The monkey watching the sunrise

The Chinese have a talent of coming up with poetic names for most things and places. Especially up in the mountains.

People have a special relationship with mountains in China. They have 9 sacred mountains, divided in two groups: The Five Great Mountains of Taoism and The Four Sacred Mountains of Buddhism, each with its own legends that go back to the world’s creation.

Huangshan is not one of the sacred, but surely one of the famous. Its astonishing beauty has inspired over 20,000 poems, dating back to the Tang Dynasty. If we were to count the paintings of its famous pine trees growing on the granite peaks above the clouds, we would surely grow old in doing so. Especially as I’ve seen local artists painting beautiful scenes for tourists in less than 5 minutes. And there are lots of tourists and lots of artists.

One thing they say you must experience up on the mountain is watching the sunrise over the clouds that are touching the peaks for more than 200 days every year. The 2 days I was there… well.. they were not among those 200.  No beautiful fog between the peaks, no clouds floating below me, no clear view of the sun. Instead, something more like smog that engulfed the entire mountain and turned every shot I took during the first day into garbage. The same during the highly anticipated sunrise, which I shared with about 20 Chinese photographers on a rock that provided a better view. There were 2 or 3 good places to see the sunrise and they were all crowded. And the trail up the mountain was crowded like a shopping street on the days I was there.