the “bad idea” was the baijiu, the “place” was Niubeishan. Come again? Yup, Niubei-shan. Sichuan is famous for its mountains (or shan in Chinese), sporting the likes of Emei and Qingcheng. the first is one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China, the latter the birth place of Taoism. Everyone who passed through the so-called “land of abundance” has, at least, heard of them. What the hell is Niubei though?
Well, it’s a beautiful 4000+ meters above sea level-mountain known to a few, that easily stands up to any other possible place on earth for the best sunrises. Why? Imagine to see the Tibetan mountains in the far background on one side, while on the other the sun is rising colouring those mountains pink and casting a gentle light on a sea of clouds that is a only a few hundred metres from your feet. You’ve got the picture.
You do actually have it, just look below to see how a clear morning can look like from Niubeishan’s top.
We got bad weather, though.
A short summary:
We slept in Lengqi town, which is at the mountain’s foot. A quiet little Chinese town, typical yet nice. The next morning we hired a driver we later nicknamed Tigerman to drive us to the top, a real badass, he never cracked a smile, he barely spoke. Trigerman brought our dinner (2 chickens) in a plastic bag. We brought our drinks, Chinese rice wine that would put vodka’s strength at shame. We drank and ate, and even did some lame rapping and other stuff to fill the night. Tigerman told us not to drink, we told him not to worry. We slept in a massive makeshift tent that housed some 50 people on separate mattresses, warm nevertheless. We had some of the worst hangovers in our lives: the mix of chinese rice wine, altitude and weather changes literally destroyed some of us. Tigerman was right. We woke up, only to realise it had snowed and the whole mountain was covered in white (we were wearing converse). We climbed to the real top in the darkness, feet soaked, waiting for the sunrise. The sunrise came. However, the bad weather ruined it, crap. We hung around a little longer. A fine scenery. We drove back to Lengqi town with Tigerman’s son, not a big fan of chit-chatting either. We prayed for our lives at every turn of that snowy downhill descent on a muddy road at crazy speed. End.
A photographic summary: