Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Autumn in the hills 

This past week has been the October holiday. China has three "Golden Weeks." The first is in October, and coincides with the October revolution, when Mao stood on Tiananmen Gate and declared that China had "stood up." The second is the Chinese New Year, and the third is the May holiday. What this means is that the whole country goes on vacation at the same time. This makes for havoc on the trains. But in a way I do think it is a good thing. If it were not for these holidays, many working people would not get a holiday at all. I visited a sweater factory in South China some years ago, where the workers told me they had one day off a month.

Anyway, every day the hills are alive with the sound of people. It's not so bad, though, because most of them come on a bus, and there aren't any busses that get to the hills before six in the morning. More like 7 or 8 o'clock. So if I can get up to the East Gate before 6:30 or so, the park is still pretty pleasant and quiet. I start climbing right away, because even after people start coming, it takes them some time to work their way up to where I hang out. Most people have the idea that you're supposed to go to the top. I stay away from that place. I spend my time on the lateral trail about half way up the mountain.

I'm sure I have said this before, but you really can't beat a North China autumn. This is the nicest time of the year in Beijing. I notice it more than some, I suppose, because I particularly dislike Beijing summers. Everybody's different. When Jordan first came to China, he showed up in June. I was apologizing all over the place for the sultry weather, but he didn't seem to mind at all. I sure mind. I go to the Western mountains in the summer. So beautiful. But in the fall, there is no place I would rather be than right here in the Western hills.

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