Travel – Spring Hiking in TongLu, China

So on Thursday my work sponsored a trip to TongLu. We did 3 really amazing and fun activities during the 11 hour trip. Cave hiking, a bamboo raft ride down the river and mountain hiking. There were about 50 of us on the trip and I really had a great time.

We started out at around 740 a.m. from the hospital and headed towards TongLu. First stop the Caves near TongLu.

Where we went... Hangzhou is in the upper right corner.

ViviMokaLaka and I on the bus!

The tour guide and the head of our Marketing department encouraged people to sing. I tried to ignore him, but alas, felt bad because no one else would volunteer. So I got up and sang “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker… lol, thank God for the music on my iPhone!

Next up, my Ayi (Chinese for housekeeper), she works at our hospital and cleans my house once a week, she’s AWESOME! She sang after me, then lots of people sang!

Ayi singing her heart out!

Then we arrived at the caves and got in line with the rest of the tourists… I think I’m starting to blend in :)

I need to stop doing that to my forehead!

One of the murals painted on the ceiling just past the entrance to the cave.

The map of the cave we explored.

We hiked in the cave for over 2 hours… it was pretty rugged terrain at some points and wet and slippery. I was the only one in the group with hiking shoes on… some of the women had HIGH HEELS! Maybe they didn’t get the memo we were HIKING… :D

Me and Vivien... Chinese daughter.

The lighting was pretty amazing.

Magic Herbs... really? :D

Ayi and her husband.... these two are awesome. I love how Mr. Ayi wore a suit. He did some pretty impressive GQ poses in the caves!

Dressed for cave exploring :)

ViviMokaLaka

In front of the Wishing Well Pond...

So, the Wishing Well Pond. In the middle of the pond was a vessel that was maybe 12 inches x 8 inches… it was about 20 feet from the edge. In the pond itself was tons of coins and there were some in the vessel, as well. I pull out a 1 RMB coin to toss in the well and hand one to Vivien… I made my wish and did an underhand softball toss and CLING, smack dab in the middle of the vessel!!!!!!! Woot! I made a very specific wish and that was that… off for more cave exploring :D

Wishing Well vessel

Vivi and I

On the way out of the caves you go through the booths selling all the wares you could imagine… I found something that I actually wanted, Vivien read the ingredients, all Dukan friendly so I bought two jars of this hotter than Hades chili sauce… hoo boy is it good!

Hot Chili stuff.. Mmmmm

As you can see, I was dipping my eggs in it… while opening the jar, Vivien snapped this lovely picture of me…

Tea Egg alert!

We then headed through town and saw some interesting things like…

I'm used to this by now... sometimes I wonder if it's OK that I am.

Then we arrived at the restaurant where we had lunch. Now, I have to say here that I LOVE eating in China… even though I’m on Dukan. It is such a social event. Everyone taking their chopsticks and getting food from the lazy susan… it’s awesome. I know that some people might think that’s gross, but it’s so social. It was similar in Abu Dhabi, where you would basically get the food with either your fingers or the fork you were eating with. There is something so familial about it… I love it :)

I was too busy making sure I got the proteins that I only got one picture :)

We then loaded back up in the bus and headed to the river. We took bamboo rafts down the river for about a 45 minute ride. I was happy that I could see the bottom at all times. I have big issues with wood bridges, bamboo rafts and grates… all of which I had to use today! LOL

Our transportation down the river.

So glad I had on my water-proof Chaco hiking boots... I love my boots, btw!

Our bamboo raft pilot

The view from the raft

Those two guys work in our Administration department... they were chasing us down the river bank trying to shoot us with water cannons.... they missed, our pilot kept us safe... the other 3 rafts, got soaked! LOL

Then after a 40 minute ride on the bus, we ended up at the Daqishan National Forest Park. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

The sign says it all!

Bamboo Forest... you could hear the wind whistling through the trees!

Um, Mom... notice what I'm doing??? Walking on a grate, attached to the side of a mountain in China... this caused my already tachycardic heart rate to increase even more!!!

Map of the hike!

This is the Dean in charge of the inpatient VIP center. One of my biggest supporters to improve the healthcare here at our hospital.

Heart failure... walking over wooden bridges with a big drop below...

The scenery was just gorgeous!

This was walking over the waterfall in the last photo.

We made it to the top... Heavenly Lake

There were 2 ways down... hike back down or take the FLYING SQUIRREL... LOL. Seriously, that was the name. Guess which one I took?

And I made Vivien go with me! Please note the double seat belts... oh, and I was responsible for the entire braking system... we went fast!!!

The man who's arm you can see, stopped us and made me put away my camera... he told Vivien I'd lose it if I didn't... it was a pretty wild ride, thanks mister :)

And moments… literally MOMENTS after I stepped off The Flying Squirrel… my phone rang. It was a Blocked Call, but I knew it was the call I was waiting for… and it was! My heart was pounding, I wanted this call so bad… SO BAD I WISHED FOR IT THIS MORNING… just 3 hours earlier… when I threw the coin in the fountain… and here was the call… And my wish came true. It made my day… it made an already amazing day even more amazing. I know, you guys are all wondering what my wish was… I’ll share that in due time, in the future… I promise :) Just know that it was an awesome wish!

And then we were back at the hospital, around 6 p.m…. very long, but very fun day! On my walk home I stalked walked up behind this lady and kid and snapped this shot…

Cutest little mohawk in Hangzhou!

And that, my friends, was the end of an awesome day! I didn’t do my run, as planned, given that I hiked both a cave and a mountain for just under 8 kms…

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Ciao!

23 thoughts on “Travel – Spring Hiking in TongLu, China

  1. Ok…another amazing adventure for Sandi, whew! Gal you are the poster child for LIVIN’
    And while it’s awesome that you are having all these adventures, while looking at the pictures (particularly the one of Vivi w/ her arms outstretched in the cave) I can’t help but feeling that YOU are the adventure in the lives of the Chinese people you work/play with. What a great gift to Vivien to have (at a relatively young age) such a role model as Sandi, right?? Thanks for being an amazing ambassador and showing the people of the world that we’re not all like the freaky politicians our countr(ies) foist on each other, rather genuine people of good will and compassion who are REAL.
    *anna
    psst…bet I know what you wished for ;)

    • Anna, what a sweet reply. I think it is mutually rewarding. I adore Vivien and Kitty and feel blessed I’ve had the opportunity to work with them. I do feel that I succeed in showing people that although I’m a proud American, I have my own views and respect the cultures (most of the time, I am human) that I am living in.
      I’m sure you do know what I wished for ;)

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