Wednesday, May 4, 2011

China Post #10 Bingyu Gou

On Sunday we headed out to a really pretty valley up in the mountains called Bingyu Gou. From the photos that we'd seen it looked like a nice scenic valley with a river and and some limestone pillars sticking up out of the river. Now some of this turned out to be true but other thing could not have been further from the truth.

It probably was not the best day to go with it being a holiday weekend, the parking lot was full and there was a line of cars a half mile long waiting to get into the lot. Once we got dropped off and walked past the waiting cars we came to the entrance with its ubiquitous stone totem.
Now the dams in the back ground should have been our first clue as to what the park was about. We paid our entry of 120 yuan a person and we got on a ferry to go across the mini lake that the dams created. Dylan was IN LOVE with the boats.
As we motored up the river along with another boat, several others were headed in the opposite direction also loaded down with people. It is hard to see in this shot, but there is a temple on the top of the highest peak, then as you head down, a cell phone tower, power lines and another boat. Quite a contrast.
As we neared the dock we saw one of the pillars that sits out in the river, though thinking about it, it might not be "in" the river if it were not for the dams. Regardless it did look cool.
After docking and trying to get ourselves oriented, which was made more difficult by the driver we took miss translating south to north, telling us to meet him at the north entrance, which was closed instead of the south entrance. Once we got things sorted, it was into the heard. There was a resort off to the right across a bridge, a zip line to the left that you had to cross these concrete blocks to get to.
Other options included a ferry of some small boats, and everything cost more money. Here you can see the resort in the back ground and several of the rented boats to go along with another floating pillar.
We managed to find a way to get by without having to pay for one of the "activities" that involved some very steep stone steps up and over a ridge. At this point we should have figured it out but we were still holding out hope that things would get more scenic once we moved further from the entrance...remember the boats headed the opposite direction loaded with people.

Anyway, once we were past our second (first the boat then up and over the ridge to get to a bridge) water crossing we walked a short distance and were confronted with a small amusement park. There was a swinging pirate ship, water log ride, animated dinosaurs in the water around the rides, tram and mini bus rides. There was also this stone, the "beauty" stone.
For those that have not seen what some Asian toilets looks like.
Sadly at this point it was nearly impossible to enjoy the scenery. There were hoards of people and the mini buses were constantly speeding by in both directions honking their hors for people to get out of the way. All on a road that was only wide enough for a person or two in either side of the vehicle. See video at the bottom of the page. This did look pretty nice though.
Especially when compared to this. More contrast.
I was starting to wonder how much longer I was going to have to put up with the oversized golf carts, it had only been about 10 minutes when we came upon this scene at our 3rd and final river crossing. You can't see all the options here, but there is a person on a zip line, another on a tight rope with a hand line and a handful of different walk ways.
Again all costing some amount of money, and again not signs pointing to a way around without paying. We chose the cheapest and easiest option which was basically squares with gaps between them mixed with sections that were oversized rolling pins that you walked on. Dylan actually enjoyed walking across this more than I though he would.
At this point I was pretty frustrated with the whole thing. Between trying to not get shoved off the trail and not run over and having to pay for everything after paying to get into the park I just wanted to get out. Then we saw a sign saying how far we had to go, 5.7 km to the south entrance and it was all on a road, nobody was walking it but there were plenty of cars to keep us company. Ultimately one kind individual made her boy friend pull over and offered us a ride. We were both done and hopped in, I had to roll down the widow to get the door closed and stuck the top of the baby backpack out.

OH yeah, and the rock is not limestone, it is quartzite.

We met up with the driver at the south entrance and got in to head home. I though this sign was quite humorous and might sum up a lot of things from the experience. It is for a speed bump.
Here is video of one of the nicer golf cart buses.
video
All in all I still thing that Bingyu Gou could be a nice place but I don't think I would even consider going on the weekend again, especially a holiday weekend. The Chinese seem to have this inability to appreciate nature for what it is and feel the need to turn it into something different. If you are supposed to be having fun it needs to be an amusement park with rides. We've seen 3 now, Discovery Land, which we have not been to yet and is near Golden Pebble Beach seems like your standard park, the one just off of Xinghai Square which was OK, though expensive and finally the Bingyu Gou one which seems utterly excessive and a waste of a beautiful natural setting.

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