Climbing Mt. Emei...500 stairs at a time

Trip Start Apr 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Mt. Emei

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Saturday, April 24, 2010


Ok, I finally have some free time to tell you all about my mountain climbing adventures! I hope I can portray to you how hilarious of a trip this was because some of the things that happened have made us spontaneously burst into laughter for days.

So! where did I leave off? oh yes, it was a ROUGH NIGHT. We woke up the next day at 6am. Despite being in a pretty nice hotel, I didn't have a good sleep. We were all 5 of us crammed into 1 room so getting ready the next morning took a little while. Mainly because we all had to pee at the same time and there wasn't enough privacy to change (simon being there and all). So anyways, we went to breakfast and it was very relaxing and leisurely. The thing about the Chinese is that, while they eat, they talk a lot, slurp everywhere, scarf down their food, and when they're finished the meal, THEY GO! Where as north americans (as far as I know), eat, talk a bit during the meal, and then after the meal, we tend to sit around and talk for a while, THEN GO. So here we are, just sitting, "resting and digesting" if you will, and simon is just squirming in his seat. Ontop of the fact that he's chinese and usually doesn't stick around after a meal, he is a "go! go! GO!" kinda guy. His catch phrase is literally, "LET'S GO!". We thought this was the perfect time to tell simon to CHILL OUT! "simon," we all explained, "we are on VACATION, don't rush us!" adding that we didn't like being told to "LET's GO!". because we feel like we are naughty children being bossed around. "So, just stop staying Let's go, would ya?" "ok" he says with a nod "I understand". It was very funny because for the rest of the trip he would say things like "LET'S.......continue" or "LET's......keep going" or "shall we?" HAhaa. 

So, we get to the mountain and we start to climb. Well, not so much climb as walk. It was a very easy walk because the paths aren't just dirt and rocks and roots with uneven footing like I'm used to, it's all paved with beautiful stones. Ahh beautiful, easy to walk on pathways. So nice an easy. We walk and we walk and we walk. Mt. Emei was SO beautiful! Lush trees everywhere. All types of trees, coniferous, deciduous, etc, the view was misty, the air was clean. The walk was lovely....until we hit the stairs. Oh my lord the stairs. We had encountered a few so far, 5, maybe 6 at a time. And then, we hit the mother load. We all just gaped at them, took pictures infront of them then started the long haul. All I can say is, I'm glad we live on the 8th floor of an apartment with no elevator and had some unknown prepping because I think I would have literally DIED. 

After that it was shear madness! stairs, and stairs and STAIRS!! I tried counting them but after about 6 minutes I realized that I would be counting for the next 8 hours, which nobody wants to do. I rough guesstimation of how many stairs we climbed (and we didn't even climb the whole mountain!) is about.......... 7000. I've heard that to climb the whole mountain it's 66 000!!!!!!! We reached one spot where the stairs looked like an optical illusion, like, they just went on forever. Literally forever. Almost like a "stairway to heaven".... or hell based on how fit you are. I counted those stairs, a whopping 503 stairs. IN ONE GO!

Anyways, with all the beautiful scenery around, I started to play this little game in my head called "which movie am I in?". Where I would look at the scenery, and choose a similar scenery I've seen in a movie and pretend I was there. For example, I'd walk through a very misty area and pretend to be Dian Fossey from "Gorilla's in the Mist", or I'd walk down an uneven and overgrown cement pathway with some old building covered in moss near by and pretend to be Kate from LOST just discovering the Darma Initiative! It was fantastic fun. Every little while I would announce to the group, "and now I'm Harry Potter walking through the forest by Hogwarts" or "now I'm in Lord of the Rings!" or "now I'm in Jurassic Park!!". I think the LOST one was my favourite. Bhahaaa

SO after hours and hours of walking we had noticed that the large amount of people we had previously been "walking with" had dwindled down to nothing. We had apparently taken the long and "scenic route" around the mountain and were nowhere near the summit. I also realized at this moment that reaching the summit wasn't even the goal of our "little" jaunt, it was to go to see the area where the monkeys were! At this time we met a small white dog who we named "Panpan" after a name in my "learn to speak chinese book". well, everyone else called him panpan but I preferred "Tintin" after the dog in my childhood show "Tintin!". It sounds dumb but we were kinda lost and the dog seemed to know where it was going so..... we kinda just followed it! He was so cute! He would run up ahead, then turn around and kindof just wait for us to catch up, then walk with us again. He was with us a good 2 hours! We found some little village type thing but it seemed everyone we talked to had ulterior motives and wanted to get us lost so we'd have to eventually just stay at their hotel or eat at their restaurant. It was very frustrating, especially because we were all so tired and really had to pee! 

Eventually we found our way to this one temple type thing that the was located between two waterfalls. From there we found the way to go see the monkeys. I'm sure most of you reading this have read my other entry titled "going to Mt. Emei", if you haven't, you should probably stop reading this, read that, then come back to this part. 

So anyways, we start toward the monkeys! We are all pretty excited about it. We are anticipating that they're just going to be some monkeys in the forest and that we'd be lucky to see them. And that if we ever do see one and it HAPPENS to come up to us, that all we'd have to do is simply wave a stick at it and it would go away. 

We were very. very wrong. 

We start the hike toward the "monkey site" labelled on the map by a smiling monkey head. The walk is breathtaking. Walking beside a stream or through two huge cliffs. Just amazing. We start getting closer and we see a bridge in the distance with a man ontop and a monkey swinging beneath it! Then we see some stairs across the stream with a monkey sitting on it! "cool!!" we all whisper. Then we get closer and see a man with a monkey on his shoulder who will let you take a picture with it for 20Y (about $4). christianne goes first. The monkey jumps on her arm, the man puts some food in her hair and the monkey starts going through her hair. All the while simon is translating for the man "don't look into the monkey's eyes, don't look at the monkey, don't look at the monkey, DON"T LOOK AT THE MONKEY!" "Simon!" we say, "We're not looking at the monkey!!" "I'm sorrry, I'm just translating what he's saying". Were all laughing and she's getting her picture taken. I go next, the monkey climbs all over me and I'm laughing and laughing. Tonya goes next and christianne and I are standing beside eachother, our hair all ruffled up by the monkey. and oh! there's something in you hair, and on your arm, and you face! what is that? it looks like dirt? While we're trying to figure out what it is I see a monkey about 4 feet away take a good long pee on a railing, then grab the railing right where it peed with it's hand and scurry off. Ew! I think, that's gross, then I look at christianne and realize, "that's not dirt on us! that's MONKEY POO!!!" we both freak out and get our sanitary wipes out and give ourselves a mini bath

Things started getting a little crazy after that. A monkey jumped right by us and tried to steal my umbrella, a monkey was pick-pocketing Kleenex from another guy. A baby monkey is latching onto to a woman's BOOB!!! Another monkey grabs onto the bottom of my walking stick. I kindof laugh. We're in a tug of war! He lets go then I hear a little *snap* and realize that a monkey has grabbed my (folded up and clipped to my backpack) favourite coat!! He's got it in his arms and is waddling away with it. I take my stick and stab my jacket, holding it to the ground. He grabs it again and I stab it again, holding it to the ground with my stick shouting "no! no!!" (mistake #1. do not shout at the monkeys), I've got a good hold of my jacket with my stick and I look at the monkey (mistake #2. DO NOT LOOK AT THE MONKEYS). It lets go of my jacket and I can see I've pissed it off, it looks me in the eye and grabs onto my pants. I get a bit scared because, a) a monkey is angry with me, and b) in it's little poo infested hands are my favourite lululemon leggings/tights! (complete with a secret pocket in the back and designed so that they'll never fall down, sold at a lululemon store near you!). At this point I'm thinking, "oh S***, OH S***!" and then I think "oh no you don't!!! You steal my jacket, you try to rip my tights!!" I'm not exactly sure what happened next but he let go and moved enough for my to grab my stuff. I clutch my things to my chest and start to quickly shuffle through the rest of the "Monkey route" whispering to myself "I am not having fun, I am not having fun!". 

