May 20, 2015

{Los Angeles Photographer: Five Flowers Lake, Jiuzhai National Park- China}

It was a cold night but I utilized the down comforters from both beds to bundle up and stay warm throughout the night. Who knew double beds over one king would not only be cheaper but better. I couldn’t figure out the hot water situation so I quickly washed my faced, put on some sunscreen and walked out the door towards the national park. This hotel is amazing in that it basically opens up to the park entrance. I wasn’t sure if the park opened at 7 or 7:30 but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Chinese, they’re early risers. I made it to the line for tickets by 6:40 and there were already about 20 people gathered. With plenty of time, I took off my backpack and sat on the stairs. Shortly after a guy about my age walked up, I could tell he wasn’t full Chinese, probably a tourist like me, he looked over and said, “Where are you from?” I replied, “What, I don’t look like I’m from China?” He laughed. He was from Australia, Brisbane, and traveling here on his own as well. We chatted until the opening of the ticket box. When the glass doors opened it was like the gun was fired for a track meet. Everyone pushed, shoved, and ran their way to one of the 12 counters. There are so many people in China that it really is a survival of the fittest battle, each man for their own. Manners, gender roles and courtesy, none of that really exists, unless you’re an elderly person…they get priority seating and everything else in between.I handed the woman 310RMB, she handed me a ticket and off I went, running towards the entrance. Through the gates I found my way to a cluster of people waiting for buses. I jumped on one and hoped I was going the direction I needed. Mid way up the mountain I decided to jump off and start my journey without the masses. I had read everyone goes to the top and comes down so I figured this would save me some of the crowds. Colorful lake or what the Americans call, Five Flower Lake, was unreal. That’s pretty much the only words I have for today, unreal. I have to retract my statement that Switzerland is the prettiest country I’ve ever been to, at least for today, and at least for this place, no where else can compare to it. I then walked down towards Mirror Lake, on a small wooden plank path. The film on the water was silver mirror like and it was gorgeous. Next were the Pearl Shore Falls. The path leads you in a direction that places you above the falls, you walk down numerous wooden stairs and are greeted by a breathtaking waterfall. Nourilang Falls, Rhinoceros Lake and Tiger Lake were next. I was getting hungry and the bag of peanuts I brought wasn’t exactly satisfying. I sluggishly walked over towards the street when a small bus honked and me as well as two other people ran, jumping over the side railing and on to the bus. This time I went all the way to the top to see the Multi-Color Lake. Luckily, there were food vendors so I bought a water and a bag of some type of bread, it tasted similar to Hawaiian rolls, it was good and I ate the entire thing…judge away! Down the hill I made my way over to another bus taking me up to the Premival Forrest, about 2,930 above sea level and it is said that the human pulse reduces 2 times because of the temperature and air quality. I haven’t done much research but I’d put money on it that this region has some form of Indian influence. Women dressed in intricate outfits with head dresses. Down a few stops on the bus and then I decided to break some laws and walked along the street versus the paths so I could obtain better photographs. There’s one thing this place wasn’t short of, gorgeous views, people, and selfie sticks. I aimed to get away from the masses and photograph the Five Flower Lake from above.

Unfortunately, starting with this lake had me tainted for the rest of the park because although beautiful, nothing compared to it. By now I was having dreams of dumplings and water so I boarded a bus back down the hill to the entrance. Picked up some cold noodles and an ice cream cone-not their strong suit here, but I was hungry and walked the 500 ft to the hotel.

Setting my bags down I went to get my room key and couldn’t find it. Searching through everything I hoped maybe it would be in the room. There’s one girl here that speaks a little English so any time I go to the front desk, they call her. I got them to unlock the room but nonetheless, no key. Not sure what that will cost, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. It was a gorgeous day today and now it’s pouring down, I DID pray that it’d be nice weather for my shots 😉

Due to the rain I opted to eat at the restaurant in the hotel, only problem is there were no pictures and I don’t read Chinese. Four women stood around the table trying to help and finally the cute girl in the hotel that speaks a little English ordered dinner for me. Noodles with “beef” for 8RMB (1.30USD). I’m pretty sure it’s yak, an animal that looks a lot like a cow but with very long hair. I made signs and motions, I feel like I’m playing a game of charades here, that I would like some spice. Hurray! They understood and my meal was complete. I’m grateful for them and their efforts to try and accommodate me.

Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley 2 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley Premival Forrest 2 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Five Flower Lake 2 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Five Flower Lake 3 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Five Flower Lake 4 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Golden Bell Lake 2 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Golden Bell Lake copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Mirror Lake 2 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Mirror Lake 3 copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Mirror Lake copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Panda Lake copy
Nicole Priest Photo-Jiuzhai Valley-Pearl Shoal Fall copy