English. It doesn't matter that I am already TEFL certified. It doesn't matter that I have a load of experience working with children. It doesn't matter that I'm a good teacher either. None of it matters because I look Asian.

Wow, I feel like human equality just went back several decades... 

What's an Asian-looking girl to do beside keep positive, continue looking and hope for the best? And perhaps rethink her career choice in Hong Kong? That could be a fun challenge! Career change!

© Connie Hum 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Montage Monday: Friends Around the World

Friends are some of the greatest things in this wonderful world. Unfortunately, I haven't seen some of my best friends in over two years since I started traveling around the world. Luckily for me, I've been able to run into a few random friends in the most unexpected places. This Montage Monday, I celebrate my friends and the ease in which travel has allowed me to maintain my far-off friendships!

Andi and I shopping for bangle bracelets in Jaipur, India

Andi (yes, THAT Andi of My Beautiful Adventures) and I met each other in New York City. Every meeting was always too brief, every conversation just a bit too short. Nonetheless, we had a lot in common and grew our friendship through email even after we both moved away from New York. Fast forward two years and we both just happened to be traveling in India at the same time. Andi and I planned to meet for an afternoon in Jaipur, and just like old times, spent not enough time walking around the fabulous "Pink City", drinking Indian chai and shopping for bangle bracelets.

Matteo and I enjoying the view in Copenhagen
Matteo and I met in New York City for an AMAZING summer of fun in 2007. Honestly, that summer was one of the best summers of my life and a big part of that was the great friendship I had with dear, silly, heavy-Italian accented Matteo. After his work project took Matteo back to Italy, we kept in touch with hand-written, snail-mail letters for two years. I had the opportunity to travel for a week to Copenhagen and Stockholm in 2009 and invited Matteo to come along. He agreed and we had a fun week of catching up in person, sight-seeing in two fabulous cities neither one of us had ever been to before and just laughing our silly heads off.

Shoko and I enjoying Turkish çay at the "secret" cafe in Istanbul
Shoko, another good friend that I met in New York City, was just wrapping up her own European trip and stopped into Istanbul literally days after I moved there in 2009 for a few days of discovering the city with me. We got lost in Beyoğlu, ate fresh fish in Sariyer Fish Market, took a ferry up the Bosphorus and shared many a cup of strong Turkish çay in a "secret" rooftop restaurant that offered a stunning panorama of Istanbul. I'm so glad I got to discover so much of Istanbul with Shoko because a lot of our discoveries became some of my favorite places to go during the seven months I lived there!

Delirious from slight altitude sickness in Cuzco, Peru with Joe
Joe and I were friends in New York City and basically saw each other in a crowded bar every Thursday night. We had great chats but that was pretty much the extent of our friendship until realized that we had both independently booked a trip to Peru for the same time! I met with Joe in Cuzco for a couple of days of sight-seeing, one horrific dinner where we tried cuy, which is roasted guinea pig, and one drunken afternoon that resulted in me nearly breaking my own nose. Honestly, it's always an adventure every time I'm with Joe and I wonder when the next time I'll run into Joe will be and where in the world it will take place!

Exploring Bangkok's Royal Palace with Judith
Judith couchsurfed with me back in 2008 when I was still living in New York City. We became immediate friends, keep in touch regularly and travel together every year. In 2010, Judith came out to Thailand and Cambodia to travel with me for a month of sunshine, sweat, long and bumpy bus rides, ancient ruins, motorcycle accidents, royal palaces, leech-infested hikes and delicious street food. In 2011, Judith is planning to make a stop in Hong Kong to visit me while she's on her own RTW trip. Exciting!

Have you ever had the chance to meet a friend while traveling? Where did you meet and what did you do?

© Connie Hum 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How I Became a Gambling Addict in Macao

Macao is an interesting place. There are plenty of sights and historical buildings to fill the boots of any avid tourist. There's enough delicious Cantonese, Macanese and Portuguese cuisine to stuff even the heartiest of bellies. And then there are the casinos...


The misleadingly named, Wynn Casino in Macao

I have to say, when I arrived in Macao I didn't really think I would spend much time in the casinos. I've been to Vegas enough times to have lost interest in casinos, BUT I do have a weak spot when it comes to casinos: massive dinner buffets and playing Craps.