(excerpt from christianne's blog:
 Trying to avoid monkey attack and not looking at the monkeys is
... a challenge. I had made it a good way when Tonya was like "OMG
ADRIENNE" I look back. A monkey has Adrienne's coat and is dragging it
away down the bridge, she is going after it and hanging on like a fighter,
wielding her bamboo stick and yelling "MY COAT! LET GO LET GO!" and
she had the cutest little pigtail braids ever!. Very unfortunate we didn't get
a picture but we were concerned. Adrienne won in the end and got her coat back,
she looked pissed. ) Hahaha

 I look up to see that across the bridge, Simon (who has NO interest in monkey's and is a pretty prim and proper guy), has a monkey latched onto his legs. Another one jumps on his SHOULDERS and starts making a move for his glasses.

SLIGHT TANGENT: If you remember from my last entry, simon has lost his glasses down the toilet on the train. Christianne has glasses and contacts. She SPECIFICALLY brought contacts to wear for the hike so that her glasses would be safe from monkeys. She hesitantly let Simon wear her glasses for the trip but warned him to NOT LET THE MONKEYS STEAL THEM OR ELSE!

So there is a monkey on simon's head. The one on his leg has started biting his knee. Tonya, Tanya and I are all, "oh no! SIMON!" while christianne, is shouting "MY GLASSES! MY GLASSES!!!!!!!". Simon, standing stark still, slowly lifts his hands up, grabs the glasses and puts them in his pocket. Some monkey lady gets the monkeys off him and we all book it for the exit. 

We are all in shock and kindof start laughing, but are all experiencing (as I like to call it) "post traumatic monkey syndrome". 

From there we are racing to get to the bottom of the mountain so we can catch the last bus to the TOP of the  mountain so that we can stay overnight and see the sunrise the next morning. We cross the stream via some boulders, christianne falls in, her backpack toppled over her head. She shouts "DAMMIT!!!" and we start running again. I'm trying SO HARD not to laugh at her because she looks pretty mad. About 4 minutes later she says with a laugh "I can't believe I fell in!". I look at her and say, "Is it ok if I laugh at you now?" and she's says "ofcourse, it was ok all along!" and I LOSE IT. I laugh so hard I have to stop walking and cross my legs! From there we are basically running down the mountain. Christianne is in kindof rough shape and is considering getting, how do I put this, basically getting carried down the mountain by two men in a lawn chair type looking contraption. She's all "should I?" and I shout from 20 feet down "IF YOU THINK YOU"RE THE WEAKEST LINK. DO IT!!" Bahahahaa. She does and we run down the mountain, catch the bus (yes!) and go on an hour and a half long ride (at surprising speeds) up the foggy mountain at zero visibility!. ahahaha

It is pretty cold and wet when we finally reach the top. We get dinner, and are FREEZING COLD, sweaty and wet, and for some reason, people keep leaving the restaurant doors open! I'm wearing every sweater I have. We go to a hotel and check out the rooms, they're nothing fancy until the woman pulls back the sheet to show us they have ELECTRIC BLANKETS!!!! I get really excited and the woman raises the price of the room 50Y. dammit!! I will forever more have a p-p-p-poker face. Christianne and I fill up the tub to warm our toes and I, wanting to clean my hair but not wanting anything to do with the nasty tub, clean my hair in a very awkward way (see picture). 

So we go to bed and wake up the next morning at 5. Hike for about half an hour to the gondola then finally reach the summit!! It was a pretty cloudy day so we didn't get to see the "sea of clouds" or the "amazing sunrise" or anything but it was still SO AMAZING. I've never seen such a beautiful and GIANT statue before. I think you'll really just have to look at all the pics I took to understand it's beauty.  

After that we took the bus down and had a laugh attack the whole time. Christianne tries to explain through laughter "it was just so funny! AHhahaha to see you AHAHAha fighting the HAHAHA monkey!! HAHAHAHAH you were just so cute in you little pigtails GAHHAHHH!" then we go off on poor simon. First he drops his glasses down the toilet, then some obnoxious woman tell him to go F*** his mother, then he gets REALLY sick on the bus ride up and down the mountain, then a monkey bites his leg, etc! Oh my goodness we laughed. 

From there we had a pretty uneventful bus/train ride home. We finally arrived home only to be greeted by 8 more flights of stairs. 


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