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CHANGING CURRENTS
REFLECTIONS
The MEDIUM, the MESSAGE and the SAUSAGE DOG
CYCLING TO XANADU
THE CHINESE DREAM
CHINESE NEW YEAR ADS
BEYOND THE WALL
ANYONE FOR TENNIS?
VIEWS FROM ABOARD THE CHINA EXPRESS:
1 Zola and Retail Marketing
2 Playing the Waiting Game
3 Beware the Ides of March
4 The county not on a map
5 Chinese Chess in Beijing
6 Build it and They'll Come
7 Riding the Water Dragon
8 The Best of Both Worlds
9 Storming the Great Wall
10 Welcome to the Wangba
11 The Catcher in the Rice
12 The Marriage Business
13 The Crouching Dragon
14 Counting the Numbers
15 A Century of Migration
16 Shooting for the Stars
17 Rise of Yorkshire Puds
18 Harry Potter in Beijing
19 Standing Out in China
20 Self-pandactualisation
21 Strolling on the Moon
22 Tea with the Brothers
23 Animated Guangzhou
24 Trouble on the Farms
25 Christmas in Haerbin
26 Dave pops into Tesco
27 A Breath of Fresh Air
28 The Boys from Brazil
29 Rolls-Royce on a roll
30 The Great Exhibition
31 Spreading the Word
32 On Top of the World
33 Moonlight Madness
34 Beijing's Wild West
35 Avatar vs Confucius
36 Brand Ambassadors
37 Inspiring Adventure
38 China's Sweet Spot
39 Spinning the Wheel
40 Winter Wonderland
41 The End of the Sky
42 Ticket to Ride High
43 Turning the Corner
44 Trouble in Toytown
45 Watch with Mother
46 Red-crowned Alert
47 In a Barbie World
48 Domestic Arrivals
49 Tale of Two Taxis
50 Land of Extremes
51 Of 'Mice' and Men
52 Tour of the South
53 Brooding Clouds?
54 The Nabang Test
55 Guanxi Building
56 Apple Blossoms
57 New Romantics
58 The Rose Seller
59 Rural Shanghai
60 Forbidden Fruit
61 Exotic Flavours
62 Picking up Pace
63 New Year, 2008
64 Shedding Tiers
65 Olympic Prince
66 London Calling
67 A Soulful Song
68 Paradise Lost?
69 Brandopolises
70 Red, red wine
71 Finding Nemo
72 Rogue Dealer
73 Juicy Carrots
74 Bad Air Days
75 Golden Week
76 Master Class
77 Noodle Wars
78 Yes We Can!
79 Mr Blue Sky
80 Keep Riding
81 Wise Words
82 Hair Today
83 Easy Rider
84 Aftershock
85 Bread vans
86 Pick a card
87 The 60th
88 Ox Tales
CHARTS
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2001 to 2007
BIRDS IN CHINA - PHOTOS
BIRDING in CHINA
PORTS of CALL
ABOUT & CONTACT

On Top of the World

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Praying for a happy New Year

It had been a difficult climb, but well worth it. I had set off on the early morning of the 30th.  It took me an entire day to get to Hongchun Monastery, where I spent a ridiculously cold, damp night. The following day, the climb grew steeper and the weather colder. It was snowing heavily, and visibility was down to fewer than 50 yards.  The thick ice had made the path treacherous. Thankfully, a man in a small hut at about 2,000 metres above sea level was selling metal cleats (as well as Dove chocolate). He tied the contraptions to my boots (my hands were far too cold to do this), and miraculously the metal spikes were able to grip the ice and I was able to trudge onwards and upwards, arriving at a small hostel near to the Greeting Gate just as the light was fading.

 

  My clothes were soaked with sweat, and there was nowhere to dry them. The food in the small restaurant next to where I was staying was appalling and the beer was far too cold to drink. I got in to the damp bed and looked at my watch. It was 11pm: the last hour, of the last day of the last year of the decade.  I fell asleep shivering, but nevertheless despite the hardship, I was happy to have got this far in two days 50km from where I had started and 2,000 metres higher.  Only another 10km and 500 vertical metres to go.


  I had to wake up the receptionist to check out. I was keen to continue my walk up the mountain before sunrise.  Not that I had seen any sun during the previous three days.

 

  Then something incredible happened.

 

  I had been walking for an hour and could sense that the sky was brightening in the east. I looked in that direction and then I saw them. The first sun rays of the year (decade!) were filtering through the low cloud. 


 Then, unbelievably, I saw the sun rise above the sea of low clouds.  I watched in awe as the orb became brighter and freed itself completely from the clouds that seemed to be doing their best to hold it back.  My heart was soaring.  What an incredible experience.  I looked around for someone to share my joy with, but I was on my own (no one in their right mind would have got up that early and climbed in near-darkness). 


  Then I realised that it was my Chinese birthday! (Every one in China ages a year on January 1st.)  This New Year's Day was even more auspicious as my age has reached a round number. Another reason to celebrate.


  Enthused, my pace quickened and within the hour I had reached the summit.  The jinding [golden summit] was indeed bathed in an ethereal golden light.  The views from here had to be seen to be believed.  


  Then they started arriving.


  First a few, then a few dozen, then hundreds, then a continuous stream of people climbing the steps to join me at the top of the mountain.  The day trippers had arrived!


  They hollowed, they whooped; they threw snow balls; they punched the air in delight.


  Their exuberance was contagious.  I found myself grinning madly as one, then two, then three people asked if they could have their photo taken with me. 


  "Where are you from?" I asked one of my new friends, who was in his mid-twenties.


  "From Beijing!" Mr Zhou gushed.  "I just had to come to Emei for New Year's Day.  It's such a holy place!"


  I could sense that Mr Zhou thought that a visit here, to one of if not the holiest mountains in China, was karma-boosting.  


  "Are you a Buddhist," I asked him half-jokingly.


  "Not really," he told me, "But I don't not believe!".   


  I smiled at his pragmatism, otherwise known as agnosticism I suppose.


  I talked some more with Mr Zhou, who simply shook his head when I told him that I had walked all the way up the mountain (taking the longer, south-eastern route).


  "No one climbs all the way up," he laughed.  "Didn't you know you could take a bus most of the way!?"


  I played along.


  "You're telling me I've taken three days to do something I could have done in two hours," I said with as earnest a face as I could muster.


  Mr Zhou looked uncomfortable, thinking that he had upset me.


  "I'm only joking," I laughed.  Of course I knew about the bus, but I thought the walk would be more enjoyable!


  "What do you do for a living," I enquired.


  'I'm in IT; I'm responsible for my company's computer system".


  "And what are you hoping for in 2010," I asked.


  Mr Zhou thought for a moment, before telling me: 


  "I just want to keep moving upwards."

 

  I knew exactly what he meant.

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Dawning of a new day, new year, new decade