View of the mountains behind a village home in Cuandixia
Friday, my two roommates and I took a day trip to Cuandixia Village, which is just outside of Beijing. The village was established 500 years ago and is located 90 km (55 miles) west of Beijing’s urban area. It was interesting to see the difference in development from the urban area (which isn’t even extremely developed itself) to the ruggedness of dwellings and natives outside of the city.
Red vines covering a mountainside
I also learned a bit about my Chinese roommate, Jake. He grew up in a village, so I guess he felt right at home because when we entered the area, he ran up to a tree and began furiously shoveling the berries from it into his mouth. After Keith and I dragged him away from the tree, Keith decided he didn’t want to pay ¥30 ($4.75 USD) to get into the village, so he convinced us to sneak in. We pretended to be ignorant tourists, but ended up being chased by a security guard. We hid behind a bush to avoid him catching us, and I’ll admit; I had a fleeting image of myself in Chinese prison for illegally entering a village. After narrowly avoiding jail time, we found our way of the winding road leading through the mountains and up to the village.
Jake, the village man
We tried some food and hiked around the mountainside, but the most memorable part of the day was when Jake convinced us to climb up the side of a hill to reach the road leading back to the village entrance. He climbed up the hill made of loose rocks with ease, which made me realize that he must have done this as a kid in his village. At first, I was opposed to climbing, but realizing that I would have to trek about four miles through the alternative route helped convince me to climb the hill.
As Jake was looking down at us from the road at the top of the hill, Keith and I decided, you only live once; we might as well climb this. It was one of the scariest things I’ve decided to do, since these small rocks were not stable and kept coming loose under my hands and feet. I kept thinking the rocks were going to go tumbling into Keith who was behind me. I ended up at the top of the hill a while before Keith, who freaked out even more than I did.
Watch the last part of his climb here.
**I usually avoid the use of YOLO, but it is the only reasoning I could think of for why I climbed that rock hill.