Do I need to explain why I'm drawn to the massive casino buffets? Who can possibly NOT love the huge spread at the buffet tables of gaming casinos? Certainly not a lover of food like me!


I LOVE buffets!

As for gambling, Craps is the ONLY type of gambling I've ever done and I think it's probably going to be the only game I'd be willing to bet money on. It's just so fun but darn if I could tell you how to play it!

Matt and I started playing Craps our first night in Macao. We were up by the time we got hungry and decided to splurge on a buffet dinner at the Wynn Casino. We stuffed ourselves silly!


Enjoying round 1 of our epic buffet dinner

After dinner, we immediately returned to the Craps table and made off with almost 500 HKD before we called it a night. We were absolutely over the moon!


Our first night's winnings

The next day, we walked around the sights of Macao, getting lost in the small streets and alleyways and even catching a lion dancing show, before the lure of the gaming tables beckoned us and we returned to the Craps table to ahem, make more money.


Lion dancers drawing a crowd around them in Macao

As we were winning several hundred Hong Kong dollars again, Matt and I treated ourselves to yet another buffet dinner. This time it was at the Hotel Lisboa and in our ecstatic mood over winning, we both decided to be adventurous and tried oysters for the first time.


Matt's reaction to his first oyster

My reaction to my first oyster

Then back to the dice! Matt and I walked away from the Craps table the second night with almost 300 HKD in our pockets. Success! And now it's safe to say: we're officially hooked on gambling.

The third day, perhaps we overdid it because we weren't so lucky. Matt and I played Craps all afternoon (yes, a little excessive but hey, that's addiction for you) at the Sands Casino but lost 700 HKD in the end before calling it quits.


The stealer of gambling dreams (and our money)

The fourth day, Matt and I did our best to avoid the gambling tables, we really did! We went sight-seeing again, trying to take our minds off the Craps table.


The ruins of St. Paul's Church

We got lost making our way through Macao's small side-streets.


Losing our way in Macao

Unfortunately, being gambling addicts, we inevitably returned to the Craps table at Wynn not too long after we finished sight-seeing, hoping to recover our losses. As this was our last night in Macao, Matt and I decided to just go all in and have a good time (while you know, making our millions). We ended up losing 1000 HKD before cutting our loses, saying goodbye to the casino workers who had become our friends during the many hours we spent at the gaming table, and leaving.

So Matt and I didn't exactly make our millions in Macao as we had originally hoped, but it was definitely fun and we sure did have a good time.

I guess you just need to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em in Macao! Just try to fold 'em while you're still up!

Have you ever played Craps before? Isn't it fun? Can you tell us how to play the game?

© Connie Hum 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Lazy Trekker's Guide to Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge is truly one of China's most impressive natural landscapes. With stunning panoramas, snow-capped mountains, quaint villages and hills of green rice paddies dotted along Tiger Leaping Gorge, there's no wonder that so many visitors trek through in order to enjoy the scenic views.

My favorite view of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Many guidebooks and maps recommend completing the trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge in two days. The trail isn't long, only around 22 kilometers (14 miles) and many trekkers do finish within two days, some even in less time!

Matt and I, however, are rather lazy.

Wait, I take that back. Maybe "lazy" isn't the right word to use. Perhaps "unhurried" or "relaxed" is more appropriate. In any case, Matt and I found absolutely no reason to hurry along the trail through the magnificent landscape. We meandered along Tiger Leaping Gorge for four days, literally soaking up the breath-taking scenery around us.

We just couldn't rush past these gorgeous views of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Day 1: Lijiang to Qiaotou

Wanting to put our laziness aside, especially for the first day of the trek, Matt and I planned to wake up early. We set the alarm for 7:30 but I ended up snoozing the alarm (a bad habit, I know) for over an hour and a half! Whoops! There goes our early morning start! Add in the packing I didn't do the night before and a leisurely-paced breakfast, it was 1pm by the time we caught the bus from Lijiang, a beautifully restored "Old Town," two hours to Qiaotou, where most trekkers start their journey into Tiger Leaping Gorge. We arrived to Qiaotou in the late afternoon, too late to start the trek. What's a lazy trekker to do? Enjoy hot tea and a lovely dinner at Jane's Tibetan Guesthouse until the cold drives you indoors. Matt and I went to bed soon after and resolved to start early the next day.

Enjoying our usual slow breakfast
Day 2: Start of Tiger Leaping Gorge

9:30 is still early, isn't it? Take into account another leisurely-paced (and delicious) breakfast at Jane's and it was after 11 by the time Matt and I set out for the trek. It ended up being an even slower start as the beginning of the path wasn't all that clearly marked. Once we found the correct path (how we could have possibly missed it is beyond me), the hike went surprisingly smooth. The trail wasn't too strenuous at this point, though the sun was at its strongest (it was mid-day after all) and the heat will have no mercy on you. We briefly escaped from the scorching sun at the squat toilets along the trail that have, quite possibly, the best views of any squat toilet EVER. I wish I had taken a picture...

Matt and I maintained a leisurely stroll and stopped often to take photographs of the stunning mountains and the jaw-dropping views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain holding court over the Gorge. We stopped at the Naxi Family Guesthouse for a nice lunch with views of the mountainside.

The Naxi Family Guesthouse
While the other trekkers ate a quick lunch and headed straight back to the trail, Matt and I lingered awhile to enjoy our hard-earned rest. We sat and drank an extra cup (okay, maybe it was more like four!) before starting again.

The next part of the trail is rather steep and just the beginning of the most difficult part of the trek, called the 28 Bends. Out of breath and sweat-drenched, we came up on a hill to a house that sells refreshments, proud to have mastered the Bends, even if it was halfway. We were aghast to discover that we hadn't even STARTED the 28 Bends yet! Someone mentioned they are so-called because of the 28 steep switchbacks that lead up the steep mountain though I will tell you it certainly felt like a lot more than 28 and by the end, instead of bending, I was practically falling over.

Gasping for air after the 28 Bends
Once we passed the Bends, it was pretty easy going downhill into Tea Horse Guesthouse, where we rested for the night. The food was quite disappointing at Tea Horse Guesthouse and I wouldn't want to stay there again, though the views of the mountains overlooking Tiger Leaping Gorge were amazing.

Day 3: End of Tiger Leaping Gorge

Waking up at 9 the next morning, Matt and I ate a slow and unremarkable breakfast at Tea Horse Guesthouse and headed off back on the trail with the goal of reaching Tina's Guesthouse and the bus back to Lijiang by that evening. As the hardest part of Tiger Leaping Gorge was left behind at 28 Bends, the day's walking was pretty easy. Thinking we had it made in terms of tough hiking, Matt and I had a two hour lunch at Halfway Guesthouse. I can't really justify the two hour lunch but it's what we did. The scenery was still impressive and the day went quickly by, despite Matt's funny near-death experience.

video

Unfortunately, we made it to Tina's Guesthouse after the last bus had already left, which at 3pm. Not fussed, we settled into the night after a tasty dinner (beef and potatoes dish was a stand-out) with a warm bed, thanks to the electric blankets that Tina provides all her guests. It was the perfect way to bliss out and rejuvenate my legs after two days of trekking.

Day 4: Middle Gorge and Tiger Leaping Stone

As the bus didn't leave Tina's Guesthouse until 3 in the afternoon, Matt and I decided after breakfast to trek down to Middle Gorge and the Tiger Leaping Stone. Apparently there are two paths to take down to Middle Gorge but Matt and I didn't have the choice since we only found the steeper and more difficult path to take. I'm actually glad we took this route because it was quite exciting and scary at times as the path required some steep descents (and subsequent ascents) on really dangerous looking ladders precariously dangling off the side of the cliff.

Smiling for the camera, but holding on for dear life
Surviving the downward journey to Middle Gorge and Tiger Leaping Stone, Matt and I marveled at the gushing rapids in front of us for some time. Finally, it was nearing the time that our bus was to leave so we headed back up along the trail. Climbing up the ladders was easier than going down, but it was still scary!

Matt gets up close and personal with the rapids

We arrived with time to spare so we relaxed in the warm sunshine. Most of the bus ride back to Lijiang, I slept off the exhaustion from the incredible four days at Tiger Leaping Gorge. 

Taken during one of our many, many breaks along the trail
So what's your verdict? Are Matt and I lazy trekkers for taking twice as long to complete the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek?

© Connie Hum 2011

Have You Seen These?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...