Lushan National ParkSeptember 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C
Today's agenda was another World Heritage site, the main reason we'd come to Jiujiang where clearly Western tourists were as rare as actual aliens. We got an early morning bus up to the site, which is a mountain range just behind the city. Although it's an impressive landscape that has inspired Chinese poets and artists for centuries, it's also home to a large collection of villas built by European colonialists in the 19th century.
The trip up was about 90 minutes and very winding, but eventually we got there. The sites up top are a bit spread out and you need to catch various shuttle buses between them. We made our first stop Five Old Men Peak, a mountain with five stone pinnacles that apparently looked a bit like old men arguing. Or talking, I can't remember (and in China it's hard to tell).
We climbed the first two over about an hour, but the going looked like getting tougher so we turned back after enjoying the view. Hungry, we headed back to the main town which felt a bit like Disneyland, and grabbed some lunch at a Dico's (Japanese fast food chain).
Then hopped on a bus to the western side, where we visited the mirror lake, a nice pavilion, and the flower path which again was an inspiration to Chinese poets. Rather than wait for a bus we took a cross-country shortcut to see some of the villas which were nice but mostly closed off. It's interesting because Chinese houses tend to be very functional rather than artistic, so seeing ornately designed houses was quite interesting.
Most impressive was Meilu Villa, which was previously owned by Chiang Kai-shek (leader of the Nationalist party during the Republic of China period), and then later owned by Zhou Enlai, one of Mao's chief advisors who eventually became Premier.
There was also a large building where the Lushan Conference took place in 1959, where Mao and his bigwigs agreed on and started implementing the Great Leap Forward. Even though Mao's legacy these days is officially "70% good 30% bad", it was interesting to see people wandering around the site with clear religious reverence. Millions died during the Great Leap Forward which was a complete failure and a disaster, so it's not exactly something to celebrate.
Having seen enough, we caught the bus back down into Jiujiang and I slept the whole way - coming down with a cold. Noodles for dinner again before retreating to the hotel room.Read more