You are in a restricted area!
The Anglophone group are now in the city of Zhangijiajie, hoping to visit the Wulingyuan Fengjinsqu (nature reserve or scenic area) tomorrow.
Our route from Shanghai has taken us through Hangzhou (were we parked unnoticed at the Zhejiang Hotel) and Huang Shan (where we parked at the Yi Long Hotel, 80 Yuan per van per night). In between we have wild camped by rivers, in unopened expressway service areas and in an abandoned fuel station.
In addition to some spectacular mountain scenery and some truly boring roads the two unexpected incidents since Shanghai have been having our guide fined for taking us into a "restricted area" and being stuck in a mountain traffic jam.
Our route in China had to be agreed months in advance, and unless we get permission from China Swan we must stick to it. Our route is defined in our contract with China Comfort as a series of towns and we are expected to take the most direct route between them. Until now this had not been a problem.
Our contract with China Comfort defined our route as:-
...Hangzhou - Huangshan - Jiuhuashan - Huangshan - Jiujiang...
That is, after a detour from Huangshan to Jiuhuashan we must return to Huangshan and then go to Jiujiang. However the route that China Swan had agreed with the Chinese authorities was:-
On day 27, Hangzhou - Huangshan and on day 29 Huangshan - Jiuhuashan - Jiujiang, without returning to Huangshan!
On the 29th of August our China Swan guide (Gong) followed the route agreed with China Comfort from Huangshan to Jiujiang, without telling us that this was not the route agreed with the Chinese authorities. As a result he took us into the town of Qimen where we were surrounded by police and our guide "detained" for over an hour. On his return he told us that Qimen was a "restricted area" and that he had been fined 500 Yuan (about $62USA). We were then escorted by the police out of the restricted area.
Gong later asked us to reimburse the 500 Yuan to him because "it was our fault"! We declined.
After this incident we e-mailed China Swan to express our concern and received the following reply:-
The second unexpected incident was on the mountain road between Cili and Zhangijiajie where we found ourselves joining a stationary queue of traffic. Gong enquired about the cause of the queue and told us that a truck had broken down a long way ahead ("too far to walk").
On walking 100 metres up the road the cause of the holdup became obvious. A recent rock slide had reduced the road to one lane and a truck, presumably going too fast, had misjudged the gap in the fallen rocks, hit one and broken its front right hand spring mountings. As a result the truck was well and truly stuck with a rock fall on one side and five metre drop on the other.
With the aid of several jacks balanced precariously on rocks, a few baulks of timber and some very insubstantial bolts the suspension was levered back into alignment and "repaired". After an hour the truck roared off and the traffic jam sorted itself out.
Home - This page last changed on 2002-09-02.