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china Travel

CLIMBING TO HUASHAN

Hua Shan is a mountain two hours from Xian or 120km, the translation is “Flower Mountain” – it has this name because the five peaks resembled five petals of a flower. Considered one of the five sacred mountains of Taoism. For more than 2000 years, many pilgrims come here, nowadays many prefer to ”climb” by cable car.

We woke up at 6 am. I had to wake up at that time, at the same time as the English, because they eat breakfast like any normal person. I didn’t have a habit of taking it, always preferring to sleep anymore. Already at this time there were grandmas trying to sell a few things, poor life!

Around 7:00 a.m., we began our arduous climb. The day started cloudy and was opening up. I was hoping it was pretty cold, but one t-shirt was enough. It took us an hour to walk 3km, the beginning was the easiest part, would have another 4km ahead.

The path was getting steeper and steeper, there were stairs to the top, the infrastructure was good with toilets and tents along the way, there was no need to bring food or water, so it could have saved the weight of food, clothing and raincoat, but the prices of things went up proportionally to our climb. After climbing a lot, we reached the staircase of the “Thousand Steps”, even more difficult with stretch almost vertical, but it was supported by handrail.

We went to the North Peak or Terrace of Clouds Peak, after 3h30m walking and 1614m of altitude; to West Peak or Lotus Flower Peak, 2h15h walk from North Peak and at 2087m altitude.

On the way to the North Peak there were few people, we met half a dozen people along the way, young Chinese in not very sporty clothes, who wanted to take pictures with me instead of taking with the English, this was something unusual! Both the boy and the girls took pictures with me, just because I was a Sino-Brazilian. Lucky for the English who got rid of the cameras this time, they couldn’t take all this flattery anymore. But arriving at the peak there was a large crowd, many Chinese of all ages who came up by cable car in just ten minutes! All these people, old people, children and other nerds were slowing our way to West Peak. The funny thing was to see all these people hiking here in social clothes, even in a suit and tie!

After snacking (I ate bread with peanut butter the whole stretch), we went to the West Peak and the weather began to close with clouds and fog. It was really quite tiring, thousands of steps, glad we could see something and shoot before snacking, because there (West Peak) could not see anything else with the fog.

When climbing from North Peak to four other peaks, the pilgrim would necessarily have to go to the Golden Padlock Pass. It was a tradition to buy a golden padlock, engrave the name on it and lock in the iron chains on both sides of the passage, so that families and friends would pray for their safety and health, there were thousands of locks. There was also a giant golden padlock 4m wide by 1.5m high on a large rock, was made of pure copper and was forged by 9,999 padlocks left by visitors.

We return to North Peak to take the cable car down to the base. Unfortunately there was no time to visit the other three peaks, the south, the east and the central. I expected a much more difficult walk and without stairs, already my friends told me that this mountain was the most dangerous in the region, I did not know what they were talking about, there was nothing dangerous with so many stairs and chains to support. If they knew Agulhas Negras Peak (RJ), they would know what the word “danger” really means. I was missing to see beautiful scenery with high mountains, rivers and trees, and having the sense of accomplishment achieved was gratifying. Now I know why Chinese landscape painting is so different from that of the West, because the landscape is different. Here you can see rocky mountains with a row or few trees, as in the Chinese paintings.

Exhausted, we went back to Xian on the 6:00 p.m. bus.

Top of Hua Shan.

Written by Traveler Ni

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china Travel

THE ONE-CHILD POLICY

In China and in many countries around the world, parents’ preference for their male child is a deeply entrenched tradition from feudal age. To the son (man) is concentrated the responsibility to keep the parents as elderly, to enable them to a solemn burial, to make the offerings on their graves for the needs after death, according to the Confucian tradition. Only the son is the sole heir to the family’s estate.

In January 1980, when China’s population was already over one billion, the central government launched the “One Child” policy that tried to plan births with a set of measures to limit one child per couple. There were a number of advantages for those who were limited to a single child, and for those who had more than one child suffered fines and civil restrictions. By promoting the one-child policy, the government certainly had no intention of resurrecting feudal concepts about women’s inferiority, but it ended up reinforcing its inferiority and that is what is happening in China today. If a couple can have only one child, therefore they will want a male son, this being a cultural requirement still deeply rooted in the Chinese people. If, by chance, the baby is a girl, a very serious ethical and cultural problem arises for the couple: if you stay with her, you can no longer have the male child. The sad reality is usually the death or abandonment of the newborn girl.

The number of girls missing would already be in the millions and the causes are easily identifiable: they were victims of infanticides, abortions caused by their parents when they discovered that the fetus was a girl or were abandoned at the crossroads of the streets when they were newborns, the same is true for defective boys. Some parents hide them and do not declare them to the state, in danger of sanctions and imprisonment if they are discovered. The most moneyed pay a heavy fine and are forgiven. The number of abortions is estimated to be around 20 million a year in China.

India, now with 1.13 billion inhabitants, has not taken any birth control action but whatever the policy, it will have the same problem as female infanticide. It is estimated that by 2035, India will pass China in terms of population. Whether or not you adopt policies, don’t ask me how the population of the earth will be fed in the future.

In the afternoon the redhead, Matthew and his wife – all English – and I, we went to the train station from which the bus left to the small town of Huayin. We decided to spend the night in this town and wake up early to climb the Hua Shan. The locals thought I was the guide. Matt spoke Chinese better than I did, I think his wife did too. The hotel was one of the worst I’ve ever stayed in my life for $2.5 per person, no chance of bathing, the English were barely caring, I think.

Matt remembered Mr. Smith in the movie “Matrix”, some friends told me that I remembered Neo also from the “Matrix” or a Chinese actor unknown to me.

In Huayin you could see grandma trying to make a living selling climbing gloves and maps till late of the evening, so much pity. After all not everyone earns retirement in China.

Written by Traveler Ni

Continue Exploring on at the Traveler Ni Youtube Channel