Seeking Lonely Mountain Peaks for Companionship, Fun, Nothing Serious

So Long Huangshan

If this mountain is cool with being alone, why not you?

The bus from the hotel to the Huangshan transport depot was brief. The other teachers from the school had risen early with visions of a hearty hike before them. According to guide books and a thorough wiki-ing, the steep walk could be evaded by cable car, and one could be treated to the splendours of a half-dozen mountain peaks and hours of trudgery without ever having to climb up one long, bleak side of the mountain itself.

A few of the others balked as I purchased the single ticket to the alternate destination. They were a posse of eight, forging up into the wilderness and the unknown of China, while I was one, alone. I would be solo on a mountain for hours, with no real knowledge of my companions or when I might meet up with them. I had a decent, though vague, reconstruction of a Google map imprinted on my brain which I would consult along with my compass. I had a good book, a nice camera, and money to purchase water and goods on the mountain top.

I had no companions and no one to talk to. Cell phone reception would probably be spotty at such altitudes. I would definitely be on my own. I waved my goodbyes, shouldered my backpack, and soldiered on.

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A Brief Solo-Travel Interlude, Regarding Horse Wangs, Ancient Citadels, and Jake the Dog

Citadel III

Some light gardening.

My companions had ridden off into the sunset, the sunset in this case being Cambodia. My passport was completely full, and I felt certain that I was nowhere near charming or rich enough to convince a Cambodian border guard to let me through with a wink and a wad of cash, so I was left to my own devices in Vietnam. I had already been to the south, and so I set off into the distant wilds (approximately two hours on a bus) to Huế.

Taxi drivers swarmed the outside of the bus like angry hornets. They spotted tourists on board and a frenzy began, chum spreading out across their waters. Some began scrambling for the baggage, removing trunks and backpacks and standing nearby, as though hoping the meagre effort would be rewarded with fawning thanks and the acceptance of an overpriced fare. It felt like a pretty poorly put-together dowry for such an interaction, but the sheer number of taxis and rickshaws wedged onto the sidewalk made it difficult to spent too much time scoffing.

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