The boat berthed in the night, and at 6am we accompanied other people who were likewise visiting the Ghost City. People without number were having an early morning nicotine fix of a Cancer Stick or 4. I’m all for natural selection, but not when it’s forced on someone else. The copious and constant clouds of smoke that added to the pollution were the hardest thing for me to handle. - Anyway, we went up some stone steps to the Ghost City. Our tour guide didn’t speak any English, so there was a fair bit of guessing of instructions and options. The Lonely Planet was only of limited value here.
Once in the complex, all the place-names were ‘Hell Bridge’ and ‘Damned Soul’s Valley’ etc. The city felt spiritually oppressive, too. We pr’d before we went, but it was still an unpleasant place to be in. Some of the architecture was quite nice, though. At the centre of the grounds is a building called ‘Ghost City’, which is mainly an amusement arcade. You walk through halls and various tight alleys that depict people being tortured in different ways. And what theme park would be complete without gruesome sound effects? It was usually a demon doing the torturing but there was always some watching, as Andrew pointed out. The evil males looked hideous, but the evil females always looked beautiful. What’s up with that? I soon had had enough, but the only way out was to keep going so that’s what we did. At one stage there was a ride, which we discovered shortly thereafter was a complete waste of both Y5 and 40 seconds.
The other side of the complex housed a lovely chairlift and beautiful blue whitewashing on some old walls, which were much more enjoyable and interesting. Not losing the group was a focal point of the exercise and we succeeded with one exception.
At 9:30am we were back on the boat, at 10:00 having Second Breakfast (noodles) and at 10:30am I was snoozing pleasantly. For lunch we had more noodles and some tuna, which noodled me out for the next while. Noodles aren’t my favourite food at the best of times. They’re at the bottom of carbohydrate choice.
Black Dragon Waterfall
In the afternoon we all assembled and went on buses to a Black Dragon Waterfall, somewhere inland from Wuling Pier. The bus ride took over an hour, and the ride back 50 mins. We were at the waterfall around 45 mins. The bus ride was very bumpy and hard on the tyres. It was not hard on the back because this time I made sure I sat properly.
On the way, there was a loud band and the bus stopped suddenly. Someone inspected things and then we were continuing along our road, very slowly, and with great care not to blow the remaining wheel on that side (back, left). Some people quite upset at the apparent danger. It was fortunate the bus had rear tandem wheels, and it would’ve been a different matter had it been a front tyre. Andrew took a photo of the rent tyre.
The waterfall fell in front of a cave and was beautiful and Ithillien-esque. We took some photos. It was unfortunate that there was a Buddha statue behind the cave; it seems as though people put them around every place where we thank G for His creation.
On the road back to Wuzhou the ’survival of the biggest’ on the road was certainly in place. The bus went along country roads on whichever side of the road it wanted to, and signalled this by, when there was an upcoming blind corner, by beeping its horn a few times. At one point, Andrew was about to say something, when I exclaimed as I saw this: a car trying to overtake our bus and nearly getting cleaned up good and proper. At the last hemidemisemi-second the car dropped back, and in the next breath Andrew calmly continued from where he left of with what he started to say (something about the only building material used being concrete). We’d just seen a near-fatal accident, and all he does is pause while I panic, then continue as if nothing ever happened! I realised again that we were most certainly in China.
We decided to chance the on-board restaurant, and were pleasantly surprised by sweet and sour pork (very vinegary) and egg & tomato fry-up (with rice each). It was very nice and I’m currently refusing all attempts at noodles.