Two weeks after my arrival in Fuzhou, me and my new friends ventured up Gu Shan (Drum Mountain),which is approximately 925 meters tall. There were many stairs and all of them were different sizes, heights and shapes making the trek more difficult.
The journey up was long and tiring and I soon realised I was improperly dressed for such an adventure. FYI long sleeves are not suitable hiking wear in Fuzhou weather. However, that did not stop me from appreciating the magnificent views. From the red writing over many rocks, which is typical at ‘tourist attractions’, tall trees, shrines and the city-scape below I was surrounded by pure beauty.
One of the first things you learn moving to China is that getting your picture taken is a common occurrence since lao wais (foreigners) are an uncommon sight in China. This is sometimes with your permission but usually people just snap one without even saying hello. We were constantly stopped for pictures on our way up Gu Shan. Surely it must have seemed like a lao wai jackpot for those people getting two gingers (one male and one female), a blonde and a brunette in one photo.
It is also typical in China, that when a Chinese person who can speak any English spots a lao wai they use the opportunity to practice their English. Half way up the mountain a little boy joined me for this purpose and he walked with me to the top. I don’t think he could understand why I was constantly stopping to catch my breathe.
Once we got to the top we sat and rested for a while and then went into the temple. The temple had a magnificent Buddha statue in the middle of a pond filled with turtles. I enjoyed watching the turtles sunbathe on a log and one little turtle trying desperately to join his friends on the log. He was so cute but his legs just weren’t strong enough to pull himself up.
In the temple, once again, people were excited by the opportunity to take pictures of the lao wais and we had our own little photo-shoot in front of a big bell. It was then decided for us that we needed photos to be taken ringing the bell.
We were then shown around the temple by a very friendly guy who didn’t speak any English but was good at acting out what he was talking about. One of the things he showed us was the pots used to cook for the monks. They were enormous and called something like “1000 monk pots” .
For our journey down we chose to use the chair lifts. This was good in theory until I remembered my fear of heights after getting into the chair. Fortunately the ride down wasn’t too scary. Instead I was amused to see the people going up having naps in their chair lift or trying to snap pictures of us.
Gu Shan was absolutely beautiful and we had a wonderful day. I am looking forward to exploring other places around Fuzhou and China and sharing those experiences with you. Please like and share if you enjoyed reading about this adventure.