Travel Journal: An Eye-Opening Experience in the Avatar Mountains
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
We exit the Zhangjiajie airport to a swarm of eager taxi drivers offering their services. After swatting them away, profusely reassuring them we have a ride, we continue to wait an hour for our driver. He finally arrives and greets us by unceremoniously tossing our luggage in the trunk before returning to the driver’s seat. We shrug and sit in the back for our ninety minute tour of rural China. Our driver lays on the horn relentlessly as he weaves through cars parked helter-skelter on the street. The air is thick with smog. We pass ramshackle buildings abutting the road and the odd chicken thrown in for good measure; there is no denying it—we aren’t in Shanghai anymore. After the bumpy road disintegrates into unpaved dirt, and the air becomes so thick with burning rubber, you can feel it catch in your throat, we take a few more turns up the winding mountain pass and arrive at the gates of Zhangjiajie park. Just on the other side is the understated, yet charming, Tongfu Inn.
Carol, our contact and hostess, is out, but we are shown to our room. It’s average size and clean. The chill from the mountains seeps in and I already decide to sleep in full winter wear that evening. The most surprising trait is the eastern style bathroom—complete with a squat toilet and a shower nozzle placed practically above.