This, was everything I had come for: frozen waterfall.
23.12.2011 - 02.01.2012
Jiuzhaigou, December 26th 2011
I'm still at Jiuzhai Valley National Park. If you know where I come from, you will pardon me for dedicating a post to snow.
Phiuhhh... I made it till the top. I admire the Chinese government who maintains the pathways through Jiuzhai Valley National Park. There were all smooth. Even on this part where snow was falling, a gunny carpet was spread along the staircase. Although snow has harden on the staircase, you won't feel the stairs slippery, if you step on the gunny carpet. In short, as long as one can breath, walk, and see, one will be safe in this huge, huge, never-ending-seeming park.
It was here when I lost sight of my newly-found Singaporean friends. I had been a couple steps ahead. But when I turned around, they were nowhere to be seen. I hurried up the stairs thinking I have been keeping them waiting. I must have been too absorbed taking pictures that I didn't notice when they passed me. So I thought. On top of the stairs a group of locals in their ethnic clothes were chattering. But my friends weren't there. Not long after, a bus stopped. I joined the locals into the bus. To my surprise, I was rejected. I didn't understand why. I showed my ticket, but the bus just roamed away. Later on when at last I turned to the map in my pocket for the first time, I learned that that bus stop wasn't listed in the map. So maybe tourists weren't allowed to get on there.
The road was steep. I chose the descending direction to the closest bus stop according to the map. I still managed to turn this sort of misfortune into an opportunity of taking a couple of shots. Yes, the view was breathtaking as it seems to be everywhere in this whole vast park. But was I scared? Yes, I was. No human being was seen along this smoothly paved road. The valley next to me gasped widely open. Every now and then I held tight to the railings.
Suddenly, to my next surprise, a bus stopped and the driver signaled me to get on. Ah! It was like someone riding a camel coming to me in the desert of nowhere.
My angel-bus soon stopped at a bus stop. Through the window I saw my Singaporean friends queuing to get on the bus. I waved excitedly to them. I expected to hear, "Hey! Where have you been? We have been looking for you everywhere!"
But I didn't hear nothing like that. So I said, "Just now I turned around and didn't see you. I thought... "
"Ah the lake wasn't really nice," my friend interrupted before I finished my sentence. "We should come at twelve o'clock when the sun is..."
I don't remember the rest of what my friend said. I was struck.
At the next stop I just walked as if there weren't anybody I knew. I am traveling solo anyway, I told myself.
This, was everything I had come to Jiuzhaigou for: frozen waterfall.
This part of the park seemed to be the most favored place. Unlike all the other places, there were many visitors here. A "humanless" clear picture was scarce.
"I can't imagine how this place would be like in summer. How can you take pictures?" I said to my friend's brother.
"I know a secret spot to take pictures," he whispered in my ear.
"Oh, really?" I looked at him hopefully.
"Shuni, we have to go now." My friend tapped my shoulder. "Let me take your picture. How about over there?"
Now I'm for sure on my own again.
I went across the road and climbed the stairs to a balcony. I bet this is the place where my Singaporean friend's better mentioned to be his secret spot. I took another couple of shots.
... until I finally (had to) say goodbye to Jiuzhai Valley.
When I read Paul Theroux's chapter: "Night Train to Singapore" in Ghost Train to the Eastern Star about Singapore, I thought to myself, "Oh, really??" Today I know, it wasn't merely a personal sentiment of Paul Theroux